Today, as I continue the discussion about incontinence in those affected with Alzheimer’s disease I’ll talk about proper skin care, odor control and keeping yourself as a caregiver protected.
Yesterday’s post was dedicated to incontinence related products. They work wonders in preventing leaks and stains when accidents occur. However, the sealing characteristic that makes the products effective is the same one that causes potential skin issues.
The products tend to seal moisture IN. That’s great for clothing and furniture, but not so great for skin; as the urine and or feces then remains in contact with the skin. That is why the number one measure for protecting skin is CLEANLINESS.
Pads and undergarments must be changed frequently. AND the area must be cleaned gently with mild soap and water or wipes.
There are several products on the market, that are kin to diaper cream for babies. They are creams, potions and lotions that form a moisture proof barrier on the skin. I must stress though that the use of these creams does NOT replace the need for undergarments to be changed frequently and for a thorough washing of the soiled area. It is also important for the affected person to change positions and/or shift weight often so as not to put too much pressure on one area for too long.
There are several mild soaps on the market, usually labeled as personal care wash or perineal or peri-wash. These are formulated specifically to be used in the genital areas. Most are safe for men and women.
Antisceptic/anti-bacterial sprays are convenient because many of them are “no rinse” formulas and designed to kill germs and neutralize odors. Most do have fragrance of some kind, so be on the lookout for allergic reactions.
Now, as to the potential odor in the room. Better to prevent odor than to attempt to remove it. But, if you have dealt with this issue you are well aware that as we have stated in earlier posts, everyone poops and the truth is that sometime it doesn’t smell very good. First line of defense, crack a window (and keep it cracked). It’s important to have fresh air circulating.
Grocery stores and the mega marts have a plethora of air fresheners. Most just perufme the air. Personally, I like one called pure citrus. Its a little pricy, over $4.00 for a 7 ounce can at the store, but it’s available on line for a much better price. It worked for us. Seemed to clean the air and leave a LIGHT citrus smell. Find one you like and keep plenty close by.
During my caregiving years, I found that there were so many products that I needed someone to guide me through them and explain which ones were best given my mom’s situation at the time. You might find it helpful to call a company that specializes in medical supplies, explain your specifics and allow them to give you some advice. Try Kanawha Medical. I believe you’ll find the customer service department to be knowlegable and genuinely interested in helping you to find the best products possible.
It feels terribly impersonal, but consider wearing gloves. Lets’ face it, you are not dealing with toxic or nuclear waste. You are however dealing with bodily waste. It’s easy to spread bacteria and gloves do provide a barrier. Of course, the best barrier is thorough handwashing. Running your hands under the faucet for 10 seconds or rubbing that antibacterial gel for 5 seconds, is NOT handwashing. You should sing “Happy Birthday” twice while you are washing your hands with soap and water, it should take about 30 seconds.
Below you’ll find the links for the week’s posts thus far. Yes, incontinence is a difficult part of Battling the Monster, Alzheimer’s Disease, but it is doable and my goal is to help you to say, “I can do this” and provide you with the information and tools to make your job easier.
Up for tomorrow. Caregiver’s Corner