The natural ageing process can introduce various changes that affect bladder function, potentially leading to issues like urinary incontinence or increased frequency of urination. These challenges tend to become more prevalent as individuals cross the age of 85, with statistics indicating that they are five times more likely to encounter bladder-related problems compared to those aged 65-84. At Home Care Assistance, we recognise the significant impact these changes can have on a person’s daily life. While it’s impossible to halt the ageing process entirely, there are steps older adults can take to enhance their bladder health.
Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration is essential for bladder health. The recommended daily intake is eight glasses of water. However, for those who must limit their water intake due to other health concerns, alternative options like fruit juice, green tea, milk, or coconut water can provide hydration. Cultivating the habit of drinking fluids regularly throughout the day can make it easier to meet these requirements. Consider keeping a beverage within reach to facilitate hydration.
Embrace Fiber-Rich Foods: Constipation can exacerbate bladder issues. While staying hydrated is crucial for preventing constipation, consuming fiber-rich foods is equally important. High-fiber foods include fresh fruits (such as oranges and bananas), legumes, nuts, seeds, raw vegetables (like cauliflower and carrots), and whole grains (found in breads and pastas). Air-popped popcorn can also serve as a healthy and satisfying snack. For older adults who struggle with meal planning and preparation, our in-home Care Professionals at Home Care Assistance can offer assistance, ensuring a nutritious diet that promotes well-being while ageing in place at home.
Maintain a Healthy Weight and Exercise Regularly: Maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular physical activity are crucial for bladder health. Achieving this requires adhering to a well-balanced and healthy diet. For those dealing with significant weight concerns, consulting with a general practitioner can provide guidance on weight management. Reduced physical activity and mobility often exacerbate bladder issues. Regular exercise not only benefits bladder health but also contributes to weight management. Some older adults may require assistance with exercise and diet planning, which our Home Care Assistance Care Professionals can provide. If these activities are not currently part of your or your loved one’s plan, please don’t hesitate to discuss their inclusion with us.
Bladder-Strengthening Exercises: Exercises targeting pelvic and abdominal muscles can help maintain bladder strength. Kegel exercises, in particular, are widely recognised for their efficacy in promoting bladder health. These exercises involve intentionally contracting the muscles controlling the bladder, and they can be performed while standing or lying down. Older adults are encouraged to aim for 3-5 second muscle contractions, repeated 5-10 times daily.
Adopt Healthy Bladder Habits: Cultivating healthy bladder habits plays a pivotal role in supporting bladder health. It’s vital to heed the urge to urinate promptly, as delaying can increase the risk of bladder, urinary tract, or kidney infections. Other healthy urination practices include taking the time to empty the bladder fully, assuming a relaxed posture during urination, and practicing proper hygiene, such as wiping from front to back for women.
Quit Smoking: Smoking is associated with an elevated risk of bladder and kidney issues, and it can also lead to coughing, which in turn may contribute to bladder incontinence. Ceasing smoking not only benefits bladder health but also overall well-being.
Regular Health Check-ups: Bladder problems can sometimes manifest as general discomfort or illness. Regular health screenings are essential for early detection and intervention. As always, if you’re not feeling well, consult your general practitioner.
It’s natural for our bodies to undergo changes as we age, and bladder issues can indeed disrupt a person’s quality of life. While it may not be possible to halt the ageing process, we can certainly mitigate its impact by adopting good bladder habits, maintaining a balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise.
The support of an in-home care agency like Home Care Assistance can greatly enhance your quality of life while maintaining independence at home. Home Care Assistance offers effective solutions to support independent living. For more information, please reach out to a Home Care Assistance location near you today.