Access Free Incontinence Supplies for Seniors in Need
Incontinence is a common issue for seniors, and can often be difficult to manage. If you are a senior who is in need of incontinence supplies, we have some good news! There are many organizations that provide free or discounted supplies to those who need them. In this blog post, we will discuss how to access these supplies and what to expect. We hope that this information will help make life a little bit easier for seniors dealing with incontinence.
Causes of Incontinence in Seniors
As seniors age, they may begin to experience involuntary loss of control over their bladder or bowel movements, otherwise known as incontinence. Seniors may become incontinent for many reasons. Some situations that can lead to incontinence include:
- Urinary tract infections
- Bladder, rectum, or uterus prolapse
- Diseases that affect the nerves
- Prostate gland problems
- Weakened bladder
Around 50% of seniors aged 65 or older who lived outside a care facility experience some form of incontinence. With so many elderly people affected by the condition, incontinence is a national health problem. Billions of dollars are spent in the United States each year by seniors purchasing products to manage their incontinence.
How Incontinence is Managed
Incontinence can be managed in many ways, but successful management depends on acknowledging the severity of the condition. Some seniors may struggle with feelings of shame and embarrassment due to their incontinence, but with so many seniors experiencing this problem, it’s very likely someone you know is also dealing with the same symptoms.
It is important to talk to a doctor about incontinence because there are many different causes and treatments. Managing incontinence is all about learning how to live with and manage the condition. There are many strategies available:
- Diet and lifestyle changes to help reduce symptoms.
- Bladder training and retraining exercises to develop more control over muscles.
- Absorbent products to keep clothing dry.
- Medications that can relax the bladder muscles or reduce bladder contractions.
Depending on the type of incontinence and severity of symptoms, multiple approaches may be necessary to achieve success in controlling it. Thankfully, incontinence can often be successfully managed, although not typically cured, with a combination of measures that work best for each individual.
Other management methods include:
- Urgency suppression to distract the person from the need to urinate.
- Scheduling bathroom breaks to prevent leakage.
- Electrical nerve stimulation to strengthen muscles.
- Surgery to increase the size of the bladder.
Another strategy to decrease the discomfort of incontinence for seniors includes behavioral therapy. Support from family members or caregivers is often invaluable in helping the senior successfully manage their condition. With the proper care and attention, seniors can still enjoy life regardless of experiencing incontinence.
Types of Incontinence Supplies
There are many types of incontinence supplies available on the market today to help people manage their condition. From adult diapers and pull-ups to bed and chair pads, there is no shortage of options to fit each individual’s unique needs.
It can also be helpful to look into other products that may not be considered strictly incontinence supplies such as skin care items, odor control systems, or skin wound dressings. These supplemental supplies can provide a higher level of comfort and independence. Knowing the right type of product for your personal situation can make a world of difference in managing incontinence, so take the time to research what works best for you.
Where to Find Free Incontinence Supplies for Seniors
Seniors throughout the United States are often faced with medical issues that can have a significant financial impact, including those related to incontinence. According to one study, fecal incontinence costs an average of around $4,000 each year for each person with the condition.
Many insurance policies, including Medicare, do not cover incontinence supplies, and a lot of seniors struggle to make ends meet enough as it is when trying to afford necessities. Thankfully, there are organizations that realize this plight and offer free incontinence supplies specifically for low-income seniors. These kinds of resources are invaluable and can help provide much-needed relief to those struggling in their golden years.
Senior centers are local organizations that provide a range of services catered to seniors. Many of these services are available for free or at a low cost. Check with seniors centers in your area about supply donations. For a list of centers in your area, check The Senior Center Directory.
Many states have Medicaid programs that cover incontinence supplies, but not all programs do. Be sure to confirm with your insurance plan exactly which types of supplies are covered (bed pads, disposable underwear, etc.). Your Medicaid program can give you more information about how to seek coverage for these supplies. Note that you will likely need a physician’s prescription in order for the products to be covered.
Local Senior Organizations
There are likely many senior organizations in your area. Check your local listings to determine which ones are close to you. For instance, Helping Hands Senior Foundation is a nonprofit that provides free assistance for seniors in the Los Angeles area. They can help the elderly receive needed supplies, including incontinence products.
The Salvation Army is a national nonprofit organization that has been around for more than 150 years. Their charitable services include donation drives that often include incontinence supplies. Contact your local branch of the Salvation Army to learn where to pick them up.
The National Diaper Bank Network is a group of diaper bank programs throughout the United States. Many of these organizations also distribute incontinence supplies for seniors, too. You can contact the banks in your area to determine which ones have incontinence supplies available for pickup.
Senior incontinence is a very common problem. Managing this condition can be a costly burden for many seniors on a limited budget, especially when insurance doesn’t cover these necessary items. Fortunately, there are several programs throughout the nation that provide free incontinence supplies for seniors in need.
- “Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults,” National Institute on Aging, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/urinary-incontinence-older-adults
- “Prevalence of Incontinence Among Older Americans,” CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_03/sr03_036.pdf
- “Incontinence Supplies & Adult Diapers,” Medicare, https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/incontinence-supplies-adult-diapers
- “How to Get the Best Incontinence Products Covered by Medicaid,” National Association for Continence, https://nafc.org/bhealth-blog/how-to-get-the-best-incontinence-products-covered-by-medicaid/
- “Incontinence Care,” Helping Hands Senior Foundation, https://www.helpinghandsla.org/how-we-help/care-coordination/medical-equipment/incontinence-care
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