Author: Lauren Greaves
Reviewed By: Brindusa Vanta

Yes, assisted living communities can provide incontinence care. Assisted living supports aging adults in their daily routines, offering help with bathing, personal grooming, dressing and toileting. Understanding incontinence and how assisted living addresses this condition remains an important consideration for seniors and their families when making decisions about long-term care.

Understanding Incontinence

Urinary incontinence, also known as UI or overactive bladder, stands as a common issue among elderly adults. In fact, according to the National Association of Continence, over 33 million Americans suffer from urinary incontinence and related bladder conditions. Older adults experience urinary incontinence for many reasons, including:

  • Weak bladder or pelvic floor muscles
  • Overactive bladder muscles
  • Stress
  • Nerve damage from conditions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes or Parkinson’s disease
  • Later-stage Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia
  • Arthritis
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Prostatitis or enlarged prostate glands

With proper care, individuals can easily manage the symptoms of incontinence. Preventative measures include bladder control training, medications and lifestyle changes. While many seniors manage the symptoms of UI on their own, individuals with limited mobility or cognitive conditions may require the support of a trained professional.

Navigating Incontinence Care in Assisted Living

Assisted living communities offer a range of services tailored to meet residents’ needs, including assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and toileting. In many facilities, staff members undergo training, acquiring skills and techniques to perform specialized tasks for seniors with incontinence. This includes bathroom reminders, assisting with scheduled restroom visits and providing changes for specialized incontinence products, such as absorbent briefs or pads, which help seniors manage accidents discreetly. Staff members also learn to recognize signs of discomfort and skin irritation associated with incontinence, so they can facilitate prompt hygiene assistance to maintain skin integrity, preventing irritation and infections.

Assisted living communities may charge additional personal care fees on top of seniors’ monthly rates or require families to supply their own incontinence care products.

Transitioning to Special Care if Needed

When a resident’s incontinence care needs exceed the scope of services provided in assisted living, facilities may recommend a transition to a higher level of care, such as a nursing home. Skilled nursing provides around-the-clock medical supervision and specialized care for individuals with complex care needs, including advanced incontinence management. Sometimes, facilities house residents who experience incontinence so long as they can manage their symptoms on their own.If your loved one has incontinence, speak with prospective assisted living communities about the services they offer for seniors living with incontinence. Some facilities function as continuing care retirement communities with multiple levels of care, allowing residents to transition between health services while remaining on the same campus.