What you can do

Local organisations or charities may be able to give a helping hand

Discover some more great tips

In Types we describe some of the most common kinds of bladder weakness people experience and in this section we share professional tips to help with those specific types. However, if you are unsure of what type the person you are caring for has, we do advise that you talk to a healthcare professional, who will usually be able to give a diagnosis from asking a few simple questions.

What will they ask?

They’ll usually just ask about the history of the bladder weakness, for example whether it is triggered by specific actions such as coughing or sneezing and about any treatments or medications or simply any other medical condition that may be affecting your loved one’s bladder. They will probably undertake a brief examination and ask for a urine sample for testing. If practical, they may well ask the patient to keep a diary, recording when they urinate over the course of a week, to help identify patterns or trigger points. In fact it may be helpful to keep a diary a week before the first appointment then you will have all this information immediately to hand. You can download a diary form here.

What you can do

How you care for someone with incontinence will depend on their level of physical mobility and their mental state. You may be helping someone who is in a reasonably good state of physical and mental health but would appreciate some information and advice, or you may be caring for someone with a severe physical disability such as paralysis, or someone with a mental disorder such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s, or someone with both mental and physical disabilities. In this section, we have gathered together advice from healthcare professionals and experienced home carers to cover off the 4 main scenarios of caring for a loved one with incontinence at home. Please select the descriptor which best fits your own situation for practical tips and advice on caring for your loved one.

  • The person I care for can wash and dress themselves. They just sometimes cannot control their bladder
  • The person I care for is physically able, but due to mental illness cannot ensure accidents don’t happen
  • The person I care for is mentally alert but physically unable to wash, dress or manage the toilet for themselves
  • My loved one has mental illness and is physically unable to wash, dress or manage the toilet for themselves