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Incontinence Management Tips for Warmer Weather

Incontinence Management Tips for Warmer Weather

Now that spring is here and the days are getting longer, it’s time to start thinking about incontinence management for warmer weather. 

Many people spend the summer months traveling and getting outside, but these activities present unique challenges for those living with bladder or bowel issues. Seasonally appropriate attire like shorts, skirts, or bathing suits can make it challenging to hide adult diapers or pull-ups, while the need for increased hydration may increase the risk of accidents.

Fortunately, a  combination of healthy lifestyle changes, proper planning, and high-quality incontinence products can keep your loved one comfortable and confident all season long. This article answers the following questions:

Why does warm weather make incontinence management more challenging?

Warm weather makes incontinence management challenging for several reasons:

Less access to bathrooms. Many seasonal pastimes like camping, going to the beach, and hiking occur outdoors. Access to restrooms during these types of activities can be sporadic at the best of times, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced many recreational facilities to make budget cuts, resulting in facility closures and less frequent maintenance.

Thin fabrics and light-colored clothing. Summer clothing like shorts, tee-shirts, and bathing suits are made of thin materials like linen, cotton, or silk. Though comfortable, these fabrics can make it difficult to discreetly wear incontinence products like adult diapers or pull-ups.

Many seasonal outfits feature lighter, brighter colors. Wearing khaki or light-colored bottoms makes accidents more visible, which can affect your senior’s confidence or self-esteem. 

Increased need for hydration.  Proper hydration is critical throughout the year, but it’s especially so during the summer months. Individuals who don’t drink enough water are more likely to experience heat exhaustion, dehydration, or kidney failure.

Travel picks up. Many Americans spend the summer months traveling cross country. Whether you pack up the car for a family road trip or book a flight, making time for frequent bathroom breaks isn’t always easy.  

What types of lifestyle changes can make incontinence management easier?

One of the easiest ways to help someone with incontinence during the summer months is to encourage healthy lifestyle changes, including:

Maintaining a healthy weight. It’s estimated that 35% of Americans 65 and older are obese. Being overweight increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes, but it also puts additional stress on the bladder. Losing just 5-10 pounds can relieve pressure, lowering the risk of unexpected leaks or bowel voids.

Exercising regularly. The natural aging process causes muscle fiber to weaken, making it less able to tolerate stress. If the pelvic floor muscles can’t support the internal organs, it’s difficult to control urination or the bowels. 

Regular exercise can strengthen the pelvic floor and improve muscle control. Before starting a new work-out program, schedule an appointment with your loved one’s primary care physician. They can make recommendations that align with your senior’s age, medical history, and needs. 

Eating a balanced diet that’s high in fiber. People who don’t eat enough fiber are more likely to experience constipation. When stool is unable to move through the digestive tract it may press on the bladder, resulting in leaks. Additionally, frequent straining weakens the pelvic floor muscles, increasing the risk of bowel voids.

Consuming a high fiber diet rich in fruits and vegetables makes stool bulkier and softer. Together, these factors allow for more regular bowel movements and improved digestive health.

Staying hydrated. Hydration is especially important during warm weather. It’s better to drink water and have an accident than it is to avoid fluids altogether. To minimize the need for bathroom breaks, encourage your loved one to take small sips of fluid at regular intervals instead of downing an entire beverage during a single sitting.

Avoiding irritants. Spicy foods or drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine can irritate the bladder. If you plan on traveling or spending time outside, stick to water or nutritionally enhanced beverages like Pedialyte®.  

Scheduling routine doctors appointments. Incontinence affects everyone differently and evolves over time. Taking your loved one in for routine doctor’s appointments can help keep uncomfortable symptoms in check. If a certain medication contributes to the issue, their provider may even be able to prescribe alternatives.

What other ways can I help a loved one with warm weather incontinence management?

Healthy lifestyle changes aren’t always enough to prevent accidents, but don’t let that keep your senior from enjoying the warmer weather. Here are a few ways to stay prepared:

Planning out bathroom breaks in advance. One of the easiest ways to prevent warm weather accidents, is to plan out bathroom breaks before leaving home. There are several apps available, including SitorSquat and Toilet Finder, that make it easy to find free and accessible restrooms no matter where you are. 

Packing a travel bag. With the need for increased hydration, warm weather accidents are bound to happen. Packing a travel bag with a fresh change of clothing, wipes, and incontinence products like topliner booster pads and adult diapers ensures you’re ready for anything.

Gentle reminders to stay hydrated. If your senior has dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or another neurodegenerative condition they might forget to stay hydrated. Gentle reminders throughout the day can prevent dehydration and associated health problems. If they have difficulty swallowing, thick water makes fluid consumption easier.  

Selecting outfits that mask accidents. Some incontinence products are loud or bulky. Because summer clothing is often made of thin or light-colored materials, diapers and pull-ups may be more visible. If your loved one feels self conscious, consider outfitting them in dark-colored shorts or skirts that cover up leakage. There  are also incontinence-friendly swimsuits and swim diapers specifically designed for warm weather activities. 

What are some products that can help with warm weather incontinence management?

Here at Carewell, we carry a number of products that can help with warm weather incontinence management. Let’s take a closer look at some of our most popular offerings:

SwimMates Disposable Adult Pull-Up Underwear

These comfortable and discreet disposable pull-ups make it easy for those with incontinence to enjoy time in the pool or a trip to the beach. They’re absent of polymers and protective backing prevent bowel voids from coming into contact with your loved one’s skin or bathing suit.

Key benefits & features:

  • Each pull-up has elastic gathers to prevent leakage
  • Made of cloth-like material that’s silent and similar to traditional underwear
  • Breathable fabric that lowers the risk of rashes or irritation
  • Tear away sides for easy removal

Prevail® Adult Wipes with Lotion

These soft, disposable wipes from Prevail contain Aloe and vitamin E, ensuring your loved one’s skin remains clean, moisturized, and healthy. They’re double the size of traditional baby wipes, are incredibly absorbent, and make clean-up following accidents hassle-free.

Key benefits & features:

  • Extra durable, so there’s no risk of tears
  • Packed with a press open lid for easy access
  • Infused with natural ingredients to promote healthy skin
  • Each package contains 48 wipes

Prevail® Pull-Up Underwear, Maximum

These pull-ups are made of Skim Smart fabric, a cloth-like hypoallergenic material. They fit comfortably under shorts, swim trunks, or other summer attire and feature QUICK WICK with MaxSoft technology, keeping the wearer’s skin dry and rash-free. Each pull-up offers heavy absorbency, making them perfect for long car rides or flights. 

Key benefits & features:

  • Latex and rubber-free
  • 100%  breathability
  • MaxSorb technology turns urine and bowel voids into gel
  • Tear away seams for easy changes and removal

Pedialyte® AdvancedCare™ Electrolyte Drink 

Warm weather increases sweat production, causing the loss of vitamins and electrolytes. Someone handling incontinence issues may be tempted to cut back on hydrating to save them from potential leaks. This should never be the solution, especially in the summer. Preparing yourself with the right adult diaper for your needs is a wiser choice than skipping water breaks.

Nutritionally enhanced beverages can replenish vital nutrients lost through sweat and prevent mild or moderate dehydration. Pedialyte AdvancedCare is unique in that it incorporates preactiv prebiotics to promote digestive health. 

Key benefits & features:

  • Quickly replaces zinc, fluids, and electrolytes
  • Lowers the risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and vomiting
  • Each bottle contains one liter of fluid

What if I still have questions?

If you still have questions about warm weather incontinence management, connect with our amazing Care Team. Give them a call at (855) 855-1666 or send an email to support@carewell.com. They can make recommendations and help you determine the right product’s for your loved one’s needs.

Chad Birt is a freelance B2B and B2C medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.

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