Your loved one may lose the ability to control their bowel or bladder function, and may need your help using the bathroom. Helping them with toileting can be uncomfortable for both of you. Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you help someone in the restroom:
- Always be calming and reassuring. Let them know it’s okay to rely on you for help with going to the bathroom.
- Make a schedule to set bathroom trips every two or three hours. The frequency of a bathroom schedule may help them remain in control of their bladder or bowel functions. When they do ask to use the restroom, help them immediately.
- Help them walk to the bathroom and give them plenty of time to make their way to the toilet. Do not rush them, as they may lose their sense of balance.
- Move the bed as close to the bathroom as you can. A bedside commode may help if they are unable to walk to the bathroom.
- Leave the room if it’s safe to do so. If not, turn away. Respect their dignity by giving ample time and privacy.
- They may need to use adult diapers or bed pads to absorb bodily fluids. Always keep them dry and clean. Change soiled clothing and sheets right away.
- If they can’t get out of bed, your loved one may need help using a bedpan or plastic men’s urinal.
To learn more about additional daily caregiving tasks, get a copy of the Caregiver Confidence Guide.