There are so many challenges to growing older, and incontinence is one of them. How do you go about helping to change an adult diaper?
First, begin with your attitude. This is important! You don’t want to shame the person you are helping, you don’t want to cause them to feel less than, or any more embarrassment than they will already. Be gracious, act loving, and don’t let them think they are bothering you!
To begin with, gather up everything you will need. These supplies will include:
- One of the following: clean diaper, incontinence pads with belt, or best underwear for diarrhea
- A towel or sheet to place under them, just in case
- Disposable gloves
- Urinal for old age, if needed
- Wet wipes for use on the private areas of people
- Two bags; one for trash, and one for soiled clothing
- A bed that can be utilized as the changing area
- A change of clothing, if needed
What to Do…..
To begin with, get whoever you are helping into the area you have set up. Make sure you close any curtains, draw any blinds, and close the door. Turning off the ceiling fan and directing the air flow away from the area you will be using is a nice gesture that will be appreciated. After you’ve gotten the person you are helping situated, wash your hands.
If you are using gloves, put them on. Make sure the bag you have for trash is close at hand in a convenient location.
Assist the person you are helping take off their garments. If they are soiled, place them in the extra bag you brought with you.
Unfasten the diaper and fold it back on itself, containing the excrement inside. Take the wipes and start cleaning, always wiping from the front to the back. If you wipe from the back to the front, you could spread bacteria and introduce an infection. Keep on going, folding the wipe and using a clean area each time, throwing it away when it becomes too soiled. You do not want to save on wipes for adults — use a fresh one as you need it!
If the person you are assisting can roll over, remove the soiled diaper from underneath their hips, throw it into the garbage bag, and have them turn onto their side so you can clean them up better. Continue wiping from the front to the back. Have them turn onto their opposite side and wipe them once more, making sure they are clean. Make sure you clean the area between the legs, and all the creases of skin where their legs meet their bottom.
Remove your old gloves and dispose of them, wash your hands (yes, again!), and put on a new pair. Before you can replace the diaper, you must inspect the whole bottom and genital area for rashes, bumps, and red or broken skin. If needed, liberally apply diaper cream to the entire area. Alternatively, you can use baby powder, whichever the person you are helping would prefer.
Once that is finished, it’s time to replace the diaper. Have the person roll back over onto their side, if they aren’t already in that position. Place an unfolded diaper underneath their hip, and have them roll onto their back. Tug at the diaper until it is situated, and fasten it. At this point you can remove whatever pad you had underneath them and toss it in with the soiled clothing.
Help the individual to get dressed again, if assistance is needed. When they are fully dressed, dispose of the trash, and make sure you wash your hands. Even though your hands were incased in gloves, you should still wash them!
Remember as you perform this task that the person you are caring for is trusting you to do this. They are trusting you to see them in a very vulnerable situation, and they are trusting you to help them preserve their dignity.
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Sarah JohnsonAging in Place Expert
Sarah Johnson is an Aging in Place Expert with extensive experience helping seniors remain independent and comfortable in their homes. She has specialized knowledge of how to help elderly individuals stay healthy, safe, and happy as they age. Sarah is passionate about providing quality care for aging adults, allowing them to remain in their homes and enjoy the highest quality of life.