The once “hush-hush” subject of geriatric incontinence and the use of adult diapers (referred to in senior living communities as pull-ups or briefs) is becoming easier to discuss among and with older adults, as more than half of residents in assisted living communities have urinary incontinence.

More residents could experience incontinence for longer periods of time as life expectancies increase. As a result, the market for adult pull-ups and briefs is projected to increase by 36% between 2017 and 2022. Incontinence supplies have the potential to positively affect everyone involved — residents and providers — for several reasons.

The increase in the use of adult pull-ups and briefs

In recent years, adult briefs and pull-ups have gotten more comfortable and discreet. Instead of being large, bulky and obvious, they’re breathable and look almost identical to regular underwear. Most importantly, although they have a slimmer design now, adult briefs are able to fully stop leaks.

The process of obtaining these products also has become much easier and more discreet, as they are now offered through insurance programs. Older adults can contact a reliable durable medical equipment provider from the comfort of their own residence and can be matched with a reliable representative to serve as a trusted source in assisting them in obtaining the incontinence products they need.

DMEs will help beneficiaries navigate insurance coverage and will match them with products to suit their individual needs. Their incontinence supplies then will be sent to them on a monthly basis in discreet packaging, and the company representative assigned to them will check in regularly to see whether any changes need to be made.

How adult pull-ups and briefs assist caregivers

Giving older adults the opportunity to discover the products that they feel comfortable in provides them with a greater sense of independence. Considering many of your residents fear losing that sense, it’s important to boost the feeling whenever possible.

Older adults can be in control of their own incontinence products and may spend less time in denial about needing to use adult pull-ups. By serving as a tool that they’re confident will prevent accidents, adult pull-ups and briefs also could help prevent them from trying to hide their condition.

Such products also can increase safety.

Incontinence can contribute to anxiety and stress, and older adults who sit in soiled clothes, trying to hide their condition, are more prone to developing rashes and infections. And residents can trip or fall in the middle of the night when they wake up with the sudden urge to use the bathroom.

The safety provided by pull-ups and briefs also extends to caregivers, because they won’t have to rush to residents to assist them with making it to the toilet on time.

By catching and stopping leaks, adult pull-ups can save time and effort that otherwise would be spent cleaning residents and any furniture they may have had an accident on. Instead of having to mop up or scrub urine, caregivers and other workers have more time to focus on their residents’ other needs.

Encouraging older adults to use pull-ups and briefs

Discussing incontinence and using adult pull-ups and briefs can be intimidating and awkward for some, but the benefits greatly outweigh the discomfort of having the conversation. To encourage the use of the products, consider the following tips:

  • Be supportive and understanding. Be respectful, and avoid words that may embarrass residents (such as the word diapers). Refer to the products as pull-ups or briefs, listen to residents’ concerns and offer solutions.
  • Mention benefits, such as preventing leaks, masking embarrassing smells, providing independence and the ability to continue to participate in social activities without interruption.
  • Have a few product samples on hand to show residents the latest advances.
  • Consider bringing in a resident’s doctor, family and friends to provide support during the conversation.
  • Mention how common incontinence is. More than 13 million Americans currently have it. Then mention how discreet and easy it is to receive products through insurance at little to no cost.

The future of adult pull-ups and briefs

As the subject of adult incontinence becomes less taboo, more caregivers and senior living residents are realizing that adult pull-ups and briefs and pull-ups effectively can manage urinary issues. By easily receiving products discreetly every month through their insurance programs, older adults also can feel confident that they are getting the correct incontinence supplies to meet their needs.