Choosing Incontinence Products: New Options for Every Activity Level

There are as many incontinence products on the market today as there are types and causes of leakage, and buying the wrong product is an expensive mistake. New research from the University of Michigan, published in the journal Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, shows caring for a patient with fecal incontinence costs $4,110 per person per year.

Factored into this figure are direct medical costs, direct nonmedical costs and loss of productivity. Choosing incontinence products that fit a resident’s lifestyle can help minimize costly mistakes.

How can managers and staff at senior living facilities assist residents who seek help in choosing the right products? First, work with a retailer who offers trial samples, personalized advice from caregivers and doorstep delivery. Then consider activity level and how the individual wants to wear and remove the product.

For Active Men and Women
Men and women who are physically active — through exercise, travel or socializing — may like products that look and feel like regular underwear. Prevail makes boxers for men that look like ordinary pull-on boxers but offer moderate to heavy incontinence protection.

You may have seen a recent video of actress Lisa Rinna modeling Depend Silhouette for Women under an evening gown. Designed to be quiet, clothlike and smooth fitting, this pull-on brief helps enhance normalcy while offering moderate to heavy incontinence protection.

Machine-washable incontinence panties, such as Stride Everyday Panties, are a money-saving option. Some may be washed more than 100 times and can be worn under most clothing. If greater absorbency is needed, women may add an incontinence pad to this product.

Solutions for the Moderately Active
Men and women who are less active but appreciate comfort can choose from many garment styles and manufacturers. Undergarments, which absorb a smaller amount of urine than full briefs, are held in place with elasticized or button straps.

Offering greater absorbency are pull-on underwear, which are put on and taken off just like regular underwear but include stretchy side panels for a snug fit and tear-away sides for removal. Adjustable underwear typically have similar tear-away sides but add repositionable tabs for easy fitting.

Men who’ve undergone prostate surgery and have temporary incontinence may choose guards. Made by a variety of manufacturers, this product may be worn with regular underwear to catch leaks.

Best Products for the Sedentary
In cases where absorbency is the most important concern, we recommend the Wellness Brief. It absorbs 87 ounces, so it’s ideal for overnight use and going longer periods between changes. Active seniors also choose this product for travel, when bathroom schedules can be uncertain.

Briefs, also often called adult diapers, offer maximum protection for complete loss of bladder or bowel control. This style has tape tabs for easy caregiver removal. Briefs may be combined with waterproof underpads placed on beds and chairs to protect against urine and feces.

An Expert Resource for Your Facility and Residents
For a supply of resident informational brochures and access to more than 500 incontinence products with free doorstep delivery ($50+), call The CareGiver Partnership at 1-800-985-1353 or visit