Q: My 84-year-old dad is worried about occasional morning incontinence. I asked, "Could it be as simple as cutting back on coffee?" He joked that "it was the beginning of the end for me," but I don't think so. Instead of going out for coffee with his friends, he's staying home more often and drinking coffee all morning. I think his bigger problems are companionship. I'm not sure how that can be remedied. Any suggestions?
A: Your dad ought to schedule a doctor's appointment, and he also should know about recent research that might put his mind at ease. Caffeine from as little as two cups of coffee has been tied to incontinence in men, according to the study, although exact reasons have not been determined. The study's subjects who consumed the most caffeine were more likely to have problems with incontinence than those who took in the least.
Senior author Dr. Alayne Markland's study conclusions were detailed in a story that was carried online by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Dr. Markland's research was conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Caffeine intake "is something to consider," Dr. Markland said. "People who are having problems with urinary incontinence should modify their caffeine intake and I think that's part of clinical practice," she added.
Earlier research had linked caffeine to incontinence among women, but not much was known about whether there is a similar connection for men. "We wanted to see if caffeine had an impact on them as well," Dr. Markland said.
Your local Home Instead Senior Care office could help your father by providing a CAREGiver who can assist not only with light housekeeping, grocery shopping and transportation, but with meal preparation, medication reminders and companionship.
A CAREGiver could share morning coffee time with your father and help him make sure "the coffee hour" is just that long. CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured, and they can be hired for as little as three hours and up to 24/7.
For more information about Home Instead Senior Care, contact Joe DeLauter at 866-522-6533 or go to www.homeinstead.com. For more about the study, see www.nlm.nih.gov/med lineplus/news/fullstory-133118.html.
DeLauter is the owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Lewisburg, which serves Union, Snyder, Northumberland, Lycoming, Clinton, Montour and Columbia counties.