What Are the Causes of Incontinence in Seniors?

Incontinence, or decreased bladder control, is a troubling and sensitive issue, particularly for seniors. It can lead to a wide variety of concerns, from skin sores to social isolation for individuals who are afraid to leave the house in case of an “accident.” Yet while bladder leakage causes as many as 25 million Americans to suffer with complications, the problem hardly ever gets the attention and discussion it needs. With the lack of communication and information about the causes of incontinence in seniors, many older individuals and those who provide their care feel as though there isn’t anything that can be done about it.

However, senior incontinence is not unavoidable as people age. While many older individuals do find that their bladders may be “weak,” resulting in leaks, sometimes the concern has an effective solution.

Below are some causes of incontinence that can be treated:

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

UTIs, also called bladder infections, cause an overwhelming urge to pass urine. In younger people, this feeling is apparent, but it isn’t always as apparent for older people. If an older person presents with sudden urinary incontinence when this was not a difficulty before, check for additional warning signs that suggest a UTI, such as:

  • Sudden confusion or agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Other behavioral changes
  • Poor motor skills
  • Falls

You may also notice:

  • Strong smelling urine
  • Cloudy urine, or blood in the urine
  • Fever
  • Complaints of pain when urinating
  • Complaints of pressure or pain in the abdomen
  • Night sweats

If you believe your loved one may have a UTI, the senior needs to be assessed by the doctor and have his or her urine tested. Once the infection has been treated, the incontinence should be resolved or lessened.

Mobility Loss

As mobility diminishes, incontinence can become an issue. The need to urinate might come on suddenly and the older person may not be able to get to the bathroom quickly enough. This could also be a concern in the evenings, as it often takes longer to get out of bed to go to the restroom, and arising in the middle of the night can also cause some confusion.

For older adults with mobility issues, an in-home assessment from one of our in-home care professionals can help offer suggestions.


Certain drugs, including diuretics, increase the level of urine produced, creating an increased urge to urinate. If your loved one is on a medication that boosts urine production, it is important to keep this in mind whenever the person has to leave the home or is not nearby a readily available bathroom.

At Carolina Hearts Home Care, we understand how UTIs, senior incontinence, and other elderly health issues can impact quality of life. Our Wadesboro home care team provides a wide array of home care services, including ambulation and restroom assistance, medication reminders, bathing and grooming assistance, and more, to help your senior loved one live his or her best life. Call us today at 855-277-2005 to learn more about our expert in home care services in Wadesboro and the surrounding area.