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Traveling with incontinence.

Q I've just retired and am soon going to be fulfilling a long-held ambition to "roadtrip" across America in my car. I've invited my elderly mother to accompany me, but since she suffers from incontinence do you have any advice for how I can ensure she is accident-free as we travel?

A Your first step should be planning a route that includes plenty of rest stops where there are likely to be restrooms your mother can use. Mark these on a map, and also keep in mind that if you use a GPS or in-car navigation system, these also can locate and direct you to gas stations and local attractions and businesses that will have restrooms. Another handy option if you use a smartphone is the "Sit or Squat" app, which not only locates nearby restrooms but also provides a cleanliness rating. You can download this and similar apps via the app store on your phone.

Plot in a rest stop every three hours or so. As well as giving your mother a bathroom break, stretching your legs will help protect you both from blood clots, which can be a risk if you're seated for long periods of time. As added insurance, I suggest that your mother pack incontinence underwear or pads she can wear just in case you get delayed en route. It also may be useful to stow a "changing bag" in the car--pack it with spare clothing and sanitary wipes, as well as plastic bags for storing any wet clothing while you continue driving. I also recommend protecting the car seat with a waterproof pad.

With careful preparation, there is no reason why your vacation can't be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for you both. Have a wonderful time!

Rosanne M. Leipzig, MD, PhD

Geriatric Medicine

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Title Annotation:ASK THE EXPERTS
Author:Leipzig, Rosanne M.
Publication:Focus on Healthy Aging
Date:Oct 1, 2016
Words:299
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