nitty gritty question (not for the squeamish or overly optimistic)

Does anyone have experience with, or know a general type of resource who would have answers about, best types of, how shall I say, adult undergarments?  

I am trying to help care for a very tiny woman in her 80s (both age and weight, actually) who has increasing trouble with incontinence.  We're having an awful time finding any "Depends" or whatever product that's effective for her.  Most of the things she's tried are just way too big.  They seem to come halfway up to her chin, which is just sort of funny, and they leak, which is not funny.  I've looked at kids' diapers, but the weight range seems too low.

Who/what kind of professional, or type of store or ? might have good practical ideas about this?  Doctors (internist & GI) have not been helpful, but I'm thinking there must be somebody out there who's had to study this up.

In addition to fitting, I think the ideal garment would open at the sides like a kid's diaper, not a "pull up," so that she would not have to pull all her (usually numerous) layers of pants all the way off to change.

Thanks for any ideas!

(Pls note that I'm not in NJ, so generic ideas might be best, though I'd be thrilled to talk/correspond with someone who could help with this.)

I would think that a surgical supply store would probably have what you need. I know you are not in New Jersey, but if you are familiar with Liss Pharmacy in Summit that is the sort of place you would look for where you are. Yellow pages, or google, should be able to help you find a local surgical supply. 

Thanks spontaneous, that sounds like a good idea.  I hadn't looked beyond Walgreens yet.

good luck mjc. I am having these issues as well and for my limited income it is quite expensive. A girlfriend in her 80's actually had a hysterectomy and her bladder sewn up to where her uterus was. She was wearing two pads and a diaper before the operation. She is down to pads only now but this part of growing old is a really interesting challenge. It is no fun when you go to visit an out of town son for a 24 hour sleepover visit and he says after a while, ma, you smell like pee. Do you bathe? And I had just had a bath the night before he picked me up and he says, yeah, I didn't notice anything then. Oh well. I now carry supplies and change more often, with my own garbage bag and carry bag to dispose elsewhere than a kitchen garbage can. You can't make this stuff up. smile 

mjc. The Internet is my friend. shows a style with tabs and has choices as well.

Thanks lots, ootg! I'll check them out.  (And you do your best, but oh well, you knew him way back when he was smelly too, right??)

Hah! That is so true! He just holds me in such high regard I think he never expected the roles would be reversed. And here it is!

Some sanitary pads are highly absorbent. Perhaps she can try using one or two. 


Try reading through this website. I've sent you a link to one tab but it looks like the site might have useful info (plus there is a coupon on the home page)

I purchased all the "supplies" for my Mother in Law from  They even have some items set up for recurring deliveries.  We always purchased the items suggested by the home health care workers; they seemed to know (first hand) what was and was not working.

The brand we used was Molicare by Medline.

Go to the "Subscribe & Save" section.  Go to the Health and Personal Care, Health Care and then Incontinence section for items that are very well priced and shipped to your door.

Good Luck!

Second the suggestion that you try a drug store with a good surgical supply section like Liss or Carolina.  Even if they do not have what you need in stock, they may be able to special order what you need or provide advice as to who in your area might carry the needed item(s).  

If there is a senior day care or similar in your area, the staff there might be able to suggest, based on their experience with clients, what would or would not work well for a slender senior.  

If a manufacturer whose products you like has a customer service number or contact us function on their website, contacting them and asking for suggestions from their product line might provide some useful ideas.

If you do go the tabs route, make sure that the tabs on the item you select can be adjusted to fit the required width or supplemented with some kind of tape for a narrower fit.  Depending on how they are shaped/constructed a close fit may still not be possible.

They do make in between sizes...when kids with disabilities age out of baby diapers...they need something between baby and adult they exist...i would have to look into where to get them.

It is really sad that the doctors are so bad they refuse to help you...they should know how to find out about this

i just googled diapers for special needs at 80 pounds, a size for a pre teen might fit...there are many other links that easily came up..the kids I knew usually got the diapers through medicaid..if insurance/medicare or medicaid will pay for it  check with them on suppliers

I'm surprised you don't seem to have specialist advisory community services for this. 

Normal sanitary pads don't work: blood is a different density to urine or faeces, and each kind of incontinence issue requires its own solution. The solution isn't only the undergarment, although yes, that's important. It's important to know which kind out of several styles of product and brands is best, and why. It's important to know what's causing the issue, too. 

Continence advisory services typically comprise a nurse who will consult with a dietitian and urologist, calling in a pharmacist specialising gerontology and a social worker if these are needed. Often they work by visiting the individual at home, so they can assess support systems as well as the need to modify bathrooms, kitchens etc (to help easy/frequent access), improve safe lighting and other things. 

And they help to advise if there's any subsidy, bulk-buying or rebate scheme that's applicable. 

I remember doing a search for such a service a few years ago... Or you could ring an elder care advisory line like SAGE for a contact number. 

I keep coming back to this thread to see whether anyone "overly optimistic" has shown up. grin

But less facetiously, good luck with your search. I have not needed (yet) to get into the nitty-gritty of this, so I don't have much information. I have been seeing commercials lately for pads that are meant for this, rather than menstrual purposes. They simply work with your existing underwear. But the use of these would depend on which kind of incontinence. With my mother, we began with one kind of control loss and progressed to the other.

I'm off to work in an hour; will try to post links to factsheets sometime during the day. (First day back for clients, so it's going to be hectic) if I'm lucky, I'll actually get a same-day reply from one of our inter-network colleagues oh oh

Sorry for late editing. Couldn't manage to get in touch while at work, was that kind of day. However, these are the sorts of resources we start with:

This is a US fact sheet for patients and their families. There may be some matters you haven't yet explored, for greater comfort and better management. 

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