Mobility and Incontinence

How mobility impacts incontinence and strategies you can use to prevent bathroom-related falls with protective hygiene.

How Mobility Affects Incontinence

Several of the physical changes associated with aging can impair a person's ability to move independently. Individuals with impaired mobility are at a greater risk for developing functional incontinence because they have trouble physically getting to the bathroom or using a bedside commode. Often, they experience leaks because they're waiting too long for assistance. Fortunately, there are things professional and family caregivers can do to help them prevent falls and work towards improved bladder control.

Incontinence and Falls

Immobility can result from a sudden fall or accident, and this can lead to leakage. The good news is that if you can establish a good care plan with professional support, you can help improve mobility and quality of life.  

Managing Mobility and Incontinence

What can you do to help someone with limited mobility? You can determine their level of leakage and toilet mobility. You can also stay aware of other issues which might be affecting their incontinence. With a proper plan, you can improve their mobility and prevent further decline.

Bathroom Diary

If you're working with a person whose mobility is challenged, you can help to manage their leaks by keeping a Bathroom Diary for them. This can be used to record the schedule and frequency of their bathroom visits and the amount they discharge when they go. You can also record the level of leakage they're experiencing, in order to understand what protective hygiene products are best for them. Assessing their situation will help greatly in managing and improving their situation.

Bladder Retraining Programs

Once you have a good understanding of your loved one's bathroom needs and their level of activity, you can determine whether they're a good candidate for a toileting program and trial. Toileting programs can be helpful for keeping track of their bathroom habits and determining the level of absorbency they need in their protective hygiene products.

How to Prevent Falls

Falls can be devastating and can lead to incontinence, so it's important to minimize them. It also helps to educate your loved one about the risks, and to offer them support and praise when they work hard to improve their own situation.


It's important to determine whether you're using the right equipment to help mobility for those in your care, and to make sure they're using it when in need. Canes, walkers, and bathroom equipment are helpful in keeping people safe from falls. You want to be sure they've been properly trained to use it, too. 


An exercise program can start anywhere – from a bed, to a chair, to walking short distances. Start slowly and plan breaks to rest. The benefits of exercise for the elderly have been well studied; it has been shown to improve cardiovascular functioning and endurance, increase muscle strength, improve balance to prevent future falls, decrease joint pain, and even to improve mood. 


Give all necessary assistance to people with poor balance or inadequate muscle strength. It's best to support them with your arm under theirs. Don't let them hold you – in this position, it's hard to prevent them from falling or ease them down to the ground. If you're helping someone with decent mobility but poor vision, you can let them hold your elbow for guidance, not support. They'll benefit from having as much freedom as possible.

Your Help Counts

When you assist in the care and bathroom training of a patient or loved one with mobility issues, you'll be able to improve their physical condition, their leaks, and their quality of life. This in turn, will raise their self-esteem and sense of dignity. That's a win-win.

Additional Questions?

The Prevail® eNurse support team is available 24/7 to personally help you with any problem you're experiencing. You can also email, or call (866) 573-3776 to speak to a Prevail expert. 


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