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With an estimated 400+ million adults worldwide experiencing episodes of incontinence, creating products that successfully meet the different needs and expectations of the masses is no small feat. By taking a holistic look at the three main user groups for adult incontinence products (i.e., active adults, impaired users, and caregivers), Bostik’s disposable hygiene experts have compiled the following list of eight fundamental needs that are important, at varying degrees, to product users:



1. Affordability

A new parent can estimate the number of diapers an infant will need from birth until they are toilet trained, but calculating the cost of adult incontinence products is much more complex. Adult incontinence is often an ongoing condition that can last months, years, and even decades. The duration of use and frequency at which product are changed can cause financial concerns for all user types. This is especially true for individuals living on fixed incomes and caregivers who are responsible for purchasing products for a loved one who does not receive government assistance or subsidies to help offset the cost. 

Read more about the Cost of Incontinence.


2. Fit to the Body

Size is the most obvious factor product users take into consideration when it comes to fit. Beyond size, ensuring an ideal fit means the adult incontinence product(s) used must:


  • Be designed for the contours of the body to help prevent leaks
  • Be able to adjust around the waist and legs without red marking
  • Not sag when wet, and not twist or bunch with movement

Learn more about Fit Needs in Adult Incontinence.


3. Leakage Protection

For many adults living with incontinence, protection from unexpected and embarrassing leaks is a top priority when they are enjoying an active social life outside the home. Leakage protection is also a significant concern for both impaired users and their caregivers. In this situation, leaks require more frequent changes and laundering of soiled clothes and bed linens. This can consume valuable time and money. A core design that quickly acquires liquid, distributes it throughout the core, and keeps the liquid contained without rewetting the user is essential for protecting against leaks. 

Learn more about Core Needs in Adult Incontinence.


4. Adequate Absorption 

Having the right product for the right person at the right time is a growing area of focus for both manufacturers and product users. Some individuals, in fact, require the use of multiple product types that offer different absorption capacities throughout the day and night to manage their conditions. For example, an active adult may prefer wearing, during the day, a product that is more discreet and requires more frequent changes. At night, they might switch to a larger, higher-absorbent product to safeguard against leaks while sleeping. They may also decide to alternate with other solutions such as catheters or clamps.


5. No Wet Sensation

As noted above, a product’s capacity to hold fluid is important for adequate absorption and leakage protection. It should also be designed for very minimal rewet so that the wearer can avoid having an uncomfortable sensation of constant wet skin after urine is released from the bladder. What is a comfort issue for most active product users becomes a health issue for impaired users who can’t change the soiled article or signal that they need to be changed. Having wet skin causes odour and can lead to skin irritation, also known as incontinence associated dermatitis (IAD). Using products with adequate absorption and proper urine distribution, and ones that protect against rewetting, will help keep the wearer’s skin dry and avoid the wet sensation.


6. Skin Protection

In the area of adult incontinence, skin wellness is mainly controlled by the dryness of the skin. Much like the need for the “no wet sensation,” skin protection is of particular concern for impaired product users and their caregivers, as independent adults are more likely to change soiled products before skin issues arise. Avoiding rewet, in addition to timely changes of soiled products, can assist in reducing the occurrence of friction-related irritation. The potential use of softer materials, ointments, and creams can also help absorbent products improve skin protection.


7. Odour Control

Discretion and dignity are believed to be two primary concerns for many product users. Controlling odours, in addition to limiting product noise and visibility, before and during use is important to active, social adults who want to avoid the shame and embarrassment often associated with the condition. Odour control is also very important to caregivers in hospital, assisted living, and nursing home settings, as well as the patients, residents, and visitors. The concentrated odour from a large quantity of fresh products stored in a supply closet before use, and the accumulated odour of soiled products during and after use, can trigger an unpleasant hedonic response.

Read more about Odour Needs in Adult Incontinence.


8. Ease of Use

How easy a product is to put on is a need to keep in mind for independent users who change products themselves. It also can be particularly important for caregivers of impaired users. To do their job properly, caregivers need to change soiled articles quickly and easily, which also contributes to the wearer’s comfort and dignity. For aging independent users, manufacturers should take ease of use into account as muscles begin to lose strength and conditions such as arthritis begin to set in.

By taking these fundamental adult incontinence product needs into consideration, product manufacturers can gain a better understanding of user demands. This insight can also help manufacturers focus future efforts on creating designs, sizes, and absorption levels to meet consumer requirements and exceed expectations.

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