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Tips to Choose the Best Adult Diapers for Your Elderly 

Tips to Choose the Best Adult Diapers for Your Elderly 

Adult diapers, also known as incontinence briefs or briefs with tabs, have become the go-to solution for people suffering from urinary incontinence. Although these products are generally recommended for senior citizens, adults of every age and gender can find them incredibly useful.  

However, shopping for the proper incontinent brief is never a walk in the park. You find a well-fitting diaper, only for the product to leave your skin feeling all dry and itchy. Or, you find a diaper specifically designed for users with sensitive skin, but the product costs an arm and a leg.  

Fortunately, there are multiple expert tips when shopping for adult diapers. Read below for a definitive guide to buying the best incontinence briefs for your elderly folk. 

  1. Know What Adult Diapers are 

The most basic definition of adult diapers is “designed for anyone other than infants.” However, the term is commonly used interchangeably with ‘adult pull-ups.’ Therefore, knowing what you’re looking for is important before hitting the stores.  

Adult pull ups and diapers can be instrumental in dealing with incontinence issues. The difference is that adult pull-ups are underwear or pants fitted with urine-absorbing material. No wonder these products are also known as ‘incontinence underwear’ or ‘incontinence pants.’ 

  1. Determine That Your Elderly Needs Adult Diapers 

As you may have gathered by now, urinary incontinence is the primary reason you’d need to get your elderly an adult diaper. Urinary incontinence is basically the inability to control one’s bladder, leading to involuntary urine passage. The condition is more common in senior citizens due to age-related loss of muscle function, including the muscles that control bladder movements.  

Bowel incontinence is another valid reason to get your elderly folk adult diapers. People with bowel incontinence can no longer control their bowel activity.  

Now, the causes of urinary and bladder incontinence are more or less similar. Besides the age-related loss of muscle control, the two incontinence types can also result from mobility issues due to chronic conditions like osteoarthritis and neurodegenerative disorders like dementia. 

  1. Choose Between Disposable and Reusable Diapers 

Like infant diapers, incontinence briefs can be disposable or reusable. Cost considerations usually determine the choice between the two types.  

Disposable adult diapers are cheaper in the short run. Such briefs are recommended for senior citizens dealing with acute but short-term incontinence issues.  

Reusable adult diapers, on the other hand, are more affordable in the long run. These diapers are designed in the shape of regular underwear. Most are machine-washable too. 

  1. Establish the Leakage Condition  

The amount of leakage a person produces in an average day determines the type of adult diapers they can use. People who produce more leakage would need diapers designed with a thicker urine-absorbing layer.  

However, remember that this tip doesn’t necessarily apply to bowel incontinence. It also doesn’t apply to senior citizens with erratic lifestyle habits.

  1. Go For Comfortable Diapers  

Adult diapers are worn closer to the body, so they need to be remarkably comfortable. Therefore, endeavor to get your elderly a well-fitting diaper.  

An overly tight incontinence brief can pinch the skin and cause rashes. On the other hand, too loose diapers may cause urine leakage.  

But size alone doesn’t determine the comfort levels of incontinence briefs. The diapers should also be made from breathable fabric. This promotes free airflow to the skin, thereby preventing odors and irritation.

  1. Check the Absorbency Levels 

Absorbency rating is another crucial consideration when shopping for adult diapers. The good news is that incontinence briefs come in varying absorbency levels. Some adult diapers can absorb a few hundred milliliters. Others can hold up to several liters of fluids.  

The conventional wisdom is to buy incontinence briefs of different absorbency levels, especially when shopping for reusable diapers. Briefs with lower absorbency levels can be worn during the day, while those with high absorbency can be worn overnight or during long trips.  

You might consider purchasing booster pads if you can’t find a high-absorbent adult diaper. Booster pads are designed to provide additional absorbency. They’re typically worn inside incontinence briefs. 

  1. Give Some Thought to the Material 

The material an adult diaper is made of effects the product’s absorbency, breathability, and comfort levels.  

Initially, most incontinence briefs were made from plastic-backed materials for increased fluid retention. However, many manufacturers have since replaced plastic with a cloth.  

Cloth-backed diapers may not be 100% leak-proof. But they’re incredibly comfortable and easier on the skin. Besides, cloth-backed diapers are remarkably breathable. Therefore, they present lower risks of discomfort and skin rash than their plastic-backed counterparts. 

  1. Don’t Forget the Brand 

There are hundreds of adult diaper brands out there. But as you might expect, not all these manufacturers deal in premium-quality products.  

A rule of thumb is to buy incontinence briefs from brands that have been around for a reasonably long duration (5+ years). You should also read a few reviews from the company’s past clients for a glimpse into the quality of their products. 

Lastly, beware of brands or retailers whose incontinence briefs are suspiciously cheap. Remember that cheap can be expensive in the long run. 


To most people, adult diapers are not high-involving purchases. However, it’s important to bear certain things in mind while shopping for these products. We hope you can use this article as your guide the next time you look for incontinence briefs for your elderly folk. 


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