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9 Tips That Meet The Unique Needs Of Older Ostomates

As we grow older, changes to our bodies can affect how well – or not-so-well – our relationship with our ostomy products can change. Physical changes, like arthritis and reduced vision, and mental changes, like memory impairments and dementia, can signal the need to find different products that make it easier to take care of ostomies.

The good news is that ostomy product manufacturers are constantly refining their products to improve our ostomy care experience. Here’s a helpful list of products that make changing and maintaining pouches easier than ever.

Ostomy Pouches for Arthritis and Reduced Dexterity

If your current 2-piece ostomy system is difficult to use because you're starting to have reduced dexterity, you have lots of options. Adhesive couplings, floating flanges, and according flanges make it easier to attach the pouch to the barrier.

Many 2-piece pouching systems offer a snap-together closure, similar to the way a Tupperware lid snaps onto the container. The motions needed to align and click the barrier ring with the pouch ring can be frustrating and difficult.

A great alternative to snap closures is adhesive couplings, such as the Assura AC Easiflex Standard Wear Skin Barrier (the AC stands for “adhesive coupling”) from Coloplast. Adhesive couplings have larger connection areas and the pouch can be removed independently to allow for more frequent pouch changes.

If you still prefer a snap closure, there’s a floating flange option from Hollister that allows you to put your fingers behind the flange and lift it to meet the pouch coupling. The floating flange is available with New Image Convex or New Image Flat barriers.

Ostomy Products for Reduced Vision

On the other hand, the “click” sound from snap-together closures can be helpful if you have reduced vision and have trouble knowing whether the pouch has been secured to the barrier. For two-piece systems, like the Sensura Mio Click Flat and Sensura Mio Click Convex barriers, click couplings between barrier and pouch give an audible sound when the pieces are secured together. 

Simplifying the process by using a pre-cut, one-piece ostomy system can also give you a sense of security. Several ostomy manufacturers make pre-cut, one-piece systems, such as Hollister’s Premier line, Coloplast’s Assura, Sensura, and Sensura Mio lines, and Convatec’s Esteem+ series.

 If you have reduced vision, please remember the importance of enlisting a caretaker, such as a stoma nurse or family member, to help evaluate skin around the stoma and keep it healthy.

Skin Changes

Keeping peristomal skin (the skin around the stoma) healthy can be challenging as we grow older. Shifts in weight, changing skin tone, and reduced elasticity influence how well barriers adhere to our skin.

Ostomy Products for Wrinkles and Sagging Skin

In a perfect world, our skin would always be smooth and flat, and changing our ostomy appliance would a cinch. In the real world, our skin is as unique as we are. Surgery scars, creases, and wrinkles can make it difficult to get a successful adherence between barrier and skin and prevent leaks.

To create a smoother surface, barrier rings, sheets, and stoma paste can help fill in creases. The three major ostomy supply manufacturers make a variety of skin-filling products, including options that are alcohol- and latex-free. Convatec’s Eakin Cohesive Seal, Coloplast’s Brava Protective Seals, and Hollister’s Adapt Paste are best sellers.

Ostomy Products for Delicate, Dry, or Thin Skin

Pouch changes and leaks can also be harsher on older skin that has become thinner, drier, or more delicate. 

To protect skin when removing a barrier, start with an adhesive remover to loosen the barrier. Coloplast’s Brava Adhesive Remover Spray, Uni-Solve’s Remover Wipes, and Hollister’s Universal Adhesive Remover Wipes are popular choices.

Using a barrier spray or wipe, such as Skin Tac Adhesive Barrier Prep Wipe and 3M Cavilon No-Sting Barrier Film Wipes, before applying the barrier can add another layer of protection. Sprays and wipes create a thin layer on skin that both protect the skin and aid adhesion. Single-packet wipes are also convenient for dropping in your bag for travel or running errands.

Finally, if you have questions about other products for older ostomates, we’re here to help. Reach out to us by calling or texting 415.475.8444, or email.

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