Most people think of babies when they think of diapers, but infants and toddlers are far from the only people that might need diapers to enjoy a normal life. Adults, especially seniors and people with certain disabilities, can all need diapers depending on the situation.
Some adults are full-time diaper wearers, while others may only need a diaper occasionally or in specific circumstances.
Here’s what you need to know about adult diapers, diapering an adult, and our recommendations of some of the best adult diaper options currently available.
What Will You Need To Change An Adult Diaper?
Changing an adult diaper can be a little more complicated than changing a child’s diaper. That’s partially just because you’re working with a larger diaper, a larger person, and a larger mess. However, other risks come with handling adult human waste that is less of a concern for adults handling infant waste.
That means that you’ll also need a little more protection to change an adult diaper than you’d need to change a baby.
Here’s what we recommend.
Disposable gloves are a must if you have to change an adult diaper. Unfortunately, it’s just harder to avoid the mess with an adult diaper than a baby’s diaper, which means that you’re more likely to get some of it on your hands.
Using disposable gloves helps protect you and the person whose diaper you’re changing from unwanted direct contact, spreading germs and bacteria, and other common risks from diaper changing.
You can use any disposable gloves that are comfortable for you. However, if you choose latex gloves it’s important to make sure the person you’re changing isn’t allergic to latex.
Clean Adult Diaper
If you’re changing an adult diaper, you’ll also need a clean adult diaper to replace it most of the time. It’s usually best to stick to the same brand and size as the first diaper unless you’re changing to help improve their comfort with the process.
A plastic bag is also important for changing diapers since you’ll need to contain the used adult diaper as much as possible. Especially if you’re having to change while in public or anywhere but the adult’s home, it can be embarrassing to try and dispose of the diaper. A plastic bag gives both of you a little more privacy.
Even if you’re changing an adult in the comfort of their home, it’s still best to use a plastic bag to contain the scent and any bacteria contained in the diaper. That way you don’t have to worry about constantly taking out the trash.
Wet wipes are an important part of personal hygiene when it comes to wearing a diaper, no matter how old the person wearing the diaper is. Wet wipes designed for diaper changing are usually best since they are designed to help eliminate common bacteria and contaminants found in diapers without irritating or dehydrating delicate skin.
Barrier Cream (If Needed)
Barrier creams are used to help protect the skin, especially if it’s already dry, chapped, or irritated. That means that applying barrier creams is often an important part of changing an adult diaper.
Make sure you have some on hand, even if the adult you’re changing didn’t need any after their last change. You never know when wearing a diaper might start to irritate their skin or cause a rash.
Positioning Yourself To Change An Adult Diaper
Unlike changing an infant or toddler, it’s important to make sure you’re both well-positioned to change an adult diaper. Since adults are much bigger and heavier than infants and toddlers, you need to have as much access and leverage as possible.
The first step is to wash your hands thoroughly. Next, lay the patient flat on their back. Try to make sure this position is as comfortable as possible for them. Pillows or a more upright position can be used to help make them comfortable but laying down will make the process easier.
If you’re able to use an adjustable bed for diaper changes, it’s best to have them get comfortable and then bring the base of the bed to roughly hip height on you. You can go a little lower if that’s more comfortable. Adjust the head of the bed as close to horizontal as comfortable for the patient.
Changing An Adult Diaper
To actually change an adult diaper is relatively simple, but it can seem like there are a lot of steps involved if you haven’t done it before. Here’s the process, step by step.
Put on Gloves, make sure the gloves are comfortable, and replace them if they tear as you put them on.
Next, you’ll open the soiled diaper tabs. Open the diaper and tuck the side farthest from you under the patient’s hip.
Your patient will need to roll onto their side for the next step. If they can roll on their own, let them, or gently assist if needed.
If you’ve tucked the diaper well, you should be able to pull it out from under the patient at this point. Roll the diaper in your hand as you pull it to help contain any waste.
Use the wet wipes to gently but thoroughly clean your patient. Put the diaper and any used wet wipes into a plastic bag.
Give your patient a little time to dry off. Going immediately into a fresh diaper makes diaper rash and other conditions more likely.
Next, place the new diaper under your patient and fasten it securely. If they are in an adjustable bed, help them adjust it back to a more comfortable position.
Lastly, dispose of all garbage and wash your hands thoroughly.
If sheets or other bedding are soiled during this process they need to be immediately replaced and cleaned.
How Often Should An Adult Diaper Be Changed?
Adult diaper users might not always be aware when their diapers need to be changed, which means it’s important to keep an eye on the diaper to make sure they’re not sitting in waste any longer than necessary.
Checking regularly also helps prevent rashes and keeps your patient more comfortable.
Most adult diaper users will need to change their diaper between 5-8 times per day to stay comfortable and healthy.
Tips For Diapering an Adult
Here are a couple of tips that will make diapering an adult easier.
● Have a good attitude. Diapering an adult isn’t easy for anyone involved, but it will only get harder if they feel embarrassed or like they are a burden on you.
● Use the right size. You’d be amazed how many people try to use a diaper that’s too small or too large. Neither option works. Stick to the right size for their body and change whenever needed.
● It’s easier with help. Especially if the patient can’t roll on their own, you may want another person there to help stabilize them and make the whole process as comfortable as possible.
● Make sure the fit isn’t too tight or loose. Too tight and you might have to start over to get a better fit, too loose, and there’s a risk that the diaper will leak while they’re wearing it.
● Top Tabs face down, Bottom Tabs face up, remembering that will help prevent leaks and avoid putting a diaper on backward.
The Best Diapers for Adults
Tranquility Premium Overnight Pull-Up Underwear
Tranquility Premium Overnight Pull-Up underwear is designed to be a little easier for everyone. This high-capacity underwear can help with overnight incontinence all the way to full bowel and bladder voids, without leaking.
It’s also an odor-eliminating diaper that helps keep you feeling and smelling fresh, even when the diaper is soiled.
One of the best features of this diaper, though, is the wide range of sizes. This diaper is an option for many more adults because they come in a selection from extra small to 2XL, which means there is a good fit for most adult bodies in this brand.
Prevail Pull-Up Underwear
Prevail is another adult diaper that’s designed to look like regular underwear, but that offers high absorbency to the wearer. Since this underwear is designed for day use, it’s also meant to help keep you comfortable and odor and leak-free.
This design is also particularly helpful for people with sensitive skin. The moisture-wicking design helps prevent rashes and skin irritation, which gives you a little more wiggle room if you can’t change your diaper immediately after soiling it.
McKesson Ultra Pull-Up Underwear
The McKesson Ultra Pull-Up Underwear is another pull-up underwear option, but this one is designed for user comfort. It won’t feel like you’re wearing a diaper with this set of underwear, and they stay comfortable longer than other brands.
That means if you don’t need to change your diaper very often, this design will still be comfortable after several hours of use.
The odor guard also helps prevent any unwanted smells from leaking out of the diaper, which makes it great for daily use. It’s very discreet and doesn’t look like you’re wearing a diaper, so you can still go out with friends without anyone realizing you’re in a diaper.