Incontinence is one of the most common disorders among seniors with over 15% to 35% of older adults dealing with some form of incontinence. However, older adults can use supplies to help manage the discomfort associated with bladder and fecal incontinence.
- Seniors can access free or low-cost incontinence supplies through Medicaid programs, community resources, and non-profit organizations.
- Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, Medicare Advantage plans and local/state assistance programs provide financial aid for seniors in need of incontinence supplies.
- Product companies, insurance coverage, and healthcare professionals can help older adults find the right products to suit their needs & budget.
The costs associated with managing incontinence — from absorbent products such as pads and adult diapers to additional laundry, to skin care products — can add up quickly, often turning this personal struggle into an economic one.
In today’s guide, we’ll explore different sources that offer free incontinence supplies for seniors and what you should know about them.
How Much Do Adult Diapers for Seniors Cost?
Ideally, the cost of diapers and briefs for seniors may start from $150 to $200 and up to around $400.
However, the exact costs can vary depending on several factors, such as location, medical need, brand used, etc.
These expensive supplies can be a major financial burden, especially for seniors already paying for other medical supplies.
Luckily, many states are already lowering the sales tax on supplies to reduce the overall costs of incontinence products.
Types of Incontinence Products for Seniors
Incontinence comes in various types (urinary, bowel, or both), and it also has multiple factors and associated conditions.
While these factors may vary, incontinence management supplies are usually the same for all of them.
If you or a loved one is suffering from incontinence, there are various solutions. Besides medications, products to manage incontinence include:
- Absorbent adult diapers and pads
- Protective underwear and pull-ups
- Bladder support supplements
- Mattress protectors/liners
- Skincare/ topical hygiene products
- Pelvic floor stimulation products
What Are the Available Options to Get Incontinence Products for Free?
Luckily, there’s a wide variety of options for qualifying for free incontinence items like adult diapers, bladder control pads, and other incontinence care. This section will provide you with a brief overview of each one.
Medicaid is one of the most popular providers of free incontinence items. However, Medicaid is a joint Federal/State program, so the specific conditions regarding the supplies may vary from one state to another.
This doesn’t only include the variety of free incontinence products available, but the level of coverage as well.
Currently, the vast majority of states offer some coverage for incontinence supplies, but not all states do. You must also qualify for Medicaid coverage depending on the eligibility regulations that also vary by state.
Medicaid eligibility terms typically include aspects like having low income, being elderly, and being institutionalized (in a hospital or care home).
Other essential requirements to qualify for free senior incontinence supplies by Medicaid include:
- Enrolling in Medicaid
- Getting an incontinence diagnosis by a qualified healthcare professional
- Presenting a doctor’s order (prescription) or a certificate of medical necessity that includes the covered supplies
To find out if you are eligible for free incontinence supplies through your state’s Medicaid program, you should contact your local Area Agency on Aging or Medicaid office. This will help you get the exact information per your state.
You can also do this online by choosing your state in the Contact section on the Medicaid official website.
Your local pharmacy and Medicaid-covered institutions in your state can also be valuable sources of information regarding free or low-cost incontinence supplies.
Adult Diaper Banks
Diaper banks are non-profit organizations dedicated to providing low-income individuals and families with incontinence supplies for free or at a reduced cost.
These institutions collect diapers and other incontinence supplies from a variety of sources, including discounted purchases and/or donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations.
Some diaper banks will have a dedicated branch for senior citizens in need. Still, like Medicaid, you’ll also need to qualify for these supplies through eligibility requirements that vary from one organization/state to another.
Here’s a helpful directory that includes all the different adult diaper banks by state.
US veterans who are diagnosed with incontinence can get their incontinence supplies covered by health insurance from the Veterans Affairs (VA).
These can also be listed under medical supplies issued by veterans through the administration’s pharmacy service. Of course, you need to be a member of the VA Healthcare program first to qualify.
You’ll also need to have a doctor’s prescription to confirm your diagnosis and medical need for the supplies, in addition to other requirements that might vary depending on your situation.
Remember that the VA might have a standard-issued brand that some people might not prefer. However, for many seniors, they might be able to get coverage for their preferred brands by having a statement of medical justification from a physician.
Veteran-Directed Care Program
This one is a part of the Veterans Home and Community-Based Services program that offers veterans financial assistance with some of their medical and quality-of-life expenses.
The advantage here is that the beneficiary is allowed to spend it on whatever aspects that they deem necessary for their comfort, including their preferred incontinence supplies.
The program still has some regulations and eligibility criteria that the veteran must meet to qualify for financial aid. Services and regulations can also vary by location.
Family Caregiver Support Program
This program is a government-supported program by the Administration for Community Living. It provides grants to caregivers that help senior citizens and aging family members.
These grants may offer assistance to caregivers by covering the expenses of incontinence control products.
The program is also state-dependent. The eligibility criteria and regulations of the program are left for individual states to handle. You can find out more about the program and how to qualify for it through the official website.
The Salvation Army is an international nonprofit organization that offers a variety of charitable services, including donation drives providing a variety of free incontinence supplies to provide assistance for older adults.
Due to the nature of the organization, the offered variety of incontinence supplies may vary from one place to another.
The regulations and requirements to get the products are typically not as strict as other resources. You can also find the nearest Salvation Army branch to you using this Location Search tool.
Local Senior Health Centers and Senior Care Programs
Community centers where seniors can participate in activities (also known as senior centers) such as socializing with others, meals, learning skills, or receiving much-needed care are also a resource for low-cost incontinence products.
Some senior centers may also offer essential supplies and medications for a reduced cost or even for free through donations, including incontinence supplies.
Luckily, there are over 15,000 senior centers scattered across America, so it’s typically easy to find local communities.
You can use the Senior Center Directory to get information about open senior centers in your area.
Another good way to find out more about local organizations that offer free incontinence supplies where you live is by contacting your local Area Agency on Aging through Eldercare Locator.
Chronic Illness Care Organizations
Incontinence in seniors is associated with several chronic aging-related conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, chronic heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
For that reason, many Federal and local organizations that offer assistance for these conditions may also provide senior incontinence products for free or at a reduced cost.
To inquire about offered supplies, and community-based services, you should contact the support department in local branches of these organizations, such as:
- American Cancer Society
- American Heart Association
- American Parkinson’s Disease Association
- Dementia Society of America
- Alzheimer’s Association
Other Options for Reduced-Cost Incontinence Supplies for Seniors
While there are several methods to get free incontinence supplies for seniors, you can also find these items at a heavily reduced cost through several methods and sources, including:
- Free and heavily discounted incontinence supplies for seniors directly from the manufacturer through coupons.
- Bulk purchases by large senior communities heavily reduce the final cost, compared to buying individually.
- Discount prescription drug cards that cover incontinence supplies. You can inquire about their availability through local pharmacies.
Tips for Finding the Right Incontinence Supplies
Finding the right incontinence supplies for seniors involves researching product reviews, understanding insurance coverage, and seeking help from healthcare professionals.
Knowing the type and level of incontinence and selecting the appropriate products based on frequency and leakage type is essential for effective management.
Make sure to request free samples when you visit your healthcare providers. This is one way to determine the appropriate size and absorbency level of the incontinence supplies needed.
In addition to consulting professionals, people can also take advantage of adult diaper companies offering free samples or coupons to try out different products before committing to a specific brand.
We found offers for closeout deals, which include free shipping, free adult diaper samples, discounts, and/or coupons on the following incontinence products websites:
- Tena– Products for Men, Women, Unisex, and skin care
- Depend– Men’s and Women’s urinary incontinence products
- Simply Medical– Incontinence products, medical supplies, personal care products, and more
- Carewell– a variety of caregiving products including leading preferred brands of adult diapers, absorbent products, bed pads, and much more. Orders more than $49 are shipped free.
If you shop online for incontinence supplies, you may see additional savings, as some retailers offer discounts, bulk online purchase options, adult diaper coupons, and discreet packaging.
In Summary: Resources for Free or Reduced-Cost Supplies
Here’s the million-dollar question: where can we find free incontinence supplies for seniors? Brace yourselves for a pleasant surprise!
- Medicare/Medicaid: Although the coverage isn’t universal, some states do offer incontinence supplies through Medicaid. And although Medicare doesn’t typically cover these costs, some Medicare Advantage Plans do. Remember, it’s always best to check with your program.
- Free Adult Diapers and Samples: Some manufacturers have a heart, offering samples of their incontinence supplies. It’s not just about freebies; it’s about finding the perfect match in product and fit for your loved one’s needs.
- Non-profits to the Rescue: Organizations like the National Association for Continence provide resources and can be a beacon of hope for those in need.
- Local Support: Don’t underestimate your local agencies and charities. Senior centers, AAAs, or even your local church may have programs offering incontinence supplies.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are eligible, you can qualify for free incontinence pads through local senior health centers, Medicaid, Free Diapers Coupons, or loyalty programs. Taking advantage of these options is an effective way to get the supplies you need.
Medicare does not cover incontinence supplies or adult diapers. This means that under Original Medicare, you are responsible for paying 100% of the costs for these supplies. Medicaid, however, may cover some supplies. Start by checking if the individual’s state Medicaid program covers incontinence supplies as some states do offer financial assistance for these items. There are numerous organizations that provide discounted or free incontinence products, and supplies for those with financial needs.
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of Depends (adult diapers), which means you will have to pay out-of-pocket for them. In some instances, a doctor may be able to write a prescription for certain types of incontinence supplies or a particular brand and Medicare Advantage Plans MAY cover the cost if specific criteria are met.
Depending on the severity of your incontinence, you may need between one and four incontinence pads per day. For mild incontinence, one or two pads usually suffice. More severe cases often require four or more.
Absolutely! Reusable incontinence underwear and bed pads are great for the environment and can be more cost-effective in the long run.
Incontinence supplies can be tax deductible. According to the IRS guidelines, you must first show that these supplies were used to relieve the effect of a disease before including them. Incontinence supplies are usually an eligible expense for reimbursement through your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) if you have a doctor’s prescription explaining their medical necessity.
Amie Clark, BSW
Aging Advocate and Senior Care Expert
Amie has worked with older adults and their families for the past twenty-plus years of her career. Her senior care knowledge is based on her experience as a social worker, family caregiver, and senior care consultant. Learn more about Amie here.