Bringing Up the Subject of Incontinence Products with Your Parents
As uncomfortable as the subject of incontinence products can be to discuss with your parents, it can sometimes be a necessary one. You want them to feel like they still have the independence and dignity they always had, but you also want to be making sure they’re looking after themselves and are as comfortable as possible.
If you are getting ready to bring up this subject, it’s important not to rush it. Do your homework, find out the cause, and consider the following information.
Choose the Right Moment
There is perhaps never going to be the perfect time to discuss incontinence with your parents. However, there is no harm in doing all you can to make the conversation as comfortable as possible.
How you approach the subject can depend on the type of person your parent is. If they like to dabble in a bit of gardening, then consider sitting out with them in their garden while they’re engaged in a task.
If they like going for walks in the park, go with them and discuss the matter when they feel at their best and more relaxed. It also may not hurt to rehearse how you’re going to bring up the subject. The calmer you are, the safer and more comfortable they may feel to talk about any problems they have been having.
Don’t Use the Word Diaper
It might not seem like a big deal to use the word diaper to describe incontinence products for men and women, but it can be tough for a parent to hear. They may already be struggling to deal with a physical or mental disability, and the word diaper may invoke feelings that they are being treated like a baby.
Instead, use more specific terms for any products you believe they could benefit from, such as adult pull-ups and incontinence pads. You may even choose to be more specific with brand names, such as Advance®. If anything, using product names instead of more general terms like ‘adult diapers’ and ‘nappy for adults’ is the most respectful thing you can do for your parents.
Find Out What’s Causing the Incontinence
If you have been alerted to your parent’s incontinence by a carer, friend, family member, or you’ve noticed it yourself, it’s important to find out what’s causing it. A trip to the doctor could be in order, for it could indicate something straightforward or serious.
Simple problems like urinary tract infections and overactive bladders can be treated, which means your loved one may not even need to wear incontinence products.
However, a doctor may also diagnose something more serious like pelvic organ prolapse in women and prostate issues in men. These conditions can require a doctor’s treatment and advice, and sometimes even exercises and surgery to alleviate the problem.
For issues such as faecal incontinence, making an appointment for your parent with a gastroenterologist may be an excellent place to start. Once you’ve established the cause of the problem, you can focus on the most appropriate incontinence products to help short-term or long-term, such as adult pull-ups and incontinence wipes.
Find Out Why They Don’t Want to Wear Them
If your parent has an incontinence problem but hasn’t done anything about it, find out why. There is no shame in wearing adult incontinence products, so it may help for you to discover what’s holding them back or why they are unaware of what’s happening to them.
For some aging people, diminished sight or smell – or both – is to blame. They may not know they have had an accident because they can’t see or smell it.
If their sight and sense of smell are fine, consider whether depression may be a viable reason. This may stand out to you if you notice they are not as social as they used to be, lack interest in their personal care, and no longer seem like themselves.
If depression, denial, and obliviousness are not factors in your loved one’s incontinence, dementia might be. An older adult in cognitive decline may not realize what’s happening and may not be able to make sound decisions about wearing incontinence products. In this instance, it might be time to make an appointment for a complete evaluation with a medical professional.
Ask Someone Else to Step In
Some people may not want to talk about their incontinence problems with their children, and that’s okay. If you suspect that to be the case, talk to someone who isn’t in the family who feels comfortable broaching the subject with your parent(s). This person could be a doctor or even a trusted friend who has a close relationship with them.
It may also be less embarrassing for your mother or father to discuss their problems with someone who is objective or dealing with the same issues as them. With their defences lowered, they may be more amicable to the idea of continence care products without you having to intervene.
Show Them Some Products
If you have managed to make significant headway with your parents about their incontinence problems, take it one step further.
Find a website that offers products, look at reviews, and even watch product videos. Finally, you can arrange for some free samples to be delivered so they can find out what works for them.
However, even if you have made headway with making your parents comfortable about this discussion topic, don’t be too invasive of their privacy while chatting about their options with them.
Sometimes, you can be helpful just by leaving some brochures or a website link with them so they can explore it in their own time and make their purchases privately.
Be Patient and Purchase
You can’t force an aging family member to wear pads for incontinence, even if it’s going to improve their way of life. If they are still of sound mind, it is their choice to make.
In the meantime, it’s essential to be patient. Consider purchasing a few different products for them based on their needs and provide gentle encouragement. All they may need is time.