Is it any surprise that seniors diagnosed with incontinence as a result of a medical illness or disease frequently dispute their incontinence and refuse to use protection, even in the face of evidence?
Well, this is because, for both elderly parents and their adult children, bladder, or bowel incontinence, is a delicate and humiliating topic. Many seniors ignore this new development and go about their daily lives, but this blind-eyed approach often brings greater attention to the situation.
However, because the idea of an adult in diapers is not one that most people can accept for themselves or their spouse, approaching your parents with compassion is necessary. They are most likely already frustrated by their inability to use the restroom before an accident occurs. They are probably even more humiliated at the thought of other people, particularly their children, being aware of their situation.
There are ways to support a loved one dealing with this issue, but it requires patience, empathy, and a dedication to maintaining your loved one’s dignity.
Tip 1: Maintain their dignity
It is possible to make adults suffering from incontinence see reason while preserving their dignity. When dealing with such a sensitive subject, caregivers need to consider their word choices carefully. The word “diaper” is often recognized as offensive to seniors, just like any other adult, and with good cause. People use this term to describe infants or toddlers who have not yet been potty-trained. What adult would welcome the term if it were used to them?
Our word choices and tone may not seem significant, but communicating and giving care in ways that make our loved ones feel dignified can make all the difference when it comes to encouraging collaboration and increasing self-esteem. Use age-appropriate terminology like briefs, pads, underwear, or pull-ups when referring to incontinence products.
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Tip 2: Determine the root of the incontinence
Understand that simply changing the words you use will not solve the problem. When incontinence becomes an issue, even if it is only on occasion, your loved one must consult with their doctor. Something as simple as a urinary tract infection (UTI) or an overactive bladder (OAB) might be the cause, or it could be as a result of a more serious underlying issue such as prostate issues in men or pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in women.
Tip 3: Seek medical advice on diaper alternatives
After determining the type of incontinence your parent is suffering from, their doctor may be able to recommend pelvic floor exercises, minor surgical procedures, and even medications to help manage incontinence symptoms. A urologist’s appointment is also a good idea. Make an appointment with a gastroenterologist for seniors who are experiencing fecal incontinence. Adult briefs and other forms of protection may be unnecessary if the underlying cause of a loved one’s symptoms is identified and treated.
Tip 4: Stubbornness might be rooted in depression
Depression caused by the losses associated with aging may be the source of your older adult’s reluctance to use proper protection. A lack of hygiene is a common symptom of depression. If you suspect your loved one is depressed, you should take them to the doctor. Taking care of one’s body becomes a natural process once one feels better about oneself.
According to the National Association for Incontinence, more than 25 million people in the USA experience bladder leakage daily. Fortunately, most cases of urinary incontinence are treatable or, at the very least, manageable. Remind your elderly parents constantly that they are not alone.
Tip 5: Dementia could be the problem
A dementia screening might be the next step if your loved one’s refusal to participate in the continence care isn’t due to denial, obliviousness, or depression. It makes no difference who tries to reason with them or how they go about doing so. If the cognitive decline is present, a senior may no longer be able to make sound decisions about using incontinence products, changing their clothing, or performing other essential self-care tasks. Make an appointment with your doctor for a full evaluation if you notice new or worsening memory concerns or signs of dementia. Early detection is critical for proper planning and care.
Tip 6: Request assistance from a doctor or a friend
Like many other issues with our aging parents, incontinence might be best addressed by a non-family member, such as a trusted friend or doctor. Why? Because seniors tend to dismiss observations and suggestions from their own family, particularly when they come from an adult child. It may be less embarrassing to discuss the situation with an objective doctor who has seen it all or a friend going through the same difficulties. When their defenses are down, they are more likely to listen.
Incontinence in elderly parents can be pretty hard to deal with. Caregivers need to exercise patience, restraint, and kindness for patients while making firm decisions concerning hygiene. Active support goes a long way in helping them get rid of self-stigmatization.