The Often Avoided Topic of Incontinence

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The Often Avoided Topic of Incontinence

Your parents have always been the ones you would go to for advice or opinions, and you probably felt comfortable discussing almost any subject. You’ve asked them about relationships, careers, and raising children. But what happens when you become the caregiver and you need to discuss something that isn’t so comfortable for either of you?

Issues of incontinence are never a conversation topic that anyone looks forward to discussing, especially when it involves a parent and their adult child. Although incontinence is a serious concern, talking about it may cause embarrassment or feelings of guilt for both parties. If you provide care for an aging parent at home, the following suggestions may be helpful in easing your approach and alleviating some of the awkwardness associated with the topic.

The first thing to do is to avoid denying the issue. A caregiver or parent may choose to deny the problem or make excuses for it. However, it is important to acknowledge that incontinence may be an issue. By doing so, you are taking the first step in helping each other through this process. Denial will only cause more negative feelings for your parent, and may even lead to further health complications if the problem is not addressed.

When discussing the issue of incontinence, it also helps to put yourself in your parent’s position. While the problem may be frustrating or annoying, it is important to realize that for your parent, it also represents a sense of loss, in terms of both control and independence. Do your best to remain support and provide encouragement.

While honesty is usually appreciated, preserving your loved one’s dignity in doing so is of the utmost importance. For instance, a great way to address your feelings could be something along the lines of, “Dad, I know this isn’t easy for us to talk about, but I’m worried about your health. We’re in this together; let’s see what we can figure out.”

Starting the conversation about incontinence and other personal care issues is one of the more difficult challenges you will face when providing care for an aging loved one. However, once you both defeat this initial barrier, it will be easier to find a solution and to provide your loved one with the care that he or she needs and deserves.

If your aging loved one needs help with personal care and you are unable to provide assistance, contact Home Care Assistance. We provide hourly and 24 hour home care in Naples which can include assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming and incontinence. Our highly trained caregivers ensure the client is always safe and always deliver care with the utmost dignity and respect. Call 239-449-4701 for more information and schedule a free, in-home consultation with a Care Manager.


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