If you and your elderly family member haven’t talked about the issues she’s having with incontinence, the topic may feel larger than life. It’s a big problem, but not talking about incontinence can make the whole situation feel so much bigger and worse than it has to feel.
Get as Much Information as Possible about Incontinence
Lots of people only know that incontinence can be smelly and uncomfortable. You and your senior will benefit greatly if you do some research and learn as much as you can about incontinence and how to manage it. The more informed you both are, the less likely you are going to be embarrassed.
Open a Dialogue with Your Senior’s Doctor
If you haven’t already, it’s time to open up a dialogue with your elderly family member’s doctor about what she’s experiencing. This gives you an opportunity to not only learn more about incontinence in general but also about the specific situations that contribute to your elderly family member’s incontinence. Ask questions and don’t be afraid that anyone is going to laugh or to poke fun.
Talk Openly with Your Senior
After you’ve gathered as much information as possible, it’s time to talk openly with your elderly family member. Put aside the embarrassment you’re feeling and make space to be compassionate about how she’s feeling. Even though neither of you might want to address this topic, it’s important that you do so as carefully as you can. Staying quiet is not going to help, it will just keep everything locked down.
Develop a Plan Together
The point of talking is first to show your elderly family member that you support her and that you’re not too embarrassed to help her. From there, your goal is to develop a plan for managing her incontinence together. Take recommendations from your senior’s doctor and put them together with the other information you’ve learned about incontinence.
Consider Hiring Elderly Care Providers
Something to consider is hiring elderly care providers to help both of you to manage. The reasoning behind this is that often seniors are embarrassed dealing with people they’re close to regarding something so personal as incontinence. It’s ironically sometimes easier to have help from elderly care providers because they are skilled at helping without being obtrusive.
It’s okay if you or your senior still feel embarrassed talking about her incontinence. What’s really important is that you do still talk about it and that you have solutions in place for her.