WHAT CAREGIVERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ADULT INCONTINENCE · Parkinson's Resource Organization

WHAT CAREGIVERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ADULT INCONTINENCE

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WHAT CAREGIVERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ADULT INCONTINENCE

By Angel Westerman, CEO, and Owner of Dependable Daughter

An aging individual’s loved ones may be thrown into a caregiver role without any prior training, they often have more questions than answers. 

This is especially true when it comes to bladder and bowel incontinence. It’s often an uncomfortable topic. But it’s something that needs to be addressed to ensure a loved one’s health and quality of life.

A Mistake Many New Caregivers Unknowingly Make – When a loved one starts showing signs of bladder and bowel incontinence, many caregivers run to the nearest drug or big box store. 

They scan the adult incontinence aisle searching for a product that will help their loved one. They read some of the packaging hoping the right solution will magically jump out at them.

Sure, they have questions. But employees don’t have answers. 

The caregiver picks a product and hopes for the best while thinking, “Am I choosing the right adult diapers ?”

For the next few days, the loved one’s bed sheets are wet every morning. And sometimes, while walking around, there are obvious signs the protective underwear is leaking.

Back to the store to find another product. A label boasting “better absorbency” seems like a promising solution.

A couple of days later, the caregiver notices a bad rash. 

Meanwhile, the loved one feels helpless, embarrassed, and at fault.

Rest assured... there is a better way. But first, let’s get to the facts.

Common Myths About Adult Incontinence Products – You don’t have to make a stressful situation even worse by trying to find the right combination of products on your own. Let’s set the record straight about a few things…

Myth: Incontinence Products Are Called “Adult Diapers” – Your loved one deserves dignity. One small—but very meaningful—step involves changing terminology. The term “adult diapers” may seem demeaning. “Protective underwear” or “absorbent briefs” however, allows for a more dignified approach when discussing incontinence with your loved one. 

Myth: All Protective Underwear Has the Potential to Leak – This is simply not true. Choosing the right protective underwear for your loved one’s situation will prevent leaks--even overnight. Higher quality products may cost a little more, but they will save time, embarrassment, and constantly using your washing machine for soiled clothes and linens.

Myth: Skin Breakdown is a Normal Part of Using Protective Underwear – Good protective underwear is absorbent and locks in moisture to keep your loved one’s skin dry. When the skin is exposed to moisture for a period of time, bacteria develops causing sores, rashes, and infections. When urine isn’t absorbed properly, the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) increases. 

Myth: Baby Wipes Work Just Fine for Adults – Baby wipes are designed for...well, babies. As a caregiver will quickly learn, baby wipes may not do the trick when helping an adult struggling with incontinence. Luckily, there are some great cleansing wipes designed specifically for adults. 

Myth: Local Stores Carry Protective Underwear for All Situations – Most protective underwear products found in stores are okay for individuals with light to moderate incontinence. Special protective underwear for heavy incontinence, however, may not be readily available at your local store. 

Incontinence occurs for various reasons. Finding the product that fits your loved one’s unique needs may not be as easy as grabbing something off the shelf of your local store. Get the Products and Support You Need. Aging gracefully starts with caring for your loved one’s basic needs with dignity. 

Dependable Daughter will help you with these issues and more! You can find Angel Westerman and her team in the Wellness Village atParkinsonsResource.org/the-wellness-village/directory/dependable-daughter/ where they have been members since Sept 2020.

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Updated: August 16, 2017