Tips for Recognizing, Discussing, and Managing Incontinent Loved Ones
How to spot the signs of incontinence
You need to be on the lookout for the signs of incontinence, once you notice it once. It is likely that your loved one is going to try and keep it secret from you, as they are embarrassed. Here is a list of things you should check:
Unusual smells in the room
Lack of physical exercise
No social interest and your loved one does not like visitors
How to talk about the problem
Once you have determined that your loved one suffers from incontinence, try and discuss the problem with them. They will not start the conversation, and you need to be as understanding as possible.
Try and seek medical assessment and advice, before you would start thinking about possible solutions. After the health professional has given you some options, sit down with your relative and listen to them, which one they would prefer. If they are able to move, and would like to take care of washing and changing themselves, you should grant them the opportunity.
Effective Communication about Incontinence
You need to be understanding with your loved one when you are talking about incontinence. You should appreciate their concerns and worries, and assure then that you will help them deal with the situation.
Don’t wait until they start talking. This is a sensitive topic, and patients usually feel embarrassed about their condition.
Don’t try to ignore the issues, and don’t let your loved one do the same. They might try and hide their condition for a while, but if they realize that you understand them, they will open up.
Sit down and talk about their preferences. They might want to have more privacy or change themselves: if they are able to do it, let them.
Look after yourself
This will enable you to look after yourself, as well as your loved one. Being a caregiver can sometimes be a daunting task, and you might feel that you have not private life. You can take time out and find a day care center for your loved one once or twice a week. They will get the opportunity to socialize, and you will also have some space to breathe and refill your energy reserves. This will also reduce the level of stress and pressure, associated with being a full time caregiver.
Tips from other caregivers to help you deal with incontinence
We have collected a number of tips from caregivers, so you can find out how you can help your loved one.
- You can ask for help. Your friends, family and the health visitor will be able to take you through the steps and you will feel that you are not alone. You need to ask your family to contribute towards the housework and your friends to give you relevant advice.
- If you are not taking your caregiving job too seriously, you can create a better atmosphere and living environment for your loved one and yourself. Use humor to overcome difficulties.
- Try to avoid getting angry. You will upset your loved one, and they will start feeling guilt. You need to remember that they are depending on you, but they never wanted this situation to occur.
- You can write down your thoughts instead of saying something to your loved one, you might later regret.
- You need to take care of yourself, too. You might have an increased workload at home, as a caregiver, but who is going to look after your relative, if you fall ill?
- You are allowed to take a break. You need to find time to socialize or take part in your favorite activities, to refill your energy resources.
- You will need fresh air, even if your loved one is bedridden. You can still take them out for a walk, don’t let the housework hold you back.
- You need some me time, and you can ask for help. Do your nails, have a long bath, to be able to relax.
- You can join a community where people understand your achievement and appreciate the care you are providing for your loved one.
- There might be some professional centers where you can get help for free. If you are stuck with any element of providing care, ask for support.
- You might have decided to quit work to become a full time caregiver, and you might be entitled to financial help and support. Check organizations for advice.
- The more you learn about providing care for incontinence patients, the easier your job can be. You might want to discuss your options with professionals and other caregivers.
Living a healthy lifestyle can help you deal with everyday stress. You need to make sure that you are consuming fresh fruit and vegetables, go for a walk, get fresh air, not only for yourself, but your loved one as well.
You also need to organize some private “me time”, no matter how busy you are with the chores. If your loved one needs 24 hour supervision, ask a relative to help you. You need to socialize, relax and pamper yourself.
You can also ask for help. Know that you are not alone. Although you are the main care provider of your relative, you can still ask others to get the shopping done, hang out the clothes or give you a ride. If you have to go out, ask others to supervise your loved one.