One of the most frustrating and embarrassing situations for a senior are incontinence issues.
If your elder has gotten to the point where they can no longer control their bowels or bladder, they (as well as you) will likely find themselves in very embarrassing situations. In many cases, the elder will be in a frail state and will need assistance cleaning up the mess. These situations can be devastating to them, regardless of whom they are with or around when they occur. But when it’s a child that is involved, it can be excruciating for the elder because they are the one that was self sufficient and parented you over the years.
Do you know the five types of urinary incontinence? Read about them here: Understanding The 5 Types Of Urinary Incontinence
Strategies To Help Reduce Elderly Incontinence Embarrassment Issues
Here are ten strategies to help you and your elder deal with the embarrassment that can accompany incontinence:
1. By all means, never use the word “diaper” around your elder
The word is associated with infancy and helplessness. No matter how bad the situation is, your elder is an adult and deserves to be treated as such. Never treat them as if they were a child because that will really hurt them emotionally. Refer to these products as pads, shields, or even underwear.
2. Change and clean your elder in a bathroom.
Have them hold onto a sink for support. Avoid facing them if at all possible as it will help lessen the embarrassment.
3. Be nonchalant
Look at this situation as simply another chore that needs to be done in the care of your elder. Make your elder feel that the incontinence issue is no big deal – it’s just like making their bed. This will help reduce the embarrassment as well as reduce the feeling you are being put out.
4. Always demonstrate a casual attitude
Never get upset with your elder. If your elder shows signs of embarrassment due to an instance of incontinence, be sure to reassure them with kind words. Even if it’s your worst fear, don’t let them know this. A little white lie can go a long way in making the situation much more tolerable for your elder.
5. Offer support to your elder if they continually feel embarrassed.
Simply let them know how uncomfortable it must be for them, but always come across in a casual fashion.
6. Give your elder as much privacy as possible
If there are other members in the home, be sure to shut the door and close the curtains anytime you and your elder are in the bathroom. And remember – voices carry, so be sure to speak in a soft voice, or as some would call it, be a low talker.
7. Be sure to preserve your elder’s privacy and dignity
Never discuss their incontinence issues with them or in front of others.
8. Don’t be afraid to get emotional help for yourself
Care giver support groups can be a huge help if your elder has just recently begun having incontinence issues that you are now having to deal with.
9. Build up a sense of humor
Make light of the situation to yourself. Humor can really be a big help to you in getting through these situations.
10. If all else fails….
If dealing with these issues are more than you can handle, or you’ve gotten to the point you simply aren’t able to deal with them any longer, you may want to consider placing your elder in an assisted care facility.
Dealing With Elder Incontinence Is Not Easy For The Caregiver
Elderly incontinence issues is usually the number one issue that punches a ticket to an assisted care facility. The issue is often more than a caregiver can deal with. While it’s never an easy situation, I hope that you’ve found these 10 strategies helpful. By utilizing them, you may find that it’s a bit easier to deal with the situation an that you may be able to hold off on moving your elder into a long term care facility. While this can be one of the most difficult and stressful situations that you’ll run into while being the caregiver for your elder, incontinence is one that can eventually be looked upon as just another daily task.