As seen in Healthy Living- Niagara this Week, Spring 2014 Issue.
If your elderly
parent is withdrawing from family events and social situations, the silent
embarrassment of incontinence may be the problem.
She hasn’t left her house more than ten times
in the past 2 years, she tells me. She even missed her grandson’s wedding last summer,
rather than risk it.
The “it” she’s referring to is having an
incontinent episode; a leak of urine or feces while in a public location. The
fear of such an embarrassing situation has kept this 80-something shut in at
her one bedroom condo, relying on her daughter and her kind neighbours to
deliver almost everything she needs – groceries, prescriptions, and even
picking out birthday cards for her 3 great-grandchildren, which she mails
religiously on time.
It’s the kind of heart-breaking story I hear
too often working in a call center for a national direct-to-home retailer of
adult incontinence products.
Although incontinence is a very common problem,
(the Canadian Continence Foundation estimates that more than 3 million
Canadians are affected), people are often too embarrassed to discuss it with
family or physicians. They’re frequently also too embarrassed to shop the
“specialty” aisle at their local pharmacy, often relying on low-absorbency feminine
hygiene products or DIY solutions that aren’t effective, and make the fear of
If you suspect your parent is withdrawing from
the world because of a fear of incontinent episodes, there are things you can
do to help:
1) Have an open and gentle talk. Many of my
customers have said they feel relieved when their adult children bring the
subject up for them.
with their doctor. Incontinence can be the symptom of many conditions, some
of which can be improved or resolved completely.
your options. Adult incontinence products have come a long way from the
cloth “diapers” of old. Today’s products are super absorbent and designed to
prevent leaks in active adults. Look to online retailers for a wider range of
sizes, styles and absorbencies than are found in pharmacies and big box stores,
as well as discreet home delivery for your parent.
In the case of my caller, we were able to find
her a product that eliminated leaks, and she was confidently looking forward to
visiting family at Easter.