Talking to Your Senior Parent About Continence Issues
Incontinence is a common issue among seniors. Health Canada estimates that 1 in 5 Canadian senior adults experience some form of bladder control issues, so it shouldn’t be a big surprise if you discover that your elderly parents are experiencing incontinence. It is important to speak with your parents about this topic, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you discuss incontinence with your parents. To download the full guide, please click here.
Step 1: Identifying Incontinence
Incontinence can be a touchy subject, so it isn’t surprising that your Mom or Dad may not want to come to you with this issue. This is why it is important for you to make observations about your parent’s living environment. There are signs to look for that may indicate your parent is struggling with incontinence, including:
the scent of urine in places it shouldn’t be,
heavily soiled clothing, and
packages of feminie hygiene products that your parents wouldn’t otherwise need (for men, or for women who have passed menopause).
For the full list of things to observe, please download the complete guide.
Step 2: Get Prepared
The more you know about incontinence, the better you can help. Do some research about incontinence, including the different types and products for the management of incontinence. You can also read Healthwick’s Guide to Managing Incontinence for more insight and guidance on what you should do next.
Step 3: Start the Conversation
This may be a difficult conversation to start. Remember; this is an uncomfortable and possibly embarrassing subject for both of you. Make sure you have this discussion in a private and quiet area where you both feel you can talk comfortably and freely.
If you have siblings, you may want to give them a heads up. Let them know you’re going to have an important health conversation with your parent.
Throughout the conversation, be as direct as possible, but show compassion and understanding. This probably isn’t an easy discussion for them, so try to make it as comfortable as possible.
Step 4: Overcome Objections
Some people may be relieved that you’ve brought this subject up and are offering assistance. It may have been something they have struggled with for a while, and they will welcome the help. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with everyone, as we are all different. Your parents may not want to discuss this topic at all, and will put up objections to taking any steps.
Download our complete guide to see common objections your Mom or Dad may have, and how to overcome them.
If your parent pushes back or is highly resistant, you should consider that this may not be the right time to have this discussion. Let your Mom or Dad know that you’re here to help them when they need it, and give them some time to digest. Try to bring up the subject again another time, after they have had time to think about it.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you discover your parent is struggling with incontinence, you’re going to look for a way to help. Here is a list of a few ways you may be able to provide assistance and navigate through this issue:
Research incontinence - Look at the different types, potential treatments, and some popular management options that are on the market. The Canadian Continence Foundation is a great resource.
Order samples - The best way to find a product that works for your loved one is to try samples of products. At Healthwick, we have a huge selection of free samples for your Mom or Dad to try.
Speak to an expert and ask questions - There are great resources available to help you. You can ask a doctor or registered hearse practitioner questions about incontinence, and they may be able to provide you with more information. Many hospitals offer Continence Clinics where you and your loved ones can speak with a Nurse Continence Advisor who specializes in urinary and bowel incontinence.
You can also call us here at Healthwick. Our knowledgeable customer service team are great at what they do, and will be able to help you find products that suit your parent’s needs. We’re always happy to help! You can contact us here.
We hope that this article will help you better discuss continence issues with your parent. You can also download our full free Guide to Talking to Your Loved One About Incontinence. You also might want to check out Healthwick’s Guide to Managing Incontinence for more information and advice.
We hope this helps! Take care.
- Amy C