Because it can be such a complicated issue, incontinence is something that you and your elderly family member might try to avoid even talking about much less managing in any way. But incontinence is something that you and your aging family member need to talk about and put plans in place to handle.
Avoid Talking about Incontinence Too Much
There’s more going on in your senior’s life and spending too much time and energy talking about incontinence is likely to exacerbate her feeling self-conscious. That doesn’t mean that either of you should ignore the conversation completely. When you do talk about incontinence, deal with it matter-of-factly, without putting too much emphasis on anything embarrassing.
Clear a Path to the Bathroom
The easier it is for your senior to access the bathroom, the better. She needs to be able to get to the bathroom quickly and without dodging obstacles. If your elderly family member is experiencing cognitive changes, a sudden urge to go to the bathroom can short circuit her thinking a bit. Signs can help, even if you don’t think that they will at first. Anything that helps your elderly family member to get to the bathroom when she needs it the most is helpful.
Reconsider Your Senior’s Wardrobe
Your elderly family member’s wardrobe might not be as conducive to rapid bathroom trips as it used to be. She may find that it’s a struggle to do battle with buttons, zippers, and other fasteners when she’s in a hurry. Other problems, like arthritis, can even make that battle impossible for her to win on time. Finding other options, like elastic waists, drawstring closures, and more, can be a crucial part of helping her to maintain her dignity while dealing with incontinence.
Give a Variety of Incontinence Tools a Trial Run
There’s more than one type of incontinence product out there and each of them meets different needs. Your elderly family member may have a rigid view of what incontinence products are and do, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have other options. Help her to explore a bit and to find the products that are most likely to work for her.
It’s difficult to be there every time your senior needs you. Other obligations may take you away for hours at a time and that’s frustrating. Elderly care providers might be the answer that you and your elderly family member both need. They can help to make sure that your elderly family member isn’t dehydrating herself and that she has help when she needs it the most.