Caring for someone with incontinence
Caring for someone with incontinenceis no easy task! When you are taking care of someone and suddenly they see themselves in the need of diapers, bed pads, briefs or any other incontinence product, it can turn into a complicated situation. Coping with the loss sphincter control can be really hard to accept. Those of us who have been close to someone in that situation can truly understand the frustration someone feels when wearing diapers and even more to have someone have to pull them up and down, clean you, and dressing you back up.
There are ways you can help someone cope with that change. You must have patience and understand that your loved one will go through frustration and anger. By no means should you take any of that personal.
Here are a few tips and important things you must keep in mind when you are caring for someone with incontinence:
1. First time incontinence: If your loved one has never had any type of incontinence it is important that you consult with the physician and get a physical examination in full speed to understand why it is happening. Although incontinence can appear due to old age, it can also happen for specific conditions that may be controlled and cured.
2. Be prepared: If your loved one suffers from any type of incontinence make sure that every time you leave the house you pack a bag with briefs, pads, wipes a new change of clothes. People with incontinence will turn into hermits because they are afraid to leave the house due to their problem. Never allow that to happen.
3. Easy access clothing: By having them wear clothes that are easily pulled down, you will help your loved one experience less accidents as they will be able to make use of the toilet much faster. Easy off garments will make it easier as well to re-dress your loved in case it is necessary. Remember on the other hand that if you love one has dementia, they are prone to remove their clothes anywhere, anytime and that this might be the only condition that will require clothes that are not so easily removed.
4. Appropriate Diet: There are some foods and certain drinks that will worsen incontinence. Things that should be excluded from your loved one’s diet are coffee, tea, chocolate, excess in fruit, spicy food, and sodas.
5. Empathy before anything else: It has been proven that one of the most stressing health situations that people go through is incontinence. You must learn to approach your loved one with love, tact, understanding and patience. With enough empathy you will be able to bring down the stress levels.
6. “As a matter of fact”: Have you heard of that approach? It is a good way to show empathy but also to help your loved one understand they are not the only ones going through the situation. Care professionals implement this approach to help the client overcome the shyness or embarrassment they feel after having an accident. You can say something like “I’m sorry you had an accident, but don’t you worry! As a matter of fact it happens to so many people you would be surprised. We will have you cleaned up in no time”
7. Ask for help or accept it when offered: Not every caregiver has the ability to deal with the incontinence issue. My grandma for example had a very hard time cleaning my grandpa after using the toilet or getting his diaper dirty. But we offered help, and she took it. Your loved one needs to be clean so call someone if you need help in that area. Do not feel less of a caregiver if you are unable to handle that part, but make sure you have someone always available to take care of it for you.