How do you not embarrass your loved one when talking about this difficult topic?
Talking about incontinence with a loved one can be uncomfortable at first for everyone. To help them feel more comfortable, let them know they're not alone. Leaks are common and that can manage their leakage with the right absorbent undergarments. Protective hygiene products are a regular part of daily hygiene for many people, as common as brushing teeth or applying deodorant.
EASE INTO THE CONVERSATION
Incontinence is not a word everyone is familiar with or comfortable using right away. In the beginning of discussions, use phrases like loss of bladder control or bladder leaks to describe incontinence, or ask if they wear pads for bladder leakage. Pay close attention to their responses and use the same language as they do to describe incontinence. Always be mindful of their feelings, and empathize with their experiences whenever you can. Don't blame them for not taking action or seeking treatment. Individuals will be more open to discussion if they feel understood and respected.
ASSURE THEM IT'S COMMON
Tell them that incontinence is not a disease. It's a symptom that affects 25 million Americans, particularly in the senior population. In fact, as many as 1 in 4 women experience bladder leaks. Some people may feel embarrassed or ashamed, so emphasize that they are not alone. You may even want to introduce them to online forums and communities for those living with incontinence. Fostering a sense of community and belonging can help them accept incontinence and seek treatment.
PROVIDE THEM WITH SOLUTIONS
The goal is to properly manage incontinence, so keep the conversation solutions-focused. Encourage them to visit a physician, who can properly assess their incontinence and provide the best solutions. Remind them that you are there to support them every step of the way and that, ultimately, anyone can live a full life with proper incontinence management.
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Source: Prevail eNurse Team.
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