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HOME CARE

Taking on the role of family caregiver is something most of us never think too much about. That role is often thrust upon us by circumstance.

Because family relationships and roles are complicated and have deep emotional history, the first step is to encourage your loved one to seek advice and recommendations from a healthcare provider. This puts the diagnosis into the hands of a professional and can be purely objective. At the same time, you can recognize and support your loved one’s brave decision to seek help. This will serve everyone well once treatment and care options are decided upon. At that time, you and your loved one enter into this new chapter of life together, on the same page.

You will also need to educate yourself about the options, resources, and opportunities available to you. Using this site as your go-to source, you can discover a wealth of information and insight that can help guide you through these uncharted waters, for both you and your loved one.

Part of your education will be to understand and focus on the cause of the symptoms and not just the aftermath. Your physician can help identify the severity of the incontinence as well as recommend which absorbent products best suit your loved one’s needs.

RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS OF INCONTINENCE

If you are here, perhaps you’ve noticed that a family member is showing signs of incontinence and is not able to properly take care of themselves. This can be difficult to come to terms with as you have a lifetime of experiences with this person that don’t match the current situation. It is very common and understandable to experience a sweeping range of emotions. It’s okay to feel sad or confused or even angry. Changes to the way things have always been can be upsetting.

Be sure to seek support among family and friends during this time as you take on a new and possibly unfamiliar role of caregiving. This is not a sign of weakness but a smart, pragmatic step that will help you during times of duress.

Of course, your heart, your focus, and your concern will be centered on your loved one. If he or she has any of the following medical conditions, you should be on alert for incontinence.

Contributors to Incontinence:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Arthritis
  • Central Nervous Disorders
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia
  • Obesity
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Urinary Tract Infections

DISCUSSING INCONTINENCE

Raising the subject of incontinence is not the easiest thing to do. Especially with a family member. What should help set your mind more at ease is that you are coming to this conversation with love and respect. You are concerned and want to help your loved one live their life to the fullest.

It makes sense to find some quiet time when you can be alone with your family member. If it helps, try to think how you might want to be approached if the roles were reversed. Once you have created a calm environment, you can ask the following questions to gauge where they might be in dealing with incontinence:

  • Do you ever have difficulty making it to the bathroom on time?
  • Do you need to urinate more than every 2 hours or more than 8 times a day?
  • Do you need to get up more than once a night to urinate? How often, if ever, do you reach the toilet in time?
  • Do you ever need to wear a pad or something to protect your clothes from leakage?

Many people have had to initiate this conversation with someone they love. Several have shared their stories on the NAFC message boards. By reading how others have approached this situation it can give you some perspective. Perhaps you will uncover something that makes what you’re going through a little easier, a little less scary. And in turn, you might just be able to share your story helping someone else farther down the line.

CARING FOR A LOVED ONE

Raising the subject of incontinence is not the easiest thing to do. Especially with a family member. What should help set your mind more at ease is that you are coming to this conversation with love and respect. You are concerned and want to help your loved one live their life to the fullest.

It makes sense to find some quiet time when you can be alone with your family member. If it helps, try to think how you might want to be approached if the roles were reversed. Once you have created a calm environment, you can ask the following questions to gauge where they might be in dealing with incontinence:

  • Do you ever have difficulty making it to the bathroom on time?
  • Do you need to urinate more than every 2 hours or more than 8 times a day?
  • Do you need to get up more than once a night to urinate? How often, if ever, do you reach the toilet in time?
  • Do you ever need to wear a pad or something to protect your clothes from leakage?

Many people have had to initiate this conversation with someone they love. Several have shared their stories on the NAFC message boards. By reading how others have approached this situation it can give you some perspective. Perhaps you will uncover something that makes what you’re going through a little easier, a little less scary. And in turn, you might just be able to share your story helping someone else farther down the line.

GETTING HELP

It is perfectly normal to think that you can, or should, be able to handle all of the needs of your loved one. Yet, there comes a time when you will be stretched too thin and it can affect your ability to offer the kind of care your family member needs.

Sometimes this comes in the form of having someone help with the cooking, cleaning, errands, or laundry. For those adult children who live far away from parents not ready for a retirement home, finding an in-home solution is paramount.

Other times, it can be impossible to provide appropriate care. Many times, spouses are unable to lift and maneuver a partner to get them clean. Having someone come in and give a simple bath a few times per week can make a huge difference to an elderly couple maintaining their independence.

WONDERING IF CARING FOR A LOVED ONE IN YOUR HOME IS RIGHT FOR YOU? READ OUR LIST OF PROS AND CONS HERE.

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