QUESTION: I’VE HAD A HARD TIME DISCUSSING MY FATHER’S INCONTINENCE WITH HIM – HE IS SO EMBARRASSED BY IT AND NEVER WANTS TO ADDRESS IT. HOW CAN I BRING THE SUBJECT UP WITHOUT MAKING HIM UNCOMFORTABLE?
Answer: Caring for a parent with incontinence can be very hard. After all, you’ve both played opposite roles for most of your life, with your parent providing most of the care for you. When a parent becomes dependent on their child, and especially when they are experiencing something like incontinence, it can make them feel ashamed and embarrassed. They may try too hard to hide their incontinence, or brush off mention of it and try to avoid the subject altogether.
Start slowly. Discuss their health and condition and then talk to them about some of the incontinence symptoms you’ve witnessed. Be patient – they may have some reservations in discussing their problem with you at first. But give them some time – once they feel comfortable, they’ll open up to you and you’ll be able to work on a management plan together.
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