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3 Tips for Caring for an Incontinent Loved One

If you are finding this article, you most likely know someone, or are caring for someone, with incontinence. Caring for someone who is incontinent can be stressful. By preparing and learning what you can about incontinence, that care can be less trying.

1. Learn What You Can; Signs, Causes, and Types

When beginning care, it is important to learn what you can about incontinence. Starting at the basics you should read up on signs, causes and types of incontinence.

  • Signs of Incontinence - There are several signs to keep an eye out for in terms of fecal and urinary incontinence.
  • Causes of Incontinence - Incontinence is usually a symptom or side effect of another underlying condition. Causes of male and female incontinence can differ and is important to also review.
  • Types of Incontinence - There are several types of incontinence; stress, urge, mixed, overflow, and functional incontinence.

2. Commit to communication

There are several people you should be in contact with while working with an incontinent individual.

  • Doctors and medical professionals - If you are caring for a family member, having communication with the person’s doctor can give you first hand insight on the condition of your loved one. Doctors will also be able to help you understand if there are any dietary restrictions, answer any personalized questions and/or help you facilitate any rehabilitation needed (cite, cite).
  • Patient or Loved One - Communicating with the incontinent person is the most important in order to understand their needs and emotions. Use a calm and understanding tone when speaking to your loved one. You should speak to and support the person’s doctor’s recommendations for dietary and treatment recommendations. It is also important to help the individual with their self esteem by being light and humorous, when appropriate, to put your loved one at ease. (cite, cite)
  • Other caregivers and support systems - Don’t forget about yourself! There are many forums, articles and support groups that can help caretakers of individuals with incontinence. Some good resources include message boards from the National Association for Continence, and The Simon Foundation Online Support Community.

3. Familiarize and Prepare with Different Incontinence Products

  • Daily wear - Daily products may be needed to help your loved one. Daily incontinence products may include pantiliners, thin pads, more absorbent pads or male guards, underwear (mens and womens), and briefs or adult diapers.. Not only are the wearable products important, so are washcloths, wipes, and creams to support healthy intimate skin. Now, TENA has a new ProSkin line especially for caregivers which includes absorbent products, wipes and creams.
  • Night time - Overnight products and underpads are created for nighttime care and to keep the individual dry for better sleep. Read more about our overnight products and tips.
  • On the go - Having an on-the-go kit of products will help save a potentially uncomfortable situation. Some of these products include:
    • Disposable wipes
    • Adult diapers
    • Pads or guards
    • Disposable gloves
    • Clean set of clothes

Caring for someone that is incontinent can be difficult, but by following these three caregiver tips of knowing the basics, communicating, and being prepared with different or specialized products, caring for an incontinent individual can be less stressful.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is only for educational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or professional nursing services. Caregivers should always consult with health care professionals if they have any questions about a specific medical condition, treatment or use of products.

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