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7 Expert Caregiver Tips for Managing Incontinence

As a caregiver, you want the best for your loved one. The great news is that with some planning and the right tools, incontinence can be handled swiftly and discreetly! The most important thing you can do is let your loved one know you love her unconditionally while helping her maintain dignity at all times. The challenges of incontinence can be easily overcome given these seven essential caregiver tips.

Tip #1: Follow Expert Advice

This may sound like common sense, but many sufferers fail to see doctors or follow regimens due to embarrassment. There are many causes of incontinence, make sure your loved one follows doctor's directions! Prescribed exercises like, Kegels or other pelvic floor exercises should be performed, and logging possible causes of incontinence may prove helpful. Don’t allow feelings of helplessness to overwhelm your loved one. Instead, assist them to effectively address incontinence by taking ownership of these patterns. Staying homebound out of fear of public accidents or shame can lead to anxiety and magnify feelings of despair, but being prepared is the key to freedom!

Tip #2: Try Different Incontinence Products to Find the Best Ones for Your Loved One

Using the wrong incontinence products for your loved one can be frustrating bad experience for you and her. It is better to talk with your loved one and invest a little time to find the most appropriate products for their body type and lifestyle needs. One way to do this is by trying on different products. TENA offers a free kit so you can try before you buy.

When making your product selection, also consider these important points…

  1. When choosing a pad, pull-on brief, shield, guard, bed pad or refastenable underwear, consider your loved one's level of mobility. A person who is mobile will be happiest with the brief or pad that allows movement.
  2. Choose the right size. Wearing a pad that is too small will cause discomfort while wearing one too large can cause leaks and accidents.
  3. Choose the right absorbency level. Generally, heavy pads with wings are most effective for bedtime use.

Tip #3: Hygiene and Care: Must Haves for a Patient

There are several items caregivers should always have available when handling incontinence issues. Being fully prepared will arm your loved one with confidence and self-assurance. Here is your must-have shopping list of supplies for both the home and travel:

  • Disposable wipes (for quick cleanups)
  • Extra panty liners, pads, underwear, briefs or guards (in case of accidents wherever at home or out and about) with built-in odor control
  • Gentle cleansing lotions or washes (especially for those who have frequent accidents)
  • Extra towels
  • Extra large zip lock plastic bags (for soiled clothing and/or soiled pads)

Tip #4: Dressing for Incontinence

The thought of an accident in public might be scary, but it shouldn't keep your loved one from leaving the house. Incontinence pants can help provide a seamless appearance when wearing more close-fitting clothing. These garments will allow your loved one to wear her favorite shorts or pants with the necessary panty liners, pads or briefs for a confident, stylish appearance.

Keep a change of pants/skirts/shorts, socks, underwear, and even shoes in the car or a bag when going out. Incontinence underpads for the car seat is helpful for people who have accidents en route home, work or errands.

Tip #5: Control House Odor

TENA products are designed to manage odor. Use of underpads at night will reduce the need for extra bedding and have built-in odor control.

Limiting foods like asparagus, which cause a strong scent, and increasing the intake of foods high in acidity, like unsweetened cranberry juice, also helps control smell. Those with fecal incontinence should work to identify foods that cause discomfort so as to avoid them.

Make sure to regularly clean all bedding and clothing and utilize products that work to control odor as well as incontinence.

Tip #6: How to Provide the Best Use of Touch

People new to caregiving may not know where to start. Whether you are caring for someone with very limited mobility or someone who is more able, there are a set of rules you should always follow:

  • • Speak in a slow, calm, and friendly tone
  • • Approach and touch the person from the front, never the back, and always with permission
  • • Ask one question at a time and allow time for an answer
  • • Be positive and cheerful
  • • Talk about things that matter to them.

Tip #7: Remember the Benefits of Caregiving

If you, (the caregiver), are energetic and optimistic, your loved one will be more apt to feel the same way. Stay positive, take care of yourself and know that your attitude effects you, your loved one, and everyone else involved in your loved one’s care.

Those new to caregiving often feel overwhelmed, but the tips provided here should alleviate that concern and help you prepare for every situation. Others have been there and have shared their insights and learnings. By following these 7 insider tips, you can now experience a deep sense of satisfaction in knowing your loved one is receiving excellent care.


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- TENA® Customer in Alaska

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