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Incontinence Learning Center - Support for Caregivers

Support for Caregivers

Is a Loved One Experiencing Incontinence?

Incontinence can be an extremely difficult topic to discuss and is subject to many misconceptions regarding the causes. For instance, many people inaccurately view incontinence as an inevitable part of the aging process. This belief, coupled with the social and emotional impact many people feel as a result of experiencing incontinence, can lead to reluctance to share symptoms with a healthcare provider.

Whether you need the support to approach the topic of incontinence with your loved one, or if a loved one is suffering from severe incontinence as a result of a debilitating disease, becoming well-informed about the condition and seeking support for yourself and your loved ones is a healthy place to start.

This is not the only arena where embarrassment hinders communication that could lead to creating a more satisfactory circumstance for you and your loved ones...Please do reach out and let him or her know you understand.

Give Yourself A Break

It's natural to feel exhausted or overstressed when you're in a caretaker role. It is also completely normal to oscillate between feeling fulfilled by the experience of caring so intimately for another and building resentment at the intrusion into your time and space.

Be sure to take refresher time for yourself. If you don't take care of yourself first, there will not be much left for you to care for anyone else. If you can find the time, ask a friend to take over for a few hours while you draw a bath, go out for a bite to eat, or get comfortable with a book you've been meaning catch up with.

Ask for Help

Even though you are usually in a caretaking role, don't be afraid to ask friends and family for help. You are an integral part of a support system that extends beyond you. If you are feeling resentful that you are not receiving enough relief from other family members and close friends, be honest enough with yourself and others to ask for help in specific ways.

People often want to help but are unsure of where to begin. Perhaps you can ask a family member to fold the laundry, pick up prescriptions, or bring over dinner that can be easily reheated. This way, you will both have targeted expectations and you are likely to find the relief you are seeking.

Even better, find and use services that will make the everyday tasks more convenient. Splurge to pick out your groceries online and have them delivered. Generally, the fees are low enough to justify saving your time on this kind of task, and, you don't have to drive to pick up anything you need. Arranging to pay your bills automatically online can save you many hours per month and let you see your budget more clearly.

Caring for Elders

It is true that incontinence is more common in older people. Older people are more likely to have had physical experiences that can cause pelvic muscles to weaken. Even so, it is often a very difficult subject to broach. The misconception that incontinence is an inevitable aspect of aging sometimes makes it even more difficult to discuss.

Finding the best treatment and a management strategy that will optimize your loved one's ability to continue his or her lifestyle with minimal limitation.

Caring for the Sick

When people are suffering from serious diseases such as cancer, caregivers are understandably concerned with providing the most efficient and effective way to manage the patient's incontinence while maintaining the patient's dignity.

Caring for Young People with Incontinence

Because people tend to associate incontinence with the elderly, there can be a sense of feeling like one is living with a "hidden disability" or coping with an "invisible" problem for young people suffering from incontinence.

The major goal when dealing with young people is therefore helping them cope with their emotional stress that often accompanies incontinence, and finding a practical, coherent management strategy.

Infomation taken from

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