I recently read a incontinence treatment statistic that was meaningful in my own experience. The statistic was from the website of the National Association for Continence.
Incontinence is among the top three reasons that families give up on in-home care and place a loved one in a nursing facility, according to the NAFC. That statistic is backed up by the personal experiences of many home caregivers, I believe.
Incontinence is something no one wants to talk about because it is embarrassing. It is embarrassing to discuss, even with your doctor. It is embarrassing when an “accident’ occurs in public. It is an inconvenience and a clean-up chore when an “accident” occurs at home, and it is embarrassing, even when it happens at home.
I recall a conversation with a woman who cared for her mother-in-law at home. She confided that she did not like to have acquaintances visit her home because her mother-in-law had incontinence “accidents” often. She knew that the furniture in her house smelled like urine. She was constantly cleaning the furniture and carpets, and deodorizing the rooms, but she knew that the smell lingered. She felt helpless about the situation. She was doing all she knew to do about the problem.
Another friend who cared for her father-in-law told me that her father-in-law had been asked not to return to the senior citizens’ center because of his incontinence issues. The man had enjoyed going to the center daily because his friends there were his only outside contacts. He enjoyed the meals and activities at the center. However, over the years, he experienced a decline in his abilities to tell when he needed to go to the bathroom, and he began to have occasional “accidents.” The center did not have staff that could assist the gentleman regularly in the bathroom, so he was asked not to return until his incontinence was resolved. The friend did not blame the center for that policy. She simply had her father-in-law stay at home, away from the outside world. He didn’t like that, and neither did she.
Incontinence is a condition which affects both old and young people. It is not just a normal problem of aging. Incontinence restricts their activities and inhibits their efforts to be part of the family, the workplace and the community. Incontinence causes inconvenience, discomfort, and even rejection and fear for both the sufferer and the caregiver. And most patients will not talk about it to their doctor for incontinence treatment.
But just staying home is not always the best course of action. Usually there are medications available for incontinence treatment. You doctor will review all your current medications for interaction issues, evaluate the symptoms and determine the correct treatment.
You can also aid your incontinence treatment through managing lifestyle choices,.. meaning coffee and tea intake, exercise and of course the use of incontinence products.
The National Association for Continence offers some excellent support with articles and videos for caregivers and incontinence patients. There are fact sheets to help you learn more about the types and causes of incontinence. You’ll find information about diet, exercises, medications, surgery, and behavioral changes which can be effective.
The website offers a list of physicians who specialize in incontinence care across the nation. For more information, call 1-800-A-BLADDER or go to NAFC.org.