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Let's Talk About Incontinence: How To Bring Up The Subject With A Loved One

By Aimee Coates December 18, 2017

Urinary incontinence is a fairly common condition, particularly among older people. In fact, around 14% of individuals aged 65 to 69 have this condition, while 45% of people aged 85 and above do. Still, even though it's pretty prevalent, it's not always easy to talk about. The need for urological supplies can be embarrassing for many people, which makes incontinence feel like a forbidden topic to discuss. However, for the sake of your loved one's health and well-being, it's an important subject to broach. If you're struggling with how to start the conversation without making your loved one feel ashamed or defensive, you may want to start with these tips.

  • Use empathy
    One of the most important things to remember when talking to a parent or elderly loved one about incontinence and the possibility of needing female catheters or other urology supplies is that this subject will likely make them feel uncomfortable. It's key to make sure they know you are completely supportive and want to help them rather than judge them. Your discussion should come out of genuine concern for them and should be gentle in tone. Instead of being condescending or argumentative, take a tactful yet honest approach about what you've observed and how you want to be there for them. If you frame this discussion in a way that lets your loved one know that you're their advocate from the start, they'll be much more likely to seek out the assistance they need.
  • Pick a good time
    Believe it or not, timing is everything when it comes to a conversation like this. To minimize the potential for an awkward or stressful encounter, you may want to bring up the topic when your loved one is doing something they enjoy or when you have some one-on-one time during a private meal or a walk. They'll be less likely to react poorly to a conversation if they're engaged in a beloved hobby, when they're eating, or when they don't necessarily have to make eye contact. Early mornings, late evenings, or busier times of day will not be ideal for having any serious conversation. Pick a period when your loved one will be at their best.
  • Understand your goal
    When you first approach this subject with your loved one, you should be aware that your immediate goal should not necessarily be to convince them they need female catheters or other medical supplies for incontinence. The first step is to help them understand what they're experiencing is very common and to get them evaluated by a physician. Before deciding on a solution to the problem, you and your loved one need to have a definitive idea of what the problem is. Incontinence is typically symptomatic of another underlying condition that may be easily treatable. But because incontinence can have any number of causes, the appropriate treatment method may not be obvious. By helping your loved one understand that their quality of life can be drastically improved just by being assessed by their doctor, you can set them on a positive path and help them treat their incontinence.
Incontinence can be difficult to address at first, but as long as you approach the subject with a gentle tone and genuine concern for your loved one, you can be part of getting them the help they need. For more information on the female catheters we carry or our free catheter samples -- and how they may improve your or your loved one's quality of life -- please contact us today.

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