Talking about incontinence is never easy. Whether you are the one experiencing it, or someone close to you has been exhibiting symptoms, it is a conversation that most dread. However, sharing this struggle with a loved one is perhaps one of the best things you can do in your path to recovery. With a little advanced planning, a deep breath, and some honesty you’ll be able to get past this and move on to the next (and more productive) phase of this struggle – treatment.
When you’re the one struggling with incontinence.
Believe it or not, you may actually be on the easier end of this conversation. As embarrassing as it may feel to open up to someone about this, if you are ready to do so, you have likely accepted that this has become a problem and are ready to receive support. And who better to provide that support than a trusted friend or loved one? Opening up to someone may not only provide you with the physical help you need, but also lift an emotional weight off your shoulders. You don’t have to suffer through this alone.
When your loved one has incontinence.
If you’ve been noticing that a loved one seems to be having problems with incontinence, it may be time to talk with them about it to see how open they are to treatment. This can sometimes be difficult – it is very likely that the person knows they have a problem, but may be too embarrassed to talk to anyone or do anything about it. Depending on your relationship, it can also be hard for your loved one to admit. For instance, a father who is cared for by his son or daughter may feel too proud to discuss this with his kids. Start the conversation slowly by asking them about their general health, then move on to some of the signs of incontinence that you’ve noticed. Be prepared – they may get defensive and try to hide the problem. If that happens, try again. Be patient with them and try to be as accepting and understanding as possible. In time, they will likely open up to you once they see that your intentions are good and you are there to support them.
Our last tip? Get some advice from those who have been there and understand. As life changing as it may be, you are not the only one in the world who has ever struggled with this condition. Whether you are looking to reach out to others who are experiencing it, or others who care for an incontinent loved one, there are many people out there who are discussing their problems on message boards and online forums. Check out the NAFC message boards to get some tips on how others have touched on this delicate subject.