Caregiving for someone with incontinence – how to cope with it
Caring for someone with male incontinence can be quite stressful. A good self-care plan can help you cope with the challenges.
Healthcare providers and other caregivers are a wealth of information and support. Reach out with questions, for ideas, resources and encouragement to make caring easier.
Although incontinence is a manageable, treatable medical condition it may take some time to arrive at the right strategy. In the meantime, try to be patient with yourself and the one for whom you are providing care. You both deserve a little extra kindness and compassion.
Find a safe space to share your honest feelings about caring for someone with incontinence. When you forget, it will be important to have someone remind you that whatever you are feeling – tired, angry, sad, resentful, worried, anxious – is normal. Other caregivers have experienced a range of emotions, too. Having unpleasant feelings does not make you a poor or unloving caregiver. It just means you are human.
Take short cuts
Use time-saving devices to make life easier. If you have a parent or husband struggling with male incontinence try using Men’s Liberty as it only has to be applied once a day. Take other shortcuts including purchasing pre-cut vegetables to using a laundry or cleaning service. Identify priorities and devote your time where it is needed most. Delegate where you can.
Ask for help
Don’t let offers of help fall on deaf ears. If offers of help don’t come, ask. Make specific requests of others to help lighten your load. Even strong, loving people can do with an extra pair of hands or a little free time.
Look for the person behind the diagnosis
Sometimes the shame and stress of incontinence can obscure your view of the human being in your care. Look for ways to connect with and enjoy him.
As much as possible maintain interests and hobbies outside of caregiving. Visit friends, make time for activities you enjoy, take a class or learn a new skill.
Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each evening and consume nutrient dense foods. Caregiving can be very demanding. Bring your best to the job by taking good care of yourself first. A healthy diet and enough rest will help.
Deep breathing can reduce the flight or fight response activated with stress or overwhelm. According to an NPR article, Just Breathe: Body Has A Built –in Stress Reliever, deep breathing is not only relaxing, but it also helps dampen the production of harmful stress hormones. Why not try it right now?
Caregiving for someone with incontinence can be stressful. Make managing your stress a priority to help you cope better.