Talking to Your Parent About Incontinence

By: Healthwick, Oct 27, 2016
Talking to Your Parent About Incontinence

How to approach this touchy subject with your loved one

Incontinence is a common problem for seniors, with the US Centers for Disease Control estimating that 1 in 2 North Americans over the age of 65 are managing daily continence problems. If you have recently discovered your parent is managing incontinence, it can be difficult to know how to approach the topic with them.

Identifying the problem

Incontinence is a touchy subject, and very few people are comfortable reaching out to family first for help. One of the first things you can do is simply take note of your parent’s environment. A urine scent in living rooms or bedrooms, protective covers on furniture, or new stains on carpets or furniture could be a sign your parent is struggling to manage incontinence.

Being prepared with information

It is important you are educated on incontinence before immediately saying something to your parent. We have provided an exact, step-by-step guide to managing incontinence, including an overview of common products on the market (click here for more information).

Talking it out

If you have siblings, it might be worth letting them know you’re about to have an important health conversation with your parent. It’s often best to talk to your parent privately, in a quiet setting when you know you’re not likely to be interrupted for 10 minutes. You should be direct but compassionate, and understand that this could be embarrassing on both sides. Some conversation starters might include:

“Dad, I don’t want to pry, but I noticed a box of maxi pads in the bathroom. Are you having trouble getting to the washroom?”

“Mom, this is kind of embarrassing, but there’s a urine smell in the bedroom. Should we talk to the doctor and see what’s going on?”

Overcoming objections

It is quite common someone managing incontinence isn’t going to want to talk about it or will put up objections to taking any steps.

Some common objections might be: “I don’t want to talk about it” or “this is none of your business.”

You might respond by saying: “I’m sorry, I don’t want to embarrass you but I’m worried about you. I’ve been doing some research and I think I can help. Can I tell you what I’ve learned?” Or “I’m sure it is nothing serious but I think it is worth talking to the doctor and maybe getting some samples of products to try.”

Some parents may not be ready to have this conversation yet and you might have to consider stepping back and giving them a couple of days to consider what you have said before approaching the topic again.

Ultimately, talking to your parent about their incontinence might be embarrassing, but it’s an important conversation to have if you’re worried about how it might be affecting their health and lifestyle.

Healthwick is a direct-to-home retailer whose caring team offers the knowledge, products, and service that you can count on to manage your incontinence. We're a proudly Canadian company that ships nation-wide from our headquarters in Oakville, ON. 

Healthwick distributes the largest range of adult incontinence products in Canada, including many brands, sizes and styles not found in stores. We support independent businesses in the healthcare space, including online retailer, pharmacies, home health stores, and care service providers across Canada.

If you would like more information about incontinence or our full line of incontinence products or need help with managing incontinence, Healthwick is here for you. You can shop online here or call us toll free at 1-877-775-6656 for Canada’s largest selection of incontinence products and samples.