Dear Family Resource,

I am a caregiver working with a different agency caring for a resistant elderly gentleman. He’s recently become incontinent and needs to wear something like Depends. I asked his son to buy some, but he doesn’t want to admit that his Dad has a problem. He asked his dad if he wanted to wear Depends (he actually said “diapers”). Well, of course, his dad said “NO.” Now my client is angry at me for telling his son about the incontinence. Now when he’s wet, he’s trying to hide it and won’t let me help him change. If you have a suggestion for me I’m willing to try it; but if he won’t wear the Depends, I’m going to quit.

~ Fed Up Caregiver

Dear Fed Up,
Sit down and have a chat with your resistant client. Let him know how much you enjoy working with him, respect him, and always want the best for him. Approach the topic of incontinence in general terms rather than pointing out he is incontinent. Let him know urinary incontinence is widespread among both men and women, and incontinence is often treatable or at least manageable. There are several causes of urinary incontinence including abnormal changes in the urinary system, uncontrolled or an undiagnosed medical condition, a side effect of medication, etc.But there is good news! You can make a list of things he can do to help prevent an accident:

  1. Make an appointment with his primary physician to see if there is a preventable cause.
  2. Limit fluids before bed.
  3. Go to the bathroom every few hours even if he doesn’t feel the urge to urinate.
  4. Check out the different types of men’s protective underwear that can absorb any drips and keep him odor-free.

The two of you can go online to see what products are available that he is willing to try.

It would be great if you can have this same conversation with your client’s son and are able to give the son information about incontinence. In addition, here’s a great website

Good luck!

~ Family Resource