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To help better manage your loved one’s incontinence, you might consider maintaining a voiding journal.

Managing incontinence for a loved one can be one of the hardest things that you have to do. One of the reasons that managing incontinence with a loved one can be so hard is because your loved one might feel like it is a personal failure, and are embarrassed that they can no longer use the toilet on their own.

The first thing that you need to do when managing incontinence with a loved one is to reassure them that this is not their fault. Explain to them that incontinence is a medical problem; it is not a personal failure.

The second thing that you need to do is respect their privacy. This is a very sensitive and difficult issue for your loved one. Maintaining dignity is so important. You need to take the time to make sure they understand that you will be helping them with toileting, and with their personal hygiene.

After having that discussion with your loved one, the only thing left that you need to do is make sure that you are prepared with incontinence products such as pads and disposable undergarments. You can purchase many of the supplies you need at grocery stores, drug stores, and big box retailers, or you can order online at outlets such as HME Medical Shop.

To help better manage your loved one’s incontinence, you can start keeping a journal. When keeping a journal, you will want to write down the times of your loved one's bowel movements and what foods they have eaten throughout the day. This can help you spot patterns in their bowel activity so you can better determine when to take them to the restroom, and thus better avoid any accidents. Figuring out the pattern can also help you determine when you need to change their undergarments, if they are bedridden. Usually three days of journaling is enough to help you spot the pattern, but you may also want to make adjustments as needed, to ensure its reliability as a guide.

 You are keeping a journal so you can develop a routine with your loved one. Developing a routine can help eliminate the possibility of accidents because you know their schedule. The routine can also help you determine when to schedule appointments so that you can decrease your chances of needing to change your loved one while out in public. If you don’t like the idea of keeping a journal, you can still develop a routine to help manage your loved ones incontinence by taking a behavioral approach to it, which means taking your loved one to the restroom on a regular basis throughout the day.

No matter how you plan to go about managing your loved one’s incontinence, you want to talk to them about what is going on, even if it is a difficult subject to talk about. The reason that you want to talk to them about what you are doing, and why you are doing it, is because you are practicing good communication skills. You want to have great communication with your loved one. The better your communication is with your loved one, the easier it will be for you to manage their incontinence and other problems, because they will be more willing to talk to you about what is going on. Talking about the incontinence will encourage your loved one to tell you when they have to go, or even when they need to be changed because they soiled their clothes or undergarments.


About R.O.S Therapy Systems: R.O.S. Therapy Systems began as a backyard project in 2010. Scott Silknitter was searching for tools to help his mother care for his father, Roger Owen Silknitter, during a 25-year fight with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. That project became a personal mission to help all family caregivers. From family caregiver training and activity books to mobile apps to activity systems, R.O.S. has grown to become a single-source provider of informational “how to’s” and a growing provider of adaptive tools for the millions of husbands, wives, children, and family members that become caregivers.

Common sense advice and instruction based on proven principles of communication, engagement, and daily living are the heart of everything R.O.S. offers for family caregivers. Improving quality of life for caregivers is our mission, and designing everything for a family caregiver struggling with a loved one is the starting point. Whether it is dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, visual impairment, developmental disabilities, or any other issue that forces someone to care for a loved one, R.O.S. and its Caregiving 101 program are here to help.