Incontinence - the Emotional and Physical Challenges People Caring for Aging Loved Ones Aren't Talking About

Friday, November 6, 2009 General News
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SAN MATEO, Calif. and PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 5 Incontinence in a parent, grandparent or spouse has a significant emotional impact on a caregiver's life, according to a survey released today by Caring.com and SCA, the makers of TENAŽ (www.tena.us). The survey reveals that while seventy percent report incontinence as an ongoing issue with their loved ones, caregivers are largely uncertain how to help make the situation better, or even talk about it. In fact, one in three prefer to avoid the conversation altogether.

The research from Caring.com, a leading online destination for people caring for aging relatives, and TENAŽ, the worldwide leader in the management of bladder protection, found incontinence to be a widespread issue among adults caring for aging loved ones. More than 25 million adults are affected by incontinence in the United States today, a number that is projected to increase as the baby boomer population ages.

"Sixty-five percent of Caring.com members are dealing with incontinence in a parent, grandparent or spouse. It's a sensitive subject for both the caregiver and the person they're caring for, ranking among the most difficult conversations people caring for aging parents are faced with, such as taking away the car keys and discussing finances," said Andy Cohen, co-founder and CEO, Caring.com. "Caring.com can help make discussions about adult incontinence less stressful by knowing what not to say and providing supportive alternatives on how to talk to your loved one."

Managing a Loved One's Incontinence Takes an Emotional Toll

There is unexpected stress associated with incontinence issues and often the emotional aspect is just as hard as, or sometimes worse than, the physical aspects of caring for a loved one. The study found that incontinence can have a negative effect on a caregiver's emotional wellbeing and influence home care and nursing home decisions:

Caregivers Try to Manage the Symptoms, but for Most It's Not Working

People caring for aging relatives have tried a variety of techniques to try to manage the physical aspects of their loved one's incontinence:

Despite trying different approaches to manage incontinence, three-quarters of survey respondents report their efforts aren't working, reporting an increase in the amount of laundry they have to do each week, with an estimated extra two to three loads.

Starting the Conversation

"We know that understanding and discussing incontinence can be the first step to successfully managing it," said Spencer Deane, vice president of marketing for SCA Personal Care in North America. "We applaud caregivers for trying different approaches to manage the symptoms, but over the years we've seen the best results when caregivers are able to talk openly about the condition and recommend the right solutions to manage it. Today there is a variety of care techniques and treatments, as well as absorbent and skin care products for all types of incontinence, which can dramatically improve the quality of life."

Understanding how to discuss incontinence in a way that is supportive to both the person being cared for and the role of the caregiver is important.

"Incontinence often can be frustrating and overwhelming for a person caring for an aging parent or loved one, but there are steps caregivers can take to meet this challenge," said Ann Cason, caregiving expert author and founder and director of Circles of Care. "These include considering all available treatment options, discussing incontinence in a straightforward and factual way, and asking for physical or emotional support if you need it."

The Caring.com/TENAŽ Survey on Incontinence was conducted September 14 through September 28 by Caring.com. More than 560 respondents completed the online survey. Survey results and demographics are Survey results and demographics can be found at www.Caring.com.

About Caring.com

Caring.com helps caregivers dealing with incontinence issues, by providing information and resources including helpful advice on how to have the conversation, including who should do the talking, when to have the conversation, where to have it, what to say, and how to avoid emotional land mines.

Caring.com is a community and content website that provides people who are caring for aging parents with time-saving information to help them make better decisions. Founded in 2007 by a team of people who have taken care of their own aging parents, Caring.com is a free resource to users and is supported by advertisers. Caring.com is backed by leading venture investors DCM and Split Rock Partners. Caring.com is headquartered in San Mateo, California, and can be reached at http://www.caring.com.

About TENAŽ

For the millions of men and women looking after loved ones with incontinence or bladder control issues, SCA, the maker of TENAŽ , has created educational and support resources to help, including an informational web site, Facebook page and updates via Twitter @Caregiverscafe.

With more than 50 years of experience, TENAŽ is the worldwide leader in the management of bladder control issues, providing products and services for individuals and healthcare services throughout 105 countries. TENA provides a full range of absorbent products tailored to the distinct needs of men and women, including pantiliners, daytime and overnight pads, male guards, protective underwear, briefs, skin care products, and underpads. TENA is at the forefront of developing products that minimize the impact of incontinence and improve the everyday lives of people living or working with bladder weakness or incontinence. TENA products feature innovative technologies, such as comfortable Dry Fast Core(TM) and advanced odor control, to ensure protection, comfort and discretion for wearers. For more information, please visit: www.tena.us.

-- 42% report dealing with their loved one's incontinence sometimes leads to depression; -- 32% find it emotionally difficult to change their loved one's incontinence products; -- 27% report incontinence has a negative impact on the relationship they have with their loved one; -- 31% are unable to go on vacation because of their loved one's incontinence issues; and -- 18% have considered moving, or have moved their parent to a care facility or nursing home because of incontinence.

SOURCE SCA TENA


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