It might sound odd, but your elderly family member could actually be trying to hide that she’s dealing with incontinence. Here are some things you and her elder care aides need to know.
What Causes People to Hide Incontinence?
It might be difficult to understand why your senior wouldn’t tell you what she’s facing. That’s especially true if your senior has other health issues that you help her to manage. There’s a deep sense of embarrassment and shame associated with incontinence for so many people. Talking about bathroom habits and associated topics can also feel embarrassing. So, your elderly family member may simply be deeply embarrassed. Cognitive changes can also cause your senior to hide these issues, though, especially if she’s also trying to hide the cognitive changes.
Look for Behavioral Changes that Don’t Make Sense
One of the signs you might want to watch for can include behavioral changes or habits that are changing. They’re especially important if they don’t make sense to you as to why your senior would make these changes. For instance, your aging family member might suddenly not stand up around you at all. Or she might be going to the bathroom a lot more than she usually does. Some of these signs are really subtle.
Pay Attention to Smells
Smelling a hint of urine, whether it’s just in the room or if you think you smell it on your senior, can be a big clue. This is especially important if you’ve never smelled that smell around your elderly family member before. Sometimes seniors with pets try to blame the smell on the pet, but it’s helpful to try to investigate that a little bit further.
Pay Attention Also to Changes in Your Senior’s Wardrobe or Style of Dressing
In addition to changes in behavior, your senior might adapt her wardrobe to account for her incontinence. She might opt for darker clothes that are easier to hide stains on, for instance. Or she might start to double up her clothing, wearing two sets of pants rather than just one. She may also be wearing incontinence products, but wants to hide that fact, so oversized clothing might be something you notice.
In the end, all you want is for your senior to have what she needs and wants and for her to be safe. One thing that can help is to bring in elder care providers. They can help her to keep up with cleaning and with laundry, and they can be incredibly helpful with personal care tasks related to incontinence.