Having the Incontinence Conversation

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Dear jaynie,

My mom seems to be having problems with continence, a mild dribble. How do I approach the topic of pads or adult undergarments with her? I want to be respectful, but I am noticing an odor.

– Concerned Daughter

Dear Concerned Daughter,

This question comes up frequently. Our moms are really private and this can be embarrassing for them, but something needs to be done.  Mainly, because this can be the start of medical issues such as urinary tract infections and kidney problems if they go undetected, and more.  I would take some time with her with the television off, phone ringers off, and just have a heart to heart discussion over some coffee (or a margarita, if moms medical issues allow it).

You can say you don’t want to embarrass her, but lately you have been noticing a slight odor, which sometimes comes with incontinence. Tell her you sometimes experience the same problem when you cough or sneeze and that you have alleviated it with the use of pads for “stress incontinence”.  Tell her the use of the pads gives you a feeling of security, especially when in public.

Bring pads with you and tell her you will leave them in the “powder room” for her. Let her know this happens to everyone. Reinforce how much you love her and that you are there to help. You’ll be surprised to see the pads have begun to disappear upon your next visit.

I hope this information helps.

– jaynie

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