7 Clues for Successful, Year Round Care
Taking care of someone with the Unexpected Leak™ doesn’t mean you have to be overcome with unexpected challenges. We’ve complied time-tested strategies that can help you keep your loved one comfortable in every situation you can think of. Here are a few tips to help your loved one feel at ease, and be ready, about the Unexpected Leak™ throughout the year from caregivers who’ve been there.
1. Plan for Seasonal Changes
When it's hot, moisture against the skin is particularly uncomfortable and can quickly cause chafing and rash. "Use products with a stay-dry lining that takes the moisture away from the skin," says one caregiver. Some incontinence products, like underwear (customized for men and women or pantiliners for women, are made from a softer material that feels close to real fabric, and many caregivers say these breathe easier in the summer. If your loved one is prone to rash or irritation in the summer, a hypoallergenic product or wipes and creams might help. Likewise, when it's cold, dampness against the skin can be chilly, particularly when air blows on it. Many older adults with incontinence get cold at night for this reason, caregivers say. One suggestion is to use a thick absorbent underpad both below and on top of your loved one, then use plenty of blankets.
2. Be Sensitive to Appearance
No one wants to worry about a bulky undergarment showing under clothes, and it's likely your loved one is sensitive about this issue. Meanwhile, you may find yourself purchasing the thickest products you can find out of worry over accidents. But thicker is not always better – in fact, some adult incontinence products with a slimmer silhouette are actually more absorbent. One way to find out how well an incontinence product holds moisture: test the absorbency by pouring water on several different product options and compare them. Some people use an extra guard or pantiliner inside a slimmer undergarment – rather than one that's thick all over – when they need extra protection. In addition to appearance, your loved one may be concerned about adult incontinence products making noise when she walks. "Wearing tight cloth underwear over incontinence briefs keeps them from making noise," says one caregiver.
3. Make Changes More Convenient
Some adult incontinence products are easier to take on and off than others, depending on the style, thickness, and size. Pull-up briefs are easier for some people, undergarments that fasten with Velcro or adhesive tabs are easier for others. For women, wearing a skirt rather than pants makes changes much easier. Men may prefer pleated or looser pants to jeans, at least in some situations. For active adults, stretch super briefs and stretch ultra briefs for men and women provide a comfortable, “stay-in-place” fit. For long drives or overnight protection, absorbent underpads will help keep any surface safe and dry and protect against odors and bacteria.
4. Transport Supplies in Style
Caregivers have a host of suggestions for how to transport adult incontinence supplies with a minimum of hassle and embarrassment. The number one tip: Carry a supply of large Ziploc bags with you at all times for use when clothing gets soiled or stained, and for used supplies where there's no garbage or when you don't want to use someone else's garbage can. As far as what type of bag to use, caregivers say stay as far away as possible from anything resembling a "diaper bag" no matter how tempting it is to use one designed for this purpose. Some people suggest using a backpack or computer bag, as they look less obvious, and you can find styles lined with plastic.
5. Be Prepared for Natural Disasters and Emergencies
Experienced caregivers keep emergency packs of incontinence supplies in their cars, in their basements, at work – some even leave extra supplies with family and close friends. What should your emergency pack contain?
6. Protect Furniture and Bedding
According to experienced caregivers, the moisture barrier in adult incontinence products tends to be more effective when your loved one is standing or sitting, less useful when your loved one is lying down. Style is also an issue – briefs and undergarments with loose leg openings are prone to leakage when someone's lying down or seated in certain positions – tipped back in a recliner, say. This is why thicker overnight products are a good idea for most people. Absorbent underpads for bedding may help.
7. Be Proactive About Odor Protection
A moisture-wicking barrier not only helps with comfort, it tends to decrease odor as well. And some products are deodorized or scented, for added odor protection. One thing to keep in mind, caregivers say, is that while breathable "fabric" type products may be more comfortable, they are also much less effective at containing odor. Of course, changing as fast as possible and cleansing with a wipe or with soap and water are the best odor-fighting strategies.
Live fearlessly through every season of life
Being prepared for every possible scenario is tough, but with the wisdom and foresight of experts and caregivers who’ve dealt with the Unexpected LeakTM, you can help your loved one be prepared in every season of life.
“I love the fact that I can go pretty much anywhere and not have to worry about leaks or bunching. TENA is not only affordable its a great product.”
- TENA® Customer in Toronto, Ontario