Helping a loved one live life to the fullest is one of the most gratifying rewards a caregiver can experience. For people coping with incontinence, today’s caregivers have a range of products they can choose from to help loved ones get back to enjoying their favorite activities with confidence. We’ve put together a brief guide explaining how to find the right fit, comfort and absorbency to help your loved one with Unexpected Leak™ feel confident and comfortable without missing a beat.
Choosing the right product for your loved one’s situation.
Every individual is different. Fortunately, incontinence products are the opposite of one-size-fits-all. They work best when you find the size and style that best fits your loved one's shape, body type and lifestyle. Here are a few key factors to consider when choosing the right product for each situation.
Focus on comfort.
No one wants to feel squeezed into a too-tight garment or fear leakage from a loose one. Luckily, incontinence products come in an enormous range of shapes, sizes, thicknesses, and designs to allow those with the Unexpected Leak™ to feel comfortable and confident in any situation.
If your loved one has digestive issues or a health problem such as diabetes, these will affect her incontinence needs as well. Identify the time of day she is affected by digestive issues so that you can help her be ready with the product that suits her best.
Map out the day.
The best way to be prepared for incontinence needs no matter what? Look ahead and plan out your family member's day, as best you can. List the day's activities, and approximately how long each might take. If you are going out, is it likely to be a long or short outing, and how much driving is involved? If your loved one is going to be away from home all day doing a variety of activities, estimate the number of changes – and type of products – you will need for each activity. For example, she might shop for two hours, take a one-hour lunch break, then stop by a friend's house for a two-hour visit. Calculate the approximate number of products she will need for each segment, then add a few extras for anything unexpected.
Plan for special activities.
When your loved one is at home with a bathroom nearby, her incontinence needs are likely to be less than when she is out and about. Anything that changes her usual routine is likely to result in the need for extra incontinence products, as well as for specialized products. Here are four situations to plan for:
1. Travel – both car and plane:
Some people may prefer briefs and absorbent underpads when traveling on long trips to avoid worry over leakage.
2. Physical activities and sports:
Movement increases the risk of leakage, so most people prefer closer-fitting products with elasticized openings. Some people are sensitive about thicker products causing a telltale rubbing sound; products made from softer, more cloth-like material, like underwear or briefs, can solve this problem.
3. Family and social events:
In social situations, odor can be a concern, and your loved one may wish to use products with extra odor protection. Guards (for men) and pantiliners and pads (for women) are usually lined with odor-absorbing materials to help minimize this issue.
Find the right product for every scenario.
As a caregiver, you have a better idea of what your loved one’s schedule is like more than anyone else. Ask the following questions to assess the right level of comfort and care when purchasing incontinence products for your loved one’s situation.
Pantiliners and ultra thin pads are designed to protect, neutralize odors, and be a fit for everyday use when your loved one is out and about:
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Pads have moderate- or super-absorbent protection, particularly for long wait times, for overnight, or for heavier absorbency:
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Men: Guards are specifically designed for a man’s body while allowing him to wear everyday clothing and providing daytime protection:
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Underwear in different sizes are available. You can even find an option with tear-away sides for easy removal:
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Comfortable underwear with different styles, like a gentle elastic waist band or tear-away sides, give you the convenience of slim protection for an active lifestyle:
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Briefs for Women
Briefs offer protection and comfort with hook fasteners that provide an easy and unlimited ability to refasten. Elastic material around the leg and waist provide firm and discreet protection:
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Briefs for Men
Briefs allow for a more customizable fit with the added protection of moisture-proof lining, wetness indicator, and super-absorbent technology. Elasticity and re-fastenable hooks help an individual stay active with the most protection available:
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Disposable Washcloths, Wipes & Creams
Disposable washcloths, wipes, and creams are available to keep skin clean and moisturized:
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Disposable Underpads & Bed Pads
Underpads will help keep any surface dry. From bed pads to seat protectors, absorbent underpads help absorb leakage, odors, and bacteria from any susceptible surface:
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How many do you need? What to consider when assessing quantity.
While you can’t be prepared for every scenario, some circumstances can spark more accidents than normal. Consider buying extra products to ensure your loved one is comfortable and protected for the following situations:
Your loved one takes a walk everyday.
You may need more than the average number of changes per day because your loved one is active and mobile, which can require more-frequent daily changes.
Your loved one is a regular caffeine drinker.
These drinks are diuretics, increasing how often someone needs to go. Your loved one will need more than the average number of changes per day. Be equipped with extra pantiliners, pads, or guards, which are easy and discreet to carry in a day bag.
Your loved one has irritable bowel syndrome or another digestive condition.
Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions can all lead to fecal incontinence, which will substantially increase the quantities of products needed.
Your loved one is diabetic.
One symptom of diabetes is frequent urination, so your loved one will need more changes than average. Diabetes can also cause urine to have a stronger smell, so she may need liners and other odor control products.
Your loved one lives in a hot climate.
More changes are needed on hot days to avoid odor and chafing. Your loved one may also need cream and liners.
When it's cool out, your loved one can go longer between changes and will, most likely, need the typical number of changes they’d expect in a day.
Your loved one is going on a trip, or planning for an unfamiliar environment.
For older adults who are used to a routine, trips or a change in environment may lead to more accidents. They may not know where they can change or how long they will have between bathroom breaks. Consider buying different types of pads, underwear, briefs, and/or absorbent underpads to ensure all unfamiliar scenarios are covered.
With the range of incontinence products available today, you can find the size and style that best fits your loved one’s needs. The Unexpected Leak™ happens for a lot of reasons, but it doesn’t have to stop an individual from living life to the fullest.