Health News from Senior Healthcare Advisors

by Dr. Marilyn B. Field

Adult incontinence is one of those subjects no one wants to talk about, let alone have to cope with. People are living longer and therefore, adult incontinence is becoming more accepted as a normal part of life.

Incontinence can greatly affect a person’s self-image, as well as their relationships with friends and family. On the most basic level, needing an adult diaper can affect the relationship you have with your own body, delving deep into the anxieties you thought you were over with as a child when you mastered the art of toilet training.

To avoid shame and embarrassment, many people give up their favorite hobbies and activities such as going to the movies, jogging, dancing, and traveling. Others, “diaper-up” and try to live as normally as possible. It is no fun to have to jump up four times to go to the bathroom in the middle of a movie at the theater.

Rather than feeling shame, recognize the practicality of wearing a diaper as a method for improving your freedom and overall quality of life, despite the problems associated with growing older.

There are many different types of incontinence, from stress induced to severe, so there are many products available according to the severity of the problem. There are diapers, mattress pads (also called chucks), adult briefs, and mattress covers. If you are struggling with urinary incontinence, wearing a diaper should be an informed decision. They are a non-surgical and non-medicinal form of treatment that can allow you more freedom and less fear of having an accident.

Some of the adult diapers are highly absorbent and thicker, while others are thinner, like briefs, that are barely visible under your clothes. Whatever your situation and lifestyle is, there is an option out there that will work for you.

By the way, adult diapers are not just for the elderly. Incontinence can be caused by a variety of diseases and illnesses that can affect people of any age. Some women experience urinary incontinence after childbirth and during pregnancy regardless of their age.

It is very important to change an adult diaper frequently to prevent rashes, foul odors, and skin infections. How often to change them, of course, depends on the health and lifestyle of the individual. In general they should be changed 4 to 8 times a day. That comes out to about 150 diapers a month. Many people only wear them at night, so those people would need less. The cost can be anywhere between $60–$160 per month. But, some healthcare insurance companies will cover the cost.

The Baby Boomers are aging, and their concerns about the design of adult diapers is growing. Many have little patience for physical limitations with their busy lifestyles, and in turn, the manufacturers have been forced to rethink their designs for adult diapers.

The result has been in a diaper that helps the person better maintain their dignity. They are thin, but also highly absorbent. The sense of shame and loss of freedom that once came with the necessity of wearing a diaper has now been replaced by the practical and advanced mentality of the Baby Boomer generation.

Some of us have parents who are aging and downright refuse to wear an adult diaper. If you are in this situation, it is time for you to talk to your parent(s) about the advantages of wearing a diaper, as well as validating their concerns.

Believe it or not: adult diapers of the present are more like actual underwear rather than clinical and bulky diapers of the past. Today’s adult diapers are designed for an active lifestyle so you can enjoy your life without the worry of leakage and bunching. Just know, if you find yourself needing to address incontinence, there is a sensible solution to an all too common problem, rather than worrying about shame and embarrassment.

Autonomy, self-sufficiency, and self-determination are highly valued in our culture, but the reality is many people need some type of assistance. Everyone wants to be as independent as possible, for as long as possible. So, a little help from an adult diaper can go a long way to helping you to maintain your independence. In American society where independence is most important, just the thought of asking for assistance can be emotionally threatening.

Comparing yourself to others is no way to go about trying to improve your self-esteem. Look at all of the positives in your life and work with what you have, and things will start to look better and feel better as your confidence strengthens.