Talking to Dad About Incontinence: How to Do It Flawlessly
Do you remember having the dreaded “talk” with your parents? Yes, the one with the birds and the bees. Maybe it never happened, maybe it was awkward just like it was for the rest of us. But how did talks with your dad go when it just you two? Perhaps those talks were around sports teams or school projects he helped you with those late school nights. Now that dad is getting older you might be the one sitting him down for “the talk” about his own health. You may have heard from another family member that there has been some leakage from recent surgery and want to talk to him about it. While not everyone has the same relationship with their dad and while every dad is special in his own way, we still think you can apply these tips in your own way with your dad and communicate with him the best way possible. Remember that it may be uncomfortable at certain times of the talk, but if handled correctly it can be done flawlessly.
Tips for Talking About Incontinence with Dad
Tip #1 Know your role – Be mindful of the type of relationship you have with him. Know your boundaries and think carefully about how he handles other health conditions in his life. If you have an honest relationship with your dad it might be easier to talk about this condition. If you're not as close with him you may want to reconsider having another family member do the talking.
Tip #2 Rehearse the talk – This will help with delivery and tone, having a friend or family practice with you can also help! Phrases like '"How are you feeling after your recent surgery?" or "Is there anything new that you want to talk about?" are friendly starter questions to ask.
Tip #3 Find an appropriate time and place to have the talk – Find a place & time when he is the most relaxed and has the privacy he needs. If he is more comfortable with a certain person perhaps find a time when that person is available. On the other hand, if this is something that you feel needs to be just you two then make sure you keep it that way.
Tip #4 - Use familiar terminology – If he uses words like “leakage” over “incontinence” then follow along. Similarly, if he chooses not to use “adult diapers" you should also not use that word either. Feel him out first and pay attention to the words and phrases he uses to not offend.
Tip #5 Use humor wisely- Only use humor if dad initiates it first. Humor may be something he uses regularly, but for topics like incontinence, he may steer clear of using it.
Tip #6 Explain how common it is- While not many people talk about incontinence, it’s quite common. Explain that even though he may feel like no one else has it, many people are managing it behind closed doors.
Tip #7 Reassure him- Explain that there are discreet & protective incontinence products for him, to keep him doing all of the things he loves to do. Whether he's a golfer or just lounging at home, there are absorbent products for any occasion.
Tip #8 Be there for him- Tell him you are always there for him and will never judge him on his situation. Talk about how manageable incontinence is and that life isn't over just because he has leakage.
Having difficult conversations with our loved ones is never easy but communicating in a way that is non –judgmental, comforting and sympathetic are always good to starters for these talks. If dad is going through a rough time remind him that there are support groups available that help people managing incontinence and that it is very manageable. We’re here for dad just like you. NorthShore care experts are knowledgeable about all of our products. Call us or fill out our free sample form to get the best product for dad. We’re always happy to help!