Caught by Surprise

TZMO Seni USA on Dementia MapSubmitted by Suzi Fox
Regional Sales Manager
TZMO USA Inc. – Seni

Did you know that incontinence can affect any age group, not just older adults?

While it is not uncommon for older adults who are experiencing neurocognitive decline to have some level of decreased bladder control, those living with late-stage dementia tend to experience heavy incontinence.

In addition to older adults experiencing incontinence challenges, it may be surprising for readers to know that many other people in our country have become incontinent. That is often due to a host of varied medical conditions, sometimes due to unforeseen and unwelcome circumstances.

The more awareness raised for the many reasons behind a person becoming incontinent, and the more freely that incontinence is discussed, the better our odds are to systemically break down barriers and eliminate stigmas related to this topic.

*To protect the privacy of individuals, names have been changed*

Flowers in a field from Seni on Dementia Map
Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

Meet Angela

Angela is a vibrant, passionate person that lights up the room with her smile. If you met her today, one would never know the challenges that she endures daily.

Seven years ago, Angela was the victim of an unexpected and unwarranted awful crime.  As a result, Angela ended up with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), simply by circumstance.  She was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It was love for her daughter that kept her alive when the crime against her occurred. It is that same love that inspires her today as she continues to adapt to living with a traumatic brain injury.  Angela fights to retain custody as a single mom of her loving daughter Melissa.

If you saw Angela walk into a room, one would never know she had a TBI. However, the courts are concerned that she may forget things regarding the care needed for her ten-year-old. According to Angela, caring for Melissa is what keeps her going! They have a family support system that helps in case Angela is having a not-so-great day. She never expected one moment in time would affect her in such a way for the rest of her life.

Luckily, Angela is resilient! It may take her longer to make a cup of coffee or walk across the street, but every day she presses on to be a better mom and a dependable volunteer in her community.  All she asks is that Melissa not be placed into foster care.

microphone from seni on dementia map
Image by freestocks-photos from Pixabay

Meet Timothy

Timothy had always been the class clown since elementary school, so it didn’t surprise anyone when he created a career within the entertainment industry. Timothy just loved to make people laugh.

Sometimes, when people find success on the big stage, they surround themselves with celebrities and leave their friends behind, but not Timothy! He frequently went out of his way to do favors for the underdogs.

A little-known secret to his close friends, but not his fans, was that Timothy had become addicted to alcohol. Many days ended for Timothy with a long drinking binge. Figuratively speaking, Timothy would climb inside that bottle and somehow rally at sunrise for work. He never harmed anyone; he just liked to “have a good time.”

That good time ended for Timothy when he started experiencing some challenges and was diagnosed with alcohol-related dementia. Sadly, today Timothy no longer has the career he once loved, and he no longer has his big stage echoing sounds of laughter.

His mother takes care of him as he has progressed to late-stage dementia. He doesn’t recognize or remember anyone.

His mom didn’t expect to be caring for him. In fact, she had always thought that he would in fact be the person who would care for her as she aged. Regardless, each day Timothy’s mom brings her son videos and articles in hopes that one will trigger a memory of happier times in his life.

soccer net from seni on dementia map
Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Meet Brody

Brody has always been a family man. Even before he married Rachel and they had kids of their own, Brody gravitated towards helping families. He always wanted to encourage kids in sports and so it seemed like a good fit when he became a soccer coach.

Brody and Rachel nourished their own household with fun vacations and weekly outings on his days off. He had a great job and was someone you could count on no matter what! They loved the life that they had created together.

They were living the American Dream, until one night, a driver of an eighteen-wheeler fell asleep at the wheel doing 70 mph and hit Brody’s vehicle.

After one year in the hospital and multiple surgeries, Brody had to accept the fact that he would never walk again. His spinal cord injury was never a part of the picture when he envisioned himself raising his children. How was he going to play sports with them or go hiking again?

Brody’s will to live is what got him through the accident, but it was going to take sheer determination to accept living in a wheelchair. Gratefully, Rachel is still at his side and together they press on.

Everything takes longer these days. The enormous level of patience needed has been a big hurdle for Brody to overcome.

Today Brody is still a family man, a soccer coach, and a provider for his household by way of a different career.  He was determined to show his children that life doesn’t always work out as planned, but it’s our attitude and the way we embrace change that counts!

Random Stories. Common Thread.

Angela, Timothy, and Brody may seem like people with three random stories, but they have three very similar things in common.

1) No One Expected This

One day Angela, Timothy, and Brody are living their best lives with full physical and mental capacities in place. They are active, social, and healthy overall. Then, in one instance, life for each one of them changed drastically.

None of them saw this coming; not one of them were prepared.

2) None Are Older Adults

All three of these individuals were in their thirties when tragedy struck. They easily could have given up on life, but instead they had to find that fire within themselves to persevere. They had to overcome their own fears, frustrations, and feelings of failure.

No one could do this for them.  Angela, Timothy, and Brody chose to embrace their new reality and forge ahead into the unknown.

3) All Three Are Incontinent

When someone like Brody is told they will never walk again, the news is intensely traumatic. And yet, some of these same people will share that they accepted that news easier than when they discovered they would be incontinent for the rest of their lives!

Somehow, we associate incontinence with elderly, sick people and don’t ever imagine that a young person, or someone in a wheelchair may be incontinent as well. There should be no shame in being incontinent and if we can help educate more people about available resources, it may bring more comfort on a bigger scale.

Priding themselves as a resource, there are manufacturers who strive to educate people on the options that are available. Some manufacturers offer webinars, streaming programs, and meet in person to educate and empower others.

Premium incontinence products are important to understand. Premium doesn’t mean “expensive.”  It means the construction of the products are high quality.  Superior quality products help to improve continence care and allow for uninterrupted nightly sleep.

Some brands offer a full line, ranging from products for light incontinence, to briefs and pullups made for severe incontinence.  Exceptional products help improve the quality of life for incontinent people.

Someone wearing a high-quality product in the right size and absorbency level can be free from the fear of having an accident in public. They can live a more social life and sit on their friend’s couch with no worries of embarrassment. They can confidently enjoy dinner in a restaurant without humiliation.

No one ever wakes up one day and wants to be incontinent, but unexpected things happen.  For people who wear incontinence products it’s good to know they have options.  When choosing products, it is important to choose wisely.

Fully breathable incontinence products, for example, help reduce the risk of skin breakdowns as they allow the skin vapors to breathe. Premium products more often than not, will have a soft non-woven extra dry system that provides a feeling of dryness and comfort for users.

It is also important to choose products that have inner leak guards as this feature reduces urine odor and reduces having to change wet sheets and/or soiled garments.  The construction features of high-quality products also help to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.

With so many options on the market to choose from, choosing products that are fully breathable, super absorbent, have inner leak guards, and are made of soft materials for comfort can make a significant difference related to quality of life, regardless of age, for people who are challenged with incontinence.

Some companies even provide free samples because they believe people should try before they buy.

Every day, people all around us may be struggling with diseases, chronic medical conditions, and/or may be victims of circumstance. Some struggles may be more obvious than others.

We don’t need to fully understand what someone is going through to offer empathy. Showing compassion should not be based on our ability to comprehend the level of one’s suffering, but rather a choice each of us makes to offer help and consideration.

When it comes right down to it, one never knows when they too may be caught by surprise.

TZMO Seni USA on Dementia MapSuzi Fox
TZMO USA Inc. – Seni

Suzi Fox is a Regional Sales Manager for Seni. She and Seni help people to live healthier, happier lifestyles with less worry.

She believes dignity and confidence are two of the most important gifts we can give to others.

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