How to Connect the Dots: Simplifying Incontinence Care for Loved Ones

Submitted by Suzi Fox
Regional Sales Manager
TZMO USA Inc. – Seni

Have you noticed a buying pattern in the US where many consumers think buying low-cost products will save them money?  Does it really save them money, or does it end up costing them more in the long run?

For many goods and services purchased today, choosing inferior product brands strictly based on price, over higher quality brands, can result in many negative outcomes.  Damage to a person’s physical state, emotional well-being, and overall financial circumstances can be affected.

An Example: Tanya and Frank

Let’s look at Tanya’s life for example. She flourished in a career that she loved and just recently retired. The timing for her retirement was perfect since her dad, Frank, recently needed some additional attention. Frank had been living on his own since Tanya’s mom passed away.

Fortunately, Frank was still social and was able to adapt to his new way of life after losing his wife of many years. Frank was fit and healthy.  He did his own cooking, took outings with friends, and loved to laugh.

His daughter Tanya recently noticed that Frank was having some recent challenges with incontinence.  While Frank’s accidents were on occasion, Tanya felt that she could help her dad by buying him some products for light incontinence.

Tanya had many choices at the big box store where she shopped, and chose a brand based on her limited knowledge about incontinence.  She vaguely recalled a television commercial about her chosen product and the price was a few dollars less per pack than other brands on the shelves.  Tanya thought to herself, “if it’s good enough for the folks dancing happily on TV commercials, then certainly it’s good enough for my dad.”  She purchased a pack of products and brought them to Frank.

As with most consumers, Tanya had never engaged in a discussion about incontinence, nor had she ever read any articles about this often-overlooked topic.  With no ill will intended, Tanya picked a product brand based on the size, a price tag, and a vague recollection of a related commercial.

Not long after Frank started wearing this brand, he contracted a urinary tract infection.  In fact, Frank had multiple UTI’s over the course of several months.  Frank’s UTI’s were first treated by a clinician with medications and unfortunately, he ended up in the hospital as a result of his condition.  His daughter started to notice a decline in her dad’s memory right around the same time that he was having challenges with UTI’s.

Hindsight is 2020

Tanya unfortunately was not able to connect the dots that urinary tract infections can cause memory loss and escalate to disorientation, agitation, and overall cognitive decline.  Again, no ill intent on Tanya’s part whatsoever, but more of a classic example of how the lack of education regarding implications that may happen when the chronic condition of urinary incontinence crosses paths with inferior products.

With Frank’s memory now declining, Tanya thought that working with a home care agency to help her dad with daily chores would help keep him happily aging in place at home.  Instead, Frank quickly expressed his lack of desire to have anyone in his home to help.  Tanya was worried about her dad and so she decided to tour a local assisted living community where she knew Frank had friends.  Tanya thought this would be a great option for her father.

Tanya thought to herself, “they have delicious food, he already knows people there, they offer lots of social activities, and it’s in his hometown so other friends and family would be close enough to visit too. This could work.”

Frank warmed up to the idea and moved into the assisted living community.  Their community caregivers suggested that Frank try a different brand of incontinence product as they noticed his current pullup was leaking terribly through his pants and the leakage was also causing him to be soaking wet at night.

Unfortunately, Frank was also having some accidents on the community’s furniture in the common areas.  Frank tried the product suggested by the community and sadly he contracted yet another urinary tract infection.

Franks’ memory continued to decline, and he started becoming combative with the community staff each time they attempted to help him with a product change or a clothing change.

Tanya was becoming increasingly concerned that her dad may be asked to leave the assisted living community due to his declining memory.  While this community also had a memory care community, there were no current openings and so families understood that should their loved ones need additional services beyond the scope of the community’s license, they would need to look elsewhere for their loved one’s care.

If Frank was asked to leave, where was Tanya going to place dad?  What are the costs associated with moving a loved one from one community to another?  What are the expenses associated with hiring movers again? How much time is it going to take to not only locate a new community, but then actually make the move?

Tanya began to think about all these things.

With continued medical bills flowing in from her dad’s UTI’s and related hospital admissions, Tanya’s stress level was escalating.  She was worried about her dad.  She was worried about his finances which ultimately affected her finances too.

Could any of this have been avoided?

Knowledge is power. When we are confronted with a new situation that we know very little about, the best thing we can do is to empower ourselves with information and education to best understand our options.

Did you know that If incontinence was a country, it would be the third largest nation in the world?  Incontinence is not a little problem, but rather an elephant in the room that impacts millions of people daily. With such a wide variety of products and brands on the market today, it is important to understand that an individualized approach to managing incontinence can make a huge difference for people who are challenged with this common chronic condition.

Understanding Levels of Incontinence & Options Available

People who have light incontinence may just need a urinary incontinence pad to help them with small amounts of urine leakage.  For people who may have more episodes of incontinence with larger volumes of urine, there are a variety of pull-ups as well as tab style products on the market as options.

Tab style products are often referred to as briefs and pull-ups are often referred to as active disposable underwear.  For people like Frank, who may be living with dementia, wearing a pull-up may be a great option as a pull-up looks similar to a person’s own underwear, thus causing less stress and worry for the user.

When choosing incontinence products, it is important to choose wisely.  Look for products that are fully breathable, have inner leak guards, and have no plastic acquisition distribution layer. Consider buying products in a home medical supply store or independent pharmacy as you may find store staff can help you with guidance.

Looking back, if Tanya had more education about incontinence products, the risk of Frank contracting his initial urinary tract infection may have been reduced. Perhaps the negative ripple effects that followed would have been lessened or may not have happened at all.

When people are struggling with these types of challenges, understanding how to better manage continence care and how to choose proper products is the key to people having better outcomes, clinically, socially, and financially.

Understanding incontinence and its implications can help people connect the dots more easily, with far less stress.  Being proactive to educate yourself now about incontinence, versus waiting until you find yourself in a situation where this topic becomes top of mind, is highly recommended.  After all, connecting the dots can simplify the process and end up saving you time and money in the long run.

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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