Ins and Outs of Incontinence 0
Adult incontinence is an issue we may face to some degree at some point in our lives. It happens to all types of people; athletes, pregnant woman, those who have gone through certain surgeries, and those of us who are getting older. In this article, we’re going to talk about the products used to make daily life more comfortable when dealing with incontinence, and just how common these items are for daily living!
Often described as disposable underwear, these type of incontinence products don’t have the side fasteners. Instead they pull up like regular underwear but have the same absorbency range as the diapers. Both options are for those who need more protection throughout the day, or for those who like the security of underwear more than the feeling of a pad. Pull ups are a great option for those that have more mobility. You can also increase the level of comfort by using skin creams, wearing loose fitting clothing, and making sure you have the correct sizing! Most products will come with a size chart, but to measure you just need to measure the hips or waist. Once you try the product, make sure the cuffs aren’t too tight on the legs or waist, or too loose.
Diapers are the option that is usually chosen for person who do not have a complete range of mobility. They do offer the same comfort and discreet nature the pull on has, but they have the tabs on the side to make changing easier for the person or caregiver. Like the pull on, diapers come in different ranges of absorbency and styles, like a belted garment versus a tab garment (will add links to products). These products can also be paired with skin creams or barrier creams to protect from chaffing and make it more comfortable for the wearer.
Some products will even have different colors or feels to make them look and feel more like regular everyday underwear. In previous years, they very much resembled what children wear, which is one of the reasons there’s a lot of taboo around talking about our need for pull ons and adult diapers. But now with advancements in the technology, making these not only more comfortable to wear, but more discreet, companies are now focusing on making them more fun to wear!
Inserts are also known as boosters. These are inserted into diapers and pull ups for added absorbency for those who need it or if you’re wearing them overnight. These will also help protect against leaks, but they shouldn’t be used in place of actually changing the garment. We’d also like to note, most leaks are often caused by incorrect sizing, but if you know you won’t be able to change or you just want that extra protection, these are a great way to make you feel comfortable and confident! If you need more information, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Pads and liners are for lighter protection or for those who only need protection during activities. Much like the diapers and pull ups, the packaging has changed to be more fun and geared towards making the product more desirable for those using it! They may not come in the fun colors, but they are much more inviting than they have been in the past.
Pads and liners have the adhesive back that you can stick in your underwear and dispose of just as easily. However don’t mistake them for menstrual pads, the absorbency materials are different. Menstrual pads are for thicker liquid, while the incontinence pads and liners are meant to soak up liquid faster to prevent both leakage and skin irritation. It’s also something to keep in mind, these can sometimes look like the booster pads but they shouldn’t be used the same way! Because pads and liners can have the plastic backing, it wouldn’t soak through into the diaper or pull up; it would just stay in the pad and end up leaking or causing skin irritation. No one has time to deal with that when you’re on the go!
Skin and barrier creams are meant to keep your skin healthy and free of irritation while you’re using the incontinence protection products. There are times that your skin may be at risk of rash or irritation, which can allow bacteria to enter the skin and either make the irritation worse or cause infection. Skin creams can also help alleviate pain you may feel and moisturize the skin to protect from chafing.
There are many brands that will meet your needs to make living with incontinence easier. You can check out our incontinence page to browse through, or the specific pages linked in the topics!
- Sacha Kohler
An Honest Conversation About Rehab 0
Rehab-- I think the word strikes a fear in the heart of seniors and their families.
Rehab-- I’m fragile, dependent on others, need help with simple tasks- what the heck?!
My 92 year old grandmother recently fell and broke her hip while out of town at her great grandson’s wedding. Unexpected. Unplanned. The last thing she needed to go through, especially away from home.
Thankfully she is a strong, feisty lady who went through surgery with flying colors. But now, rehab! My aunt had to make arrangements, with a short time frame, to find a place that my grandmother could heal, be cared for, have physical and occupational therapy so she could regain the ability to walk on her own and manage her daily tasks. The first place she was referred to was close to where my cousin lives- but would not take her insurance (who knew to be on the lookout for that?).The next place, and the one where she is currently recovering in, far from her family but considered one of the top places to go.
My grandmother is one of the lucky ones, she has a lot of grandchildren and we are all taking turns flying across the country to spend a few days with her so she is never left alone. The planning alone on this is heating up our specially created Whatsapp. Who is coming? When? For how long? What is the address again? So what do we DO exactly while we are there? The questions come fast and furious. Should we help her get dressed, or does she need to do that on her own so she regains her independence? Are we supposed to do anything while we are there, or is it enough that we are visiting with her? How do we help her walk? How far? What if she doesn’t want to?
It’s enough to make your head spin- and that is just the behinds the scenes brouhaha. What about communicating with the therapists? The physicians? The rehab coordinators?
I’ve been in this industry for 22 years and it never fails to amaze me that everyone and I mean EVERYONE is caught off guard when dealing with this. Of course they are- who wants to plan for these situations? And frankly, how can you, we don’t know what is coming down the pike.
The very nice lady in the neighboring bed is 97 years old, had been living alone until just now, when she fell. She has two devoted sons who take turns coming daily and spending the day with her, encouraging her to eat, to get dressed, to go for a spin in her wheelchair and to stay engaged with her life.
One of her sons and I got to talking and commiserating about how unplanned this was for them. He thought he had her power of attorney, only to find out that the papers had not been signed. Good thing that she was still in a mental state to give him the legal power of attorney with the traveling notary there. But her insurance was not going to cover more than a few more days and they were scrambling to figure out their next steps. She is lucky, she has the financial resources to allow her more options for her next stay- but they still needed to figure out what her options even were. They were thinking it would have to be a skilled nursing center, though they were not that thrilled with the option but they thought that for sure 24 hour in- home care would be unaffordable and that he had heard about adult care homes, but his wife wasn’t thrilled about that option.
Since we have been working with clients in all of these facilities, I encouraged him to really check them out and find the best one for his mom. The good news is that there are options and if you have the financial resources, you have a lot more control and ability to find the option to best meet your own particular need.
Walking through the rehab center for a few days I noticed a few things:
- There are a lot of devoted family, friends and community members who make the effort and take the time to visit their loved ones, sometimes daily and for the most part, these were the patients who engaged, were alert, had their hair done etc.
- There are some patients of the facility who don’t have visitors and could really use them- just to say hi and give a few minutes of their time, make them feel wanted and special, if only for a few minutes
- The caregiver- well the caregivers- unbelievable, dedicated, hardworking. Think about it, can you see yourself doing the work they do? I love my grandmother and was there to care just for her and I was exhausted at the end of the day. These caregivers, of all ages (by the way) are working with multiple patients, doing the dirty work their family would prefer not to do, dealing with varying medical needs- one woman was chastising her mother who was hitting her caregiver- I mean, sure this is a job- but Starbucks has got to be an easier one! And yes, not all caregivers are created equally but by and far, they deserve our utmost respect.
- It’s absolutely vital for your loved one to have a REASON to improve- or they won’t. It’s far easier to stay in bed, ask for help to get up and get dressed and do everything you need and have your meals brought to you on a tray. Far harder is pushing yourself to walk through the pain, to learn how to put on your socks with a sock aid. Give them constant reminders of what they are working TOWARD.
So, with the reality of my work life diving directly into my personal one, I thought it would be a great idea to put together a sort of “how to” when your loved one suddenly needs rehab/ recovery time post a major medical experience.
- Make sure to meet with the discharge planners in the hospital as soon as possible to start planning the details for discharge. If post discharge requires a stay in a rehabilitation facility, they can give you referrals for facilities that can assist with your particular needs. Hint: we were told do drop in to the facilities that we were considering rather than making an appointment- so you can see the facility in action without the benefit of them preparing especially for your visit.
- Your local Area Agency on Aging can be a great resource for different services available in your community: https://www.n4a.org/
- You can also ask for referrals from friends and families- don’t try to invent the wheel if you don’t have to. There are also companies and professionals from senior care advisors to elder care attorneys who can assist you with finding the services that you need.
- Find out what medical equipment may be needed post discharge. Most facilities will provide the basics for you to use while you are there, items like a wheelchair, reacher or sock aid and bathroom assistive equipment but you will likely need to purchase some of those items for use after the rehab stay. Some of those products may be paid for by your insurance but most bathroom and aids to daily living products are not covered by insurance.
- Create a family whatsapp or group google doc that everyone visiting can enter notes so that if you have multiple people coming, the care is more seamless. Hopefully you are in a situation that you have friends and family who are able to come and visit/ care for your loved one while they are in the rehab- even if it is for a few hours a day, it makes an enormous difference.
- Make sure that facility staff knows who you are, who you are visiting- be visible. For best care it is good for the staff knows there are loved ones watching out, ready to pitch in if needed but mostly, keeping an eye on what is going on.
- Who is responsible for communicating with the rehab facility- for ease of communication, it’s always best to have one person be the lead on this.
- Where will your loved one go post discharge from the rehab facility? Does the space need any modification or equipment to make transitioning easier and safer? Will hired assistance be needed? Will physical therapy and/ or occupational therapy be needed? Is there a recommended home health agency that you can work with to send in home care to facilitate the therapy?
- What kind of follow up is needed? Where and when?
The bottom line is-- you need to be proactive. Unfortunately, the time is short and the work can be great- 20 days in rehab might seem like plenty of time to get things arranged but you’d be surprised by how fast those days will fly.
You can do this! And your loved one will benefit dramatically from your care and attention.
You can also check out this guide from the United Hospital Fund: https://www.nextstepincare.org/uploads/File/Guides/Rehabilitation/Going_Home/Rehab_to_Home.pdf
We also have an amount of products that can help the transition to home easier once you're at that step! Just check out our Live Well page!
- ArenaThemes Collaborator
Final Thoughts: Father's Day 0
True to my nature, I failed to create a listicle for things you can do for father's day. Though I’m sure some of you found things to do like, barbecuing, getting your father figure a tie, going to breakfast, or doing a number of things that are traditional and fun. So, again, true to my nature, I feel the need to make up for it by gushing about my loved one. I feel like these personal posts give our readers something to relate to, or something to feel good about or just give us as a company some grounding.
Back at it with the personal stories.
Back in high school, I took a creative writing class and for my projects wrote an entire series about the hands of people I knew. My friends, family, my own hands, the hands of people I talked to in passing, whatever gave me inspiration. The poems told stories about how they came to be with bruises, missing fingers, and how the hands of my family had worn and scarred over time. One poem in particular, my teacher really liked, was about my father and his hands.
My dad was a military man. His hands are rough and calloused with thick palms, scars, and permanently bruised or broken nails. His joints are swollen from broken fingers that didn’t heal correctly and from the arthritis now causing him pain. But they are still large and strong, and fit so perfectly with my mother’s small, delicate fingers. I used to always watch as her fingers reached for his as we walked down city streets or through a park, how they looked so different but complemented each other so well. When I think of strength, durability, and commitment, I think of that image. I think of my dad’s hands and how they’ve been used for both war, work, and holding his children or his wife.
Much like my mom, my dad and I weren’t always close. If he and my mom weren’t fighting, then he was fighting with me. My dad spent most of his years in the small towns of Missouri, and both had a child and joined the military at a young age. This was years before he met my mom, but I like to think the traumas of their childhoods are what bonded them together, because I honestly can’t think of a reason they’d work. Not only did they fight a lot when I was growing up, but I’ve heard the stories of how my dad asked my mom on their first date, and all you need to know is that my dad is a huge nerd and it was not an impressive tactic.
But it worked.
My dad, with his worn hands, hard life, and ‘charming’ personality is actually a total day dreamer, and my mom, with her delicate fingers, knack for the arts, and love for farm animals, is the more of a realist. I will never, I repeat, never, go to my mom when I want someone to be encouraging. At least not at first. My mother will always tell me she believes in me, and whether she likes it or not, support me, but not before she tells me the cons to my plan or thoughts. My dad on the other hand, is a daydreamer much like me.
The man has an affinity for gathering old things and fixing them (computers, motor bikes, motor homes things like that), or taking in small animals like guinea pigs or birds. I think his impulsive ideas are the reason why we bonded. I very much have a tendency to take my ideas and run with them without putting a lot of thought into the plan, and my dad is very encouraging of the things I want to do. Whether it was wanting to be president, be a lawyer, be a doctor, be a lawyer-doctor-president, my dad told me to just go for it. My mom, to clarify, did the same but it was more ‘you’ll have to do one before the other’ and I didn’t like that, as true as it was.
As we’ve gotten older, we’ve become less daydreamy and more grounded. Still with the big ideas, but now both my parents are on the same wave length. They both have the need to explore and enjoy life and encourage me and my brothers to do the same. My dad will be the first I go to when something's wrong with my car, and the person I go to when I want my ego inflated before I got to my mom to hear the ‘well maybe you shouldn’t do that’ or the ‘well that’s all I can really tell you’.
My dad is the one I can sit in silence with and occasionally just nod my head and agree with whatever story he’s telling me; the type of man that I think should’ve been a business man, enjoying warm days off, air conditioned offices, company holidays and not having to work so hard well into his 50’s. But for the life he has, and I believe he’s happy with. now I think he just needs a nice porch, some tea, my mom and their twenty tiny animals. He just needs a place where he can rest his worn hands and sit in the quiet with my mom.
Similarly to my last article, I’m coming to terms with the fact that he’s not immortal either, and I will one day have to write poems and stories about how his hands used to be, and have to turn to someone else to call when my car makes a funny noise, and will have to sit in silence on my own. But also like my mom, my dad is the person I trust most in this life, and it pains me being so far away from him.
If you’re fortunate and are close to your father figure, or still have your father around, I hope you both had a great father's day. That his hands rested well and he was able to kick his feet up on a comfy chair, and enjoy the things he loves most. Whether it be small animals, fixing cars, or the aforementioned new tie.
Happy (belated) Father’s Day,
- Sacha Kohler
There Is Nothing More Patriotic Than Being A Good Neighbor 0
The title of this article sounds a lot like a Mr. Rogers episode, but it's the truth, and the idea for it sparked after an incident at my apartment complex a few nights ago. Summer vacation started, which means kids are home and staying out late, which is generally fine. I can sleep through almost anything including nuclear war and probably more, but recently my roommate and I have been hearing the kids around our complex out at around one or two in the morning, screaming as if they're being attacked. And that's worrisome until we hear the 'tag you're it!' or something along those lines, but then we realized the holiday for July falls on a Tuesday, and some real concern set in.
With June coming to a close and the holiday’s becoming a thing of the past, 4th of July still looms around the corner. For some it’s a great day to go out and barbecue, meet with families, or just enjoy the company of your loved ones when the night sky fills with colorful explosions. For the youngers it could be a day to go out and enjoy the lake, river or beach with friends, then gather around and watch that same sky with joy and awe. One thing I would like to talk about with this holiday, is being respectful.
The holiday can’t happen without the obvious laughter and joy that graces most neighborhoods around this time of years. But sometimes, the holiday falls on a work day, and while it’s fun to stay up and have your own after party once the city or town firework show has finished, some of us need to turn in early to get some sleep for the next day, and ear plugs don’t always cut it.
So what are some basics for being respectful and mindful this fourth of July?
- Simply get to know your neighbors. Knowing their background and customs will give you a good gauge of what they’re okay with and what they aren’t. And the more you talk, the more comfortable these conversations will be. It’ll let your neighbors know you’re open to the idea of meeting them halfway on their needs, or that you’re at least open to talk to. And the more you communicate, the more you’ll pick up on their daily schedule and vice versa.
- Don’t be out at all hours of the night with the fireworks. If you’re like me, you’ll probably done and ready for bed by 11 PM at latest, but for those with children or are a bit more into the holiday spirit, it may be harder to keep track of the summer time and know when to call it in. In general, no one likes being woken up at 3AM with a loud noise, but for those that are sensitive to loud noises, or have to get up at 5 AM, it’ll be even more unpleasant.
- During the hours you are setting off fireworks, try to be smart with them. Besides your own safety, certain types of fireworks could catch grass, trees, bushes, or homes on fire, or destroy property by exploding late. My boyfriend actually told me this story about a family member of his, that put a bucket over a firework, and when it shot off, the bucket exploded and all the debris went into the neighbor's yard. I could also tell you the story of a young me, who set off a firework too close to the grass, and caught our neighbor’s yard on fire. Not a good day.
- Lastly, remember to pick up your mess. We all know that it’s late and everyone’s had a long, fun day in the sun, but that trash could end up in the next yard over, be eaten by someone's pet or small child, or if you’re not careful, could still be burning and cause a fire. Picking up after yourself is just common decency, and also a safety precaution.
It doesn’t have to be a chore being considerate on the holidays, and being considerate shouldn’t be viewed as such. These are basic ideas that can apply year round, especially when you live in close quarters. Everyone deserves to have a good holiday and end the day knowing they’re going to be rested in the morning, and that their neighbors are going to take care of their own business.
- Sacha Kohler
Summertime Sadness: Dealing with Allergies 0
Personally, summer has never been my season. I don’t like the heat, and most of the states I’ve lived in have had a great amount of cotton or pollen in the air, so my allergies go haywire.
Recently, it came to my attention that I may not be the only one who suffers from the summer blues and spends most of the months eating Zyrtec like it’s candy and praying for rain to help dampen everything (I know. Shocking.). So this blog is for those who need some guidance on surviving the summer, and maybe a few alternatives for the days where going outside just isn’t going to happen.
- Drink plenty of water. Whether you’re an elderly folk, a child, somewhere in between it all, you’re going to need your water. It keeps you hydrated from the heat, and can help with those pesky allergies I was talking about earlier. The more hydrated you are, the more your body is able to function and filter what it needs to properly. Also, it’s ice cold water. There’s nothing better than that on a hot summer day.
- Use hats, sunglasses, and remember to bring a change of clothes. If it’s pollen that bother you, shades and a hat will keep it out of your eyes and your hair, and changing your clothes will make it easier to strip yourself out of the items that soaked up all the pollen and other irritants in the air. Plus, these items will protect you from the sun as well, which is nothing but a double bonus.
- Choose your brigade of medicines carefully. Everyone experiences allergy symptoms differently, some are the normal sneezing, itchy eyes, or runny nose, but some people (like me) get some bad congestion, and Benadryl doesn’t cut it when easing the symptoms. Finding a decongestant that suits you will be helpful for enjoying your summer days, but again make sure you read if these medications will affect anything you’re already taking, and remember to drink plenty of water since most of these medicines can dehydrate you.
- For extreme symptoms, it may be a good idea to ask your doctor about nasal sprays or going to the store and picking up a neti pot. The neti pot will at least help flush out your sinuses and keep any bacteria from growing and starting an infection. From first hand experience, neti pots actually feel pretty good, too.
- Lastly, let's talk about your eyes. Don’t press on them, don’t rub them, don’t touch them. Not only could you damage your cornea from scratching it, but according to visionsource, rubbing can release more histamines into your eyes and making the itching worse. Get some eye drops, splash some water on your face, and take medication that works for you when easing your symptoms.
- Sacha Kohler