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Continence stopping elderly gran from going out. Advice?

(21 Posts)
Hathor Thu 08-Jul-10 11:20:02

My elderly gran (86) has problems with leaking bladder in the daytime, and needs to change her underwear 3 times a day. This is stopping her going out and doing her usual activities, though she is quite mobile otherwise, as she wants to be at home to deal with it. This has come on gradually over the last few years.
I would like her to see the GP/practice nurse to find out if there is something that will help, but she is adamant there is nothing that will help, so won't talk to them about it, end of story. She does not want to wear pads, as thinks that will make it worse somehow.
Does anyone know how to persuade elderly ladies to go to the GP, or whether there is likely to be anything that can help if she does?

Butterbur Thu 08-Jul-10 11:34:27

My mum is the same age as your gran, and has problems with her bladder suddenly giving way. We only know about it because my dad told my sister etc. She doesn't go out much any more because of it, and also won't seek help.

When she was a bit younger,and only suffering occasional leakage she had a ring that goes in the vagina to support the neck of the bladder. It worked for years. I think it may have released oestrogen too.

There's very little help for your Gran if she won't ask for it.

Can you get some pads for her and casually leave them at her house? Maybe she would try them if she didn't have the hideous embarrassment of having to buy them. I can't imagine it's nice having to keep changing your underwear, and there's always the possiblity of leaks onto skirts/trousers, and even chairs, and of course, the fear of smelling of wee.

SwansEatQuince Thu 08-Jul-10 11:38:55

Does your local surgery or hospital have an Incontinence Advisor, Hathor?

this link may be helpful

Tena will send samples of comfortable and discreet underwear plus advice and perhaps your Gran would be willing to give them a try?
It is such a pity that this is preventing her leading a normal life when there are many products that are able to help her overcome her reluctance to go out.

We had this problem with my Dad and were able to manage it eventually, the hard part was attempting to let him know it was managable.

Also, has your Gran had any tests for a urinary infection? It may be prudent to take a sample in for a check.

Hathor Thu 08-Jul-10 11:40:53

I wish she would ask for some help from the health services. We have given her some continence pads, but she doesn't want to wear them. I have tried persuading her to talk to the GP, but she is stubbornly arguing against it, and I don't want to fall out with her.

CMOTdibbler Thu 08-Jul-10 11:41:58

My mum suffers from bladder leakage, and uses Tena Lady pads - they are so discreet (just like a panty liner), and absorb quite a bit apparently as well as stopping any smells.

Perhaps buy her a pack and say 'your friend was telling her how she leaks after the children and these really work, and you thought she could try them'

She really should see the GP to check for urine infections/prolapse/unstable bladder though

Hathor Thu 08-Jul-10 11:43:27

I wonder if it would do any good if I phoned the doctors to ask them to bring the subject up with her somehow next time she visits.
Is it possible to go behind someone's back like this and ask the doctor to not tell? Or would that be considered unethical?

Hathor Thu 08-Jul-10 11:46:05

Maybe I should get the pads out and show them to her and how neat they are - she was brought up in the time of giant sanitary pads and belts!

SwansEatQuince Thu 08-Jul-10 14:06:53

free Tena sample here plus that website has a 'Looking after loved ones' page which has some useful advice.

Your Gran will be from the generation that feels very sensitive about these sort of issues and she may be struggling to come to terms with the fact it is happening to her and yes, Hathor, the pads were massive and bulky in the past.

Hathor Thu 08-Jul-10 18:40:56

Thanks for the links/advice.

SuziKettles Thu 08-Jul-10 18:44:38

Yes, my gran has to use pads now (I only found out at Christmas when my mum asked me to get some when she ran out - she'd be apalled that I knew) but you'd really never know.

Dh's gran is the same - both in their late 80s, early 90s. I suspect most women her age are but it's never talked about. sad that it is affecting her like this because of perceived stigma. Poor lady.

Hathor Thu 08-Jul-10 19:15:47

Yes - that's the problem, getting her to admit it would be better if she got some help and talk to the doctor.
I am still wondering whether I should phone her doc (who I don't know) and ask them to bring the subject up without mentioning that I phoned. Would that be an acceptable thing to do according to the GP? I am not sure if it would be OK.

SuziKettles Thu 08-Jul-10 19:27:05

Well, I know when my other gran first was suspected of having dementia it was my mum & dad who visited her gp to talk to him about it and let him know they thought something was wrong. He then got her to visit the surgery on some other pretext.

I should imagine that the gp wouldn't be able to disclose any medical information to you, but you can give them information iyswim.

SwansEatQuince Thu 08-Jul-10 19:49:23

I wrote a letter to my dad's GP, Hathor, and explained his situation as I had no idea what to do, where to get pads/ pants or incontinence sheets for the bed.

GP handled things very well when he came up on a 'routine' visit and of course, did not mention anything to me. I was hugely grateful to him.

Hathor Thu 08-Jul-10 21:48:54

Thanks Swan, I may do that.

Hathor Thu 08-Jul-10 21:49:33

And Suzi and everyone else!

violetqueen Sat 10-Jul-10 22:48:58

I had incontenence following child birth and used Tena pads for a few years .
Finally had a small op - day surgery - that sorted it out .
I guess if you got GP involved I guess you could get pads on NHS ,or possibly option of surgery .
Though this does involve a certain amount of faffing about first - keeping a diary where you record all you drink and all you wee out ,plus tests .
Just wondering if GP really needs to be involved ,maybe just go for the pads ?
I always found it important to use pads with fairly snug fitting pants . Pad needs to be held in place close to body .
Good luck .

Eaglebird Wed 04-Aug-10 00:15:49

My Mam has had a weak bladder since having a stroke in January. I got her a pack of Tena Discreet pants 'to try', and she's been using them ever since.
They are quite slim, and look like the knickers she would normally wear, and they don't rustle when she moves.

Maybe your gran would be happier using 'pants' like these, instead of pads?

royguts Tue 25-Sep-12 15:31:36

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gussiegrips Sat 04-May-13 18:38:41

Continence is my thing...

I second everything that's been said - get GP involved.

Continence is one of these insidious things which can destroy lives. A third of women who leak also have depression, it's associated with heart disease (ever tried zumba with a leaky bladder? I did, wasn't pretty) and in the elderly, there's a risk of hip fractures in people who can't stay in bed all night, get up for a pee, slip and...<shudder>

So, check no UTI, check no prolapse, see if there's medication which can help, and whether she will be eligible for free pads or benefits to help with the extra washing.

Also - have a look at these guys. Absorbant, washable pants. The stuff is lovely, comfy, discreet and it works - I'm not associated in any way with them other than heartily approving their stuff broby

Pelvic floor exercises will improve most cases of continence - I've got a blurb on my website (find it via my profile, don't want to fall short of advertising rules) only, in the elderly it's usually a bit more complicated than simple new-mum-muscle-weakness.

PM me if you've got specific questions - happy to help. Not just your elderlies, either.

gussiegrips Sat 04-May-13 18:40:08

Tena pads et al are all very well - but they are expensive, and there is often an actual treatment.

No one has to just put up with it. Truly.

nicky200 Wed 25-May-16 07:07:13

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