When you’re dad’s caregiver

Communication is vital for a strong caregiving relationship. When you take on the role of dad’s caregiver, these tips can help ease some common challenges.

Listen

Being reliant on care may have a significant impact on your dad’s sense of self. Listen carefully to what he says with words, behavior and body language. Check in to understand his needs and how he would like to be supported. If your dad is the strong silent type, use clues you notice as openers for conversations about what he is thinking and feeling. Know when to probe and when to pull back.

Gain agreement

Help dad maintain his dignity by asking open ended questions and getting agreement whenever possible. Preserve his power to make choices whenever possible. For example, ask how deeply dad wants you to be involved in medical appointments or creating a daily care schedule.

Monitor for small signs of big problems

Particularly if dad is managing incontinence, skin care is critical. Small rashes can quickly become big problems. Head off trouble with an incontinence management plan that protects dad’s skin from moisture and keeps him dry. Men’s Liberty offers an easy to use proprietary system designed with dad’s dignity in mind. Apply once daily and dad will enjoy dry, accident free nights as well as freedom from worry all day. Unlike absorbents, Men’s Liberty is discreet, odor free and covered by Medicare, TriCare/VA and more than 3,000 insurance plans.

Review medications

Incontinence is a medical condition and can stem from a number of causes. Talk with dad about consulting his provider. Prostate health, certain kinds of medications and chronic health conditions, when addressed, can improve incontinence symptoms.

Encourage toileting if possible

If possible, support your dad to keep regular toileting habits. Men’s Liberty is easily emptied at home or on the road. If bowel incontinence is not a concern, encourage dad to empty the collection unit when he eliminates right in the toilet or urinal.

Make sure dad stays hydrated

Maintaining a healthy diet and adequate hydration will support dad’s overall health. Dehydration can aggravate incontinence, so be sure water is always available. Plenty of fiber is also important. Constipation, like dehydration, can worsen incontinence.

See the dad beyond the diagnosis

There are still many things that make your dad the unique man he always was. Make an effort to let him see you want to connect with him as a full human being, not merely a collection of conditions. Strive to find new ways to bond. Have meaningful conversations. Be open to exploring new paths in your relationship. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. As it has been said, you cannot serve from an empty cup. You both deserve your love and care.

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