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“No, I Won’t Wear Them!”

May 2, 2022   Return

As many caregivers know, incontinence is a common condition among older adults. Most of them become easily embarrassed by their lack of bladder control, and choose to withdraw from the outside world – which can leave them prone to mood swings and even, depression.

Adult-absorbent products, such as adult diapers or pants, are a convenient solution to an incontinent person’s dilemma. After all, they are comfortable to wear and offer protection against leaks, wet spots and unfortunate odours that can arise. They also allow an older adult to have the confidence to remain social and active in ways that can improve their mental and physical well-being.

However, older adults may resist wearing these products due to embarrassment. If you are a caregiver and your charge is being uncooperative, here are some tips you can try:

  • Call them by another name. Most adults associate words such as “diapers” with babies, and they may feel that wearing these “diapers” are a sign that they are now helpless and weak. So, try calling them by other names, such as “pads”, “underwear” or anything else that will be better received by your charge.
  • Explain to them the benefits of wearing adult-absorbent products, and also point out how comfortable they can be. You can also indicate how closely they resemble ordinary underwear, so there is less fear of being “found out” if they peek out of one’s waistband.
  • You can also try appealing to their sense of vanity. For example, you can talk about how wearing such products would eliminate problems of embarrassing smells or leakages when one is out with friends and family.
  • Normalize the act of wearing such products. Do not make a fuss. Instead, portray the act of wearing them as nothing more different than, say, changing to a different type of underwear. Your charge may be more cooperative if he or she is not constantly reminded of the condition so often.
  • Have a family member or friend who is closer to your charge’s age to talk to your charge. Your charge may be more willing to listen to someone that seems to understand his or her predicament. If you can get someone who is already using adult-absorbent products to talk to your charge, even better!
  • Get a doctor or nurse to talk to your charge. He or she may be more amenable if the prep talk comes from a healthcare professional.   


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