I received a lot of comments from readers on my previous post “What to do if your aging parent is the opposite gender and needs help using the restroom.” I thought it helpful to share to 1) show you’re not alone if you’re in this situation and 2) you can do this. Good luck and thanks again to TWAP readers for sharing your thoughts. Here are just a few of the comments I received:
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TrishaA: You do what you have to do for your parents. They did for you, then it’s your turn to do for them. My dad never got this far, but his mom did and he helped her in and out of her adult diapers, as did mom and me. That’s what we do for the ones we love.
DeborahG: My mom would ask for help from strangers when in dire need if my dad needed help with the men’s room. Generally men were fabulously helpful without any trouble. If needed, mom would knock loudly, announce herself and walk into the men’s room. She gave my Dad the ability to keep an outstanding quality by her constant advocacy in any way needed. We should all be blessed by such a fierce love. Once dad started to ease into the end, all sense of embarrassment left. If you are using adult diapers and can no longer change them yourself, you learn to tolerate embarrassment. When the time came, toward the end, for me to help with changes, I was one of many helping with the process. We did what we had to do… Each of us, but bravest of all was Dad.
LukeP: I’ve done it with my Mother and it was no problem. Better me than a stranger. You just do what has to be done and move on.
KimC: I was at a rest stop once and an elderly gentleman asked if I would help his wife. There were no family facilities in the rest stop.
TammyM: It would be very helpful if more places had family restrooms.
KathleenQ: Get over yourself and help.
SallyO: I like this post. I finally found what I’ve needed. Thank you Valerie for sharing. My father is unable to control his bowels, so taking him out was stressful even to hospital visits. Having to prepare all his medications, clothing to adult diapers and basic needs to keep him clean and comfy. Usually the first thing I try to look for whenever we go to new places is the toilet. Is it nearby? I’m from Penang, Malaysia. I would consider Penang (Malaysia) a good place for elderly to visit. Most of the shopping malls in Penang have toilets for handicapped. Watch out for snatch thieves. I can see a lot of elderly Europeans of my parents age traveled to Penang, having a nice stroll, sunbathing and enjoying themselves. It’s a small island, it’s nice to walk around. Can reach several places of landmark within short period of time around Penang. Many hospitals within short distance reach. The locals mostly able to speak English. Weather can be hot and humid though.
Thank you for all the comments and advice. Clearly something many of us are struggling with. However, if you approach your parents with compassion and dignity, any embarrassment can be overcome.