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Petra's story

Elderly lady and younger woman laughing – stories from other caregivers

Petra and her mother's secret

"It was only because my mum had a fall that I found out about her incontinence. Now she’s relieved to be finally getting the help she deserves…”
 
“In her 50s, my mother was very outgoing. She had a sense of fun, and loved spoiling my kids. 
 
But as the years went by, she stopped coming to see us as often as she used to. And when she did, her visits were short. We couldn’t work out what was wrong. My brother and I thought my father’s passing might have caused the change in Mum’s behaviour. We weren’t sure though.
 
 Then, one day I received a phone call from the hospital to say that Mum had tripped up on a step and broken her leg. She’d be home in a few days but would need to come and stay with us until she was back on her feet.
 
Mum asked me to get a few things from home for her – including some sanitary towels. I did a double-take, as I knew she was well beyond her menopause. She went quite red with embarrassment as she explained she got the ‘odd leak’ and needed a bit of ‘padding’. She admitted that it was the reason she visited us less often. 
 
Mum couldn’t believe it when I actually laughed with relief. I told her that, like a lot of women who’ve had children, I had the odd leak whenever I coughed or lifted heavy things. She’d had three children herself but, surprisingly, had never experienced it before. I also told her she’d be much better off with proper incontinence products, as they’d help her feel much more secure, and stop any smells.
 
I could see the worry drop away from Mum’s face. I think knowing that someone as young as me – I’m 35 – has incontinence and isn’t that bothered by it was a huge relief. She now admits she should have mentioned it to her doctor (or even me) the moment it first happened, and not wasted months of unnecessary worry for both of us.”
 

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