Incontinence, or urinary leakage, affects an estimated 1.4 million Malaysians with 1 in 3 women over age 40 and 1 in 10 men over age 65 having some form of the condition, but only 31% of them have sought medical advice. This means many people suffer in silence, including aging parents who may be embarrassed or take great effort to conceal it from their children.
Recognising that many are reluctant to speak openly about this, TENA’s “Apa Khabar Mak Abah?” Campaign, supported by the Continence Foundation of Malaysia (CFM), aims to encourage children to be more alert and attentive to their aging parents’ wellbeing. By providing educational resources and support, they can be more aware and recognise signs that their own parents may be suffering in silence.
“Incontinence can affect an individual’s mobility and quality of life, which is worrisome for the people who love and care for them. What’s more, their embarrassment or the fear of social stigma can make it difficult for them to talk about it. At TENA, we recognise the need for greater awareness and understanding so they feel more comfortable about seeking help, with the support of their children,” said Evelyn Chan, Marketing Director, Vinda Group Southeast Asia.
“This is why the “Apa Khabar Mak Abah?” Campaign encourages family members, especially children, to watch out for tell-tale signs that their parents may be trying to cope with the condition, and to take necessary steps to help, so that incontinence can be managed effectively. In line with this, TENA provides educational tools, resources and also holistic solutions to help with urine leaks, such as TENA Pants, an absorbent underwear which enables continued mobility and freedom to do what one needs to do without being hindered by the condition,” she added.
Explaining further, Dr Peter Ng, consultant urologist and president of Continence Foundation Malaysia, said: “Many people suffer needlessly even though incontinence is easily managed with the right knowledge and support. While it’s difficult to change mindsets, especially among the elderly, engaging with their family members is a good place to start. We hope for children to educate themselves so they can be aware if their parents are suffering silently. With the help of their loved ones, they can retain their freedom to move around and enjoy their golden years without fear or embarrassment.”
“As a caregiver, I definitely appreciate having tools and resources available to help us understand urinary incontinence better,” said Juriah binti Jalalus Shuti whose mother Aminah has been suffering from the condition for the past four years. “This campaign encourages children like me to really take notice, because if my siblings and I did not notice the little tell-tale signs in 2014, it probably would have taken longer for Mak to get to where she is today : free to carry out her daily activities and even travel without worries, thanks to TENA. Our parents took care of us when we were young, and I believe it is now our turn to care for them in their golden years.”
The campaign offers valuable resources in the form of:
- An online Self-Checklist which highlights simple changes in their parents’ usual behaviour such as using the toilet too frequently or avoiding outings where toilet facilities are not easily available; these could indicate they are trying to cope with incontinence. Children are encouraged to take a look at the checklist for themselves, in order to be more aware and take note of these changes in their parents;
- The Caring 101 Handbook developed with input from a panel of medical experts, offers a helpful look at the changes that come with age, together with practical solutions on how best to care for aging parents;
- Caring 101 Educational Videos for hands-on tips and advice from medical professionals so children can increase their knowledge and be empowered in their role as caregivers;
- A toll-free helpline 1-800-88-9988 or Facebook chat option at TENA Facebook Page (available for assistance from 9AM to 5PM, Monday to Friday).
With this knowledge, family members are empowered to help, be it starting a conversation, purchasing absorbent pants or seeking medical advice, so that their loved ones can continue to do what they love most, without worries about incontinence holding them back from living freely and confidently.