James Ashwell shares his thoughts on three products that would have really helped while caring for his own mum

Washable Incontinence Full Briefs (£24.95)

Incontinence was one of the most difficult challenges I had to face when caring for Mum. Physically I struggled with the odour and emotionally I struggled with – well – everything. I can’t imagine how embarrassing it must have been for Mum to have her son assisting her with something so personal, so I’m passionate about finding incontinence products which also help to preserve dignity. These knickers look very similar to normal knickers and come in five different styles so you can choose whichever style your loved one usually prefers.

Waterproof Duvet Set – Blue Swallow (£33.32)

Waterproof bedding can make incontinence far more manageable but finding something suitable can be difficult. When caring for Mum I got through several different types of bedding before finding the right one. I tried a range from Argos which was useless, I then tried a more expensive range I found online which was just as useless.

For me, a high quality mattress protector that could be wiped clean every day, was really important. I didn’t know that waterproof bedding and duvet covers even existed but I’m really pleased they do and that we’re able to offer them to customers. We’re still developing our bedding range to make sure we have a really wide selection to choose from.

Tena U-Test (£16.19)

One of the worst things when caring for my mum was when she got a urinary tract infection (UTI) – something that may happen regularly if a loved one becomes incontinent. It made her extremely delusional which was very unpleasant for her and very worrying for me and my siblings. She would develop a UTI a couple of times despite our best efforts to avoid them, and it was hard because we didn’t know if it was the dementia that had got worse or if it was the infection. Also collecting urine to find out if it was an infection is not a pleasant job to do, especially for a loved one and is particularly difficult to do on someone with dementia who isn’t very co-operative, despite us trying to explain what was happening.

The Tena U-Test is pad that you stick onto incontinence pads and is able to detect whether the wearer has developed a UTI, providing results in just 15 minutes. A product like this would have made our lives much easier by avoiding the undignified job of collecting urine and allow us to know, without having to visit the GP, that the issue was a UTI, meaning we could get it treated more quickly and get her back to normal faster.

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