How to Confront a Roommate With Incontinence
Incontinence is a condition where a person permanently or temporarily loses control over urinating. It could cause a person to urinate at odd times and may lead to embarrassment, frustration and shame. Talking about incontinence can be difficult, so it should be done with some planning.
Contemplating on How to Discuss an Embarrassing Topic
Observe your roommate for a few days to make sure she is actually incontinent as this is a potentially embarrassing topic to discuss. Next, evaluate your relationship with your roommate. Are you both close enough that you can talk about anything? Is she antagonistic toward you? Is she easy to speak to without getting angry or quarrelsome?
Based on your observations and evaluation, make a decision as to whether you should have someone close to your roommate speak with her, or if you will do it yourself. If you decide to do the talking yourself, pick a method and a goal for the discussion. The goal could be to encourage your roommate to seek medical help. Your approach should be geared toward making your roommate perceive you as a helper and a friend.
Prepare yourself for your roommate’s reaction when you discuss this subject with her and focus on reaching your goal by not getting angry or upset. Pick a date and time that works for both of you, take your roommate to a quiet private place and open the discussion by saying, “I am worried about you, and I think it’s time for you to see a doctor.”
Talk to her in a matter-of-fact tone and let her know that incontinence is common among women and men of all ages and that there are treatments for it. Also tell her that you don’t want her to develop complications farther down the road, which is why you want her to see a doctor.
Ask her how she feels about the situation and listen to what she says. Acknowledge her feelings by saying something like “This must be hard for you and thank you for sharing that with me.” Then encourage her to make an appointment with her doctor. If she doesn’t follow up with an appointment, consider asking someone close to her to persuade her to see a doctor.