AARP AARP States Oregon

The Dreaded Change

Dick Weinman

Pampers. GoodNites. Jockey. Depends. The circularity of life.

I remember my kids’ transition from diaper to training pants to underwear: off with the diaper, trying the training pants, testing the potty chair; edging closer to prepubescence, slipping into underwear/panties – all to cheers and handclapping. A move upward. Ascendancy. Pride.

Then the other way: reverse chronology. Groans not cheers. Sighs not clapping. Shame not Pride. The ineluctable, irreversible, inevitable change to Incontinence Products.

I look down the shelf of my super market. At the nearest end, the designator - Baby Products. At the furthest end, the sign proclaims - Incontinence Products. I roll my wheelchair down the aisle, look up, and am dazzled: there must be an enormous number of incontinent people with a diversity of conditions shopping for this age-old (oops, old-age) product - from the eponymous Depends to the Generic Store Brand. Then in between there’re Always, Tena, Poise, I can also chose the day-part: Regular (Day Time) or Overnight.

What joy! Not only can I get underwear, but – in case the brief is not doing its job well, I have a choice of Pads. And not only pads but how efficacious I want them to be - Regular Absorbency or Ultra? Now that’s democracy! Freedom of choice!

So, I exercise my right to chose. Then what? Feel and appearance. Don’t believe those commercials with the smiling faces. There’s nothing to smile about: they hurt; they scrape; they bloat the appearance of the crotch. There’s no hiding what you’re wearing.

But I guess that’s better than . . . .

Dick Weinman is an AARP volunteer and resident in an assisted living facility. He's our ALF Guru!

About AARP Oregon
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.