6 Common Myths Surrounding Stomas
Many elderly people wear stomas, and usually these are perfectly manageable for them, even though they may require some help from you or a care worker. Perceptions surrounding stomas have improved over recent years as public awareness has grown, but there are still many myths surrounding them.
It is important to know what these myths are because they could make your elderly relative uncomfortable wearing a stoma. They may have the wrong opinion of them, and you can help to allay their concerns.
Myth 1: They Are Very Noticeable
The most common fear for people who have to use a stoma is that everyone will be able to notice it. However, you can reassure your elderly relative that no one will know it is there, and there is no reason to feel ashamed about wearing one.
Myth 2: You Cannot Enjoy the Same Hobbies
Many people wrongly worry that they will not be able to enjoy their favourite activities once they are using a stoma. But you can continue to enjoy an active lifestyle just the same as before.
After the surgery, the person wearing the stoma should avoid strenuous activities for a few weeks. But after that, they can partake in all of their favourite activities.
This even includes swimming. Some people worry that the bag will come loose, but modern bags will not come off and water is not harmful to them.
Myth 3: Cleaning Stomas Is Difficult
Stomas must be kept clean, and this helps keep the wound clean to reduce the risk of infection. However, this is not a difficult process. Normally it is simple and quick to do, and it involves nothing more than a cloth and warm water.
Myth 4: Stomas Have a Bad Smell
This is one of the most common myths surrounding stomas, but it is completely unfounded. Older bags may have contributed to this myth, but modern appliances are made from materials that ensure they do not smell at all.
Myth 5: Not Many People Wear Them
About one in every 500 people in the UK wears a stoma, which is a lot of people. In fact, you probably come across people every day who wear one. In the UK, there are over 120,000 people who wear them, so your elderly relative will not be alone.
Myth 6: A Stoma Is a Permanent Change
Sometimes wearing a stoma is a permanent solution, but not always. Stomas can sometimes be temporary, and it depends on the condition. For something like inflammatory bowel disease, for example, a stoma is often just a temporary solution.
Where to Get More Help and Support
There are some good resources online where you can find further help and support, including the Colostomy Association. You may also want to talk to your relative’s doctor for advice, and you can also talk to other people who already have stomas to find out from them about any tips they have.
If you want to arrange care for your elderly relative, make sure you find care workers who are experienced in stoma care, like our specialist service at Comfort Keepers. We also work with the stoma team specialists at hospitals in Sussex, so we can provide the high level of care that you expect.