COA has ‘abundance’ of free incontinence supplies

WESTFIELD-With an abundance of incontinence supplies available for older adults through the Westfield Council on Aging, staff members are encouraging city residents to reach out if they are in need of products.

“Incontinence supplies are incredibly expensive,” said Tina Gorman, executive director, Westfield COA. “Many of the city’s seniors are living on a fixed income and affordability is a huge issue.”

Gorman noted that the COA has been offering this service to Westfield’s older adults for many years.

“Incontinence items must be changed frequently in order to prevent skin breakdown and avoid infections,” said Gorman. “When cost is a factor, proper usage is often problematic.”

Incontinence supplies available free of charge include underwear in two styles – pull-ups that are similar to underpants and a wrap style that has tape tabs. Typically, the wrap style is used for those who are bed-bound.

An assortment of incontinence supplies are available free of charge at the Westfield Senior Center. (TINA GORMAN PHOTO)

The COA staff organizes incontinence supplies according to size – small, medium, large and extra-large – as well as gender since some products are male or female specific in design.

Products also offered free include pads for inside underwear and large square pads for a bed or chair.

“The products are primarily for seniors, however, if an adult with a disability has a need, we will try to help out,” said Gorman. “We have an abundance of the wrap style so those who have a need should call the senior center at (413) 562-6435.”

Area residents who also wish to donate incontinence products are welcome to do so, however, all donations must be unopened and in the original packaging.

“Donations can be left outside of the front door during our regular business hours with a note with the donor’s name and phone number,” said Gorman.

In addition to incontinence products, cloth face masks are also available free of charge.

“The Council on Aging staff encourages people to stop whispering about the problem of incontinence and discuss it as they would any other medical conditions,” said Gorman, adding that when the issue is discussed with a professional medical provider, oftentimes lifestyle changes and/or medications can be suggested.

“Having said that, we are respectful of the sensitivity of the issue and discreetly package the supplies for distribution,” said Gorman.

Gorman added that pick up of items are traditionally done curbside during the final 15 minutes of the weekday meal distribution, between 11:30 and 11:45 a.m.

“If that timeframe is inconvenient, we can schedule a pick up date and time,” she said.

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