Jack and Rebecca Sytsema
In 2001, our lives took an unexpected turn when our oldest son, who was a two-year-old at the time, was diagnosed with full-syndrome autism. Since that time we have dealt with the many challenges of this disorder, not the least of which has been incontinence. At the age of 16, our son remains both bowel and urine incontinent.
Like most families who face such issues, we found what we could to manage his incontinence at grocery and drug stores. But by the age of eight, these products were no longer helpful to us. They were too small, too large, too uncomfortable, or unable to contain his voids. We had to get up at least once each night changing wet pajamas and bedding.
Days were not much better. The products we could find were so inadequate that we washed several loads of clothing and bedding each day. We cleaned carpeting and furniture almost continually. Because our son was a climber, we often found ourselves having to clean countertops, bookcases (and their contents) and even cabinetry that were soiled.
His inability to fully eliminate left our son voiding constantly. On several occasions we cleaned one room, only to find another mess was being made elsewhere in our home. Our lives felt tied to rags, mops, and carpet cleaners. Yet despite our best efforts, there was always an unpleasant odor in our home.
We needed help that could not be found in our local stores. We turned to the internet and began to realize that many more products were available than we were previously aware of.
We discovered such excellent brands as MoliCare, Medline, Abena, and Tranquility. Even then, very little information was geared toward families of special needs children and their caregivers who deal with the issue of incontinence. So, we learned on our own -- but now we had the tools to succeed.
Through our own experimentation over the years, we now have several products that we use in different situations that have made a tremendous difference. Even with the full voids of an 16-year-old, rarely are there any problems of containment. Nights are much better too. Even though our son voids tremendous amounts of urine each night, we can often go for months at a time with no wetting through.
Because of our circumstances, we have had the unique experience of being both caregivers and users of incontinence management products. We really do know the challenges so many people face as they care for a loved one or for themselves. It is our very sincere desire that New Freedom Solutions be not only an outlet for the sales of excellent products, but also a place where our visitors can find encouragement, help, hope, and a new sense of freedom as they deal with whatever situation they are facing.
Jack is President of New Freedom Solutions and Co-Founding President of Children of Destiny (a non-profit organization devoted to spiritual support to families of special needs children). He has worked in both profit and non-profit companies, specializing in autism-related organizations since 2004. Jack received his Bachelorís degree from Calvin College, and Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Jack can be reached by email at Jack@newfreedomsolutions.com.
In addition to Vice President of New Freedom Solutions, Rebecca also serves as Director of Children of Destiny (www.childrenofdestiny.org) , a non-profit organization devoted to giving spiritual support to families of special needs children, and is a freelance author. She works from their home in Zeeland, Michigan where she is first and foremost mom to three great boys, ages 16, 14, and 10.
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