Incontinence – it’s not an issue most of us like to talk about but the fact is nearly one in four people aged 85 and over experience severe incontinence.
In the younger age bracket about one in every 14 people aged 65 and over experience it – both the faecal and urinary types.
If you experience accidental or involuntary loss of urine or faeces, however small, it is nothing to be ashamed of and you can seek help.
Some people are at greater risk of developing incontinence because of existing medical conditions including diabetes, chronic heart failure, dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke and mental health.
The Continence Foundation of Australia website offers a wide variety of information about bladder, bowel and pelvic floor health, tips for preventing and managing incontinence, advice for carers and information about support schemes and financial schemes that are available from both the Federal and State governments.
If you need help an appointment with your doctor is a good starting point. Or Jubilee can refer you to a continence service which can undertake an assessment. To prepare for a consultation, write down as much information as possible to help you describe the problem. For example, your symptoms; how often they occur; specific times of the day or night; activities such as exercise, laughing or coughing that seem to bring them on; food or drinks that cause or worsen your symptoms; and a list of your current medications.
There is financial help to offset the costs of continence products such as pads and pants, bed pads, bed sheets and chair pads, and catheters. Jubilee can assist with this. For clients on the Commonwealth Home Support Program your coordinator will organise the Government’s Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme to help offset the costs of purchasing the continence aids. Clients on Home Care Packages can use their package funds to pay for aids with their coordinators ordering the aids on their behalf.
To find out more about incontinence phone your Jubilee Community Care coordinator or visit the Continence Foundation of Australia website at www.continence.org.au. Alternatively, you can phone the National Continence Helpline on 1800 330 066 from 8am-8pm Mondays to Fridays.