Incontinence, for many, is preventable, treatable and in many cases curable, and it’s not uncommon to experience bladder weakness.
During World Continence Week (18-24 June), that’s the message Bolton Clarke’s Be Healthy and Active program has been sharing in a series of bladder health presentations.
Program manager Kerry Rendell says since their inception the sessions, part of Bolton Clarke’s broader Be Healthy and Active community education program, have reached more than 2000 people with the support of sponsors Tena, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The sessions are delivered in a light, casual manner to help normalise the topic of bladder weakness. Participants genuinely appreciate being informed about these important health topics,” Kerry says.
“Incontinence has traditionally been perceived as a taboo subject and people sometimes suffer in silence instead of talking about their problems.
“Our sessions provide important information about treatment, prevention and bladder health in a safe environment where people can discuss their concerns.”
Research shows out of the 65% of women and 30% of men who experience incontinence, only 31% will seek help from a professional for this very treatable issue. There are approximately 5 million people living with bladder weakness in Australia.
Bolton Clarke Senior Clinical Nurse Adviser, Kate McLeod, says it is often out of shame, guilt or embarrassment that people don’t access support.
“What many do not realise is that incontinence is not a normal part of ageing, but a symptom of health conditions that may be experienced with older age,” she says.
“In fact, incontinence can be prevented, treated and in many cases, cured!
“Advice and education about appropriate diet and fluid intake, elimination of constipation, personal hygiene and exercise is important for people living with incontinence and their carers, as this may actually address and solve the problem.”
Managing bladder weakness can begin with a few simple steps, including:
Kate says that incontinence is often a reason for individuals to enter Residential Aged Care and can lead to social isolation and health issues including skin conditions such as incontinence associated dermatitis.
By understanding causes and potential treatments people can be empowered to manage the condition and stay active and independent for longer.
Bolton Clarke’s free Be Healthy and Active health and wellbeing sessions are presented regularly in communities across Australia.
The community health initiative is delivered in partnership with Bowls Australia, and the Bladder Health sessions are supported by Tena.