Life is for living! We all know it, we all dream of living an active and involved life full of time done OUR WAY into our old age. Aging with dignity is something that we all hope for even though we see enough examples of this not happening that we know that it is not guaranteed.
One of the least dignified aspects of aging is incontinence and in Australia incontinence is experienced by over 5 million Australians, a significant number given our population of 25,180,000 at the end of 2018 (20%). If we consider that aging or the development of diseases associated with aging is a key factor in the development of incontinence, it is reasonable to expect that the majority of those 5million Australians living with incontinence are over 45.
In fact, Incontinence Australia quotes a 1998 study on their website that found 50% of woman aged 45-59years of age experience some level of incontinence.
SO, what do we do about it? How do we live the life we choose if there is a great statistical probability of needing to manage incontinence in the living of it? Let’s talk end result and the steps to getting there…
Whether it is wanting to end our days pottering in the garden, doing up the house, grey nomad-ing around the nation, hanging out at the pub, cruising the Mediterranean, sitting enjoying the sunset, tai chi-ing at the park, or watching the grandchildren run in the back yard… we can choose how we invest our valuable time and we can end our days in dignity. If we begin with the end in mind we can plan how to do it well.
- Will I need to know where the closest public toilets are at any one point in time? Use www.toiletmap.gov.au
- Will I need to invest in good quality incontinence underwear? shop.conni.com.au, www.aleva.com.au, and www.independenceaustralia.com are all good sources of online products.
- Do I need to consider protecting my bedding or my sitting areas with high quality incontinence covers? Check out your local pharmacy and the above websites.
- Can I improve my pelvic floor performance? There are many online training videos but in the first instance be sure to approach your doctor and your local Physiotherapist trained in and passionate about Continence.
- What can I do in my diet to improve my bladder and bowel function? Again, there is a wealth of information online now BUT in the first instance visit your local Nutritionist or Naturopath to find out what you are doing well and what you can quickly and easily change to make a difference.
- When you don’t know where to start, find a good Occupational Therapist who is interested and knowledgeable about Continence and Incontinence. They will be an invaluable source of information and next steps. As problem solvers of the first degree, Occupational Therapists will work with you to find the best solution for whatever lifestyle you choose.
So Plan, Prepare, and enjoy living your best life!