The other “I” word for active baby boomers

Hello my friends – a few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to do a radio interview with Health, Wealth and Wisdom – part of Senior Voice America. And one of the questions really struck me – “why is it so important to have a conversation about incontinence?”

We talk about it a lot – but maybe it’s not clear enough yet – incontinence is a REALLY big deal.

And you don’t have to believe me – listen to the Centers for Disease Control or the National Institutes of Health.

The CDC published a study last month that showed more than 50% of all community dwelling people over 65 reported experiencing urinary incontinence. So in a room full of people that age – one in every two of them is dealing with this issue.

The CDC also estimated the financial burden associated with incontinence. In the US, the cost of bladder incontinence among adults in the year 2000 was estimated at $19.5 billion, with $14.2 billion incurred by community residents and $5.3 billion by institutional residents.

Nearly 75% of those costs are resources used for incontinence management or ‘‘routine care’’ such as absorbent pads, protection, and laundry. That is horrifying. Care costs like this are coming straight out of your pockets – no insurance, no co-pay, just seniors on a fixed income spending thousands of dollars a year on adult diapers.

Why is it important to have a conversation about incontinence?

If all of the above wasn’t enough – the CDC subtly suggested and I quote: “Individuals who are incontinent may carry an emotional burden of shame and embarrassment in addition to the physical discomfort and disruption of their lives that occur with episodes of incontinence. Bladder and bowel incontinence significantly impact quality of life even after adjusting for co morbidities and demographic differences.”

That’s pretty strong wording for a bureaucracy.

And they’re absolutely, 100% right. Incontinence is the other “I” word. Ten or 15 years ago it was “impotence” but Viagra really brought erectile dysfunction out of the closet. If you’re like me, you think its time to do the same thing for incontinence. So join us and do your part – share this, make a comment, talk to a friend and spread the word. You don’t just have to accept incontinence and its costs.