It’s not an easy problem to talk about. For many seniors who have to cope with the embarrassing issues associated with incontinence, shying away from the problem often results in an even bigger issue: a lack of proper diagnosis and treatment that can help cure the condition. Unfortunately, thanks to the stigma attached to incontinence, many seniors choose to ignore the problem, which is costing the health care system billions of dollars a year, according to a new publication.
Dr. Raymond Bologna, who is a urologist and the author of a new book that looks into the often ignored issue of incontinence, The Accidental Sisterhood, is speaking out about this tragic situation that so many of North America’s seniors find themselves in.
Dealing with pelvic floor conditions such as incontinence and an overactive bladder leads to so much more than just personal suffering, Dr. Bologna affirms. It causes an entire ripple effect that can not only ruin a person’s sense of being, but it can also cost them their way of life as well.
“When an older person is dealing with a bladder control problem or incontinence, they often cut themselves off from friends and family. They’re afraid that if they visit their children and stay the night, for example, they’ll have an embarrassing accident. Instead of enjoying life, many seniors stay at home and suffer in silence.”
What’s more, the way that incontinence has become a taboo subject in our society is certainly leading to bigger, costlier issues, explains Dr. Bologna. “It definitely isn’t something that many people are willing to talk about and, unfortunately, there are real consequences to this thinking.”
In fact, when it comes to assisted living and admission into nursing care facilities, more than 50% of the seniors who take advantage of these services are only doing so because of injuries caused by incontinence. What often happens is that when a person has to get up at night to urinate, he/she could suffer from a fall, for example, which results in the subsequent necessary assisted care.
This assisted care costs approximately $2.5 billion dollars a year — and that doesn’t count the cost of incontinence aids such as diapers and pads.
The worst part, notes Dr. Bologna, is that incontinence and bladder problems are highly treatable and preventable in most people. This is just a sad fact, as simply speaking to your doctor about your condition can literally improve your life dramatically and help ensure that you enjoy your old age with less risk and pain.
If you think that you are developing an incontinence problem, or are already coping with one, don’t let embarrassment silence you. Talk to your doctor. A simple consultation could improve your life in so many ways — and it can help lower the costs of your health care needs in the long run as well.