Incontinence and getting older for Calgarians

Photo by Unsplash - Vlad Sargu

Senior’s health is a hugely important topic for us as a seniors service in Calgary. There are a lot of easy topics to talk about. Like looking for seniors exercise programs, or keeping a healthy diet with seniors nutrition guidelines. But we are just as serious about discussing difficult topics as a Calgary seniors’ resource. This week, we want to talk about a subject that’s rarely discussed but affects millions of Canadians: incontinence and getting older.

It’s not unheard of for people to prefer having these conversations privately or not at all, but by keeping things taboo, we only encourage silence at best — and ignorance at worst. For example, did you know that incontinence supplies are tax deductible in Canada?

Not many people do. Even fewer know that 3.3 million Canadians experience some type of urinary incontinence, according to the Canadian Continence Foundation — and only 26 per cent of people who experience symptoms discuss it with their doctor.

If this was any other major symptom — like a bad cough or consistent nausea — folks would understandably feel comfortable talking to their physician. But because of myths and the private nature of the subject, many do not.

There are plenty of myths out there, with Healthwick Canada covering some in a recent article.

For example, many folks incorrectly assume that incontinence is irreversible and just part of aging. This isn’t true!

There are exercises and medications to treat many of the problems which cause incontinence — which is why it’s important to talk to your doctor.

Another myth is that incontinence is just a bother; something to be ignored like you would a nasty splinter.

But imagine a splinter in your skin for days, weeks; something that might prevent you from going out and enjoying different parts of your life.

It might be embarrassing to ask for assistance for such a small thing like a splinter: but the alternative is to force your entire life to start to revolve around that problem.

Incontinence is linked with depression, decreased activity and social withdrawal. With isolation and seniors already a topic we know is vital to our Unison, for Generations 50+ community: please don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor, your family or others about incontinence issues.