HEALTH MANAGEMENT: Incontinence becomes more prevalent as people age.
HEALTH MANAGEMENT: Incontinence becomes more prevalent as people age. RapidEye

Incontinence: The answers to your questions

IF YOU are in a muddle about incontinence, the Continence Foundation of Australia has some answers for you.

I am a 62-year-old woman with no bladder problems. Am I too old to start the pelvic floor-muscle exercises?

You're never too old. If you're willing to listen and learn how to do the exercises, then your continence health professional is there to help you as well. These exercises have been taught to people in their 90s with great success.

Our message to everyone, male or female and of any age, is to learn how to do these exercises and then continue to do them for life.

Like all exercises, pelvic floor exercises are most effective when individually tailored and monitored. Seek help from a health professional like a continence and pelvic floor physiotherapist.

Can I get funding help for my pads?

There are different funding schemes available to eligible people with incontinence. The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) is a federally funded program.

The eligibility criteria is available at bladderbowel .gov.au/caps.

Another federal program is for people under 65 whose incontinence is a result of their disability. If this is you, then you can ask to have your continence products and funding for a continence nurse advisor assessment be included in your NDIS plan.

You can phone the Helpline and talk to the staff about CAPS and NDIS. You can also ask for a CAPS application form to be posted to you, and for details of your closest continence service.

I'm in my late 60s and have been told that I need to have surgery on my prostate. The urologist referred me to the Helpline for advice about my pelvic floor.

It's best to start your pelvic floor exercises sooner rather than later if you are having prostate surgery. The Foundation's Prostate and Continence - guide for men undergoing prostate surgery is a good starting place. It goes through what the prostate is, where in the body it is located, how to do pelvic floor exercises and health professionals who can help. You can order a free copy of the booklet by phoning the Helpline.

You can also learn about the pelvic floor through videos on the pelvicfloorfirst.org.au website.

For confidential advice, phone the free National Continence Helpline on 1800 330 066.

To book a free, personalised Healthy Bladder and Bowel talk for your club or social group, contact the Foundation at continence.org.au/ healthpromotion or phone 1800 330 066.

Incontinence can affect men and women of any age, however, it does become more prevalent as people age. It shouldn't be considered normal. With the right advice/ treatment it can often be cured, or otherwise managed.

National toilet map

YOU can now carry the National Public Toilet Map in hand by downloading the Toilet Map from App Store or Google Play.

The app lists more than 14,000 toilet locations across Australia. It includes information on their locations, opening hours and wheelchair accessibility.

These details are also available from the website toiletmap.gov.au.

Access to locked disability toilets

The Master Locksmiths Access Key (MLAK) system allows people with a disability access to dedicated public facilities, including facilities in national parks and many Council municipalities, elevators at railway stations, the new Changing Places facilities throughout Australia, disabled toilets that are locked, and even the Liberty Swing.

People with a disability are able to purchase an MLAK key which will open all toilets and other facilities fitted with a lock that uses the special MLAK cylinder.

Info: masterlocksmiths.com.au/mlak.


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