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Report details impact of incontinence

A report on incontinence supported by 10 organisations, including Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Marie Curie and Parkinson’s UK recommends tackling the stigma of incontinence and funding research into this important but often ignored issue.

The report ‘My bladder and bowel own my life’ resulted from a workshop to discuss common problems and potential solutions with patients, carers, researchers and health and care staff.

Shelagh Robinson, who is living with dementia and affected by incontinence, said: “People are unwilling to talk about this, but until we do it is going to restrict what we can do.”

The report details the daily impact of incontinence on older people across the UK, especially those living with terminal illnesses or long-term health conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s, cancer, or urinary and gastric issues.

The report’s authors are calling for evaluation of the economic impact of incontinence, more dedicated services to support people affected, better training for health and care professionals, and investment in research with a focus on non-drug and non-surgical interventions that allow people affected to take control of their own needs.

Alzheimer’s Society chief research and policy officer Dr Doug Brown said people with dementia were 50% more likely than other people their age to be incontinent.

“As dementia progresses, people can forget where the toilet is or when they last went, and eventually stop recognising the need to go at all – so it’s a vital concern for the 850,000 people currently living with dementia across the UK,” said Dr Brown.

“Alzheimer’s Society is funding research to help people with dementia and their carers to find better incontinence products that meet their needs, but as well as practical solutions we need to tackle the stigma, and this report is a vital step towards that.”

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