Humour to help de-stigmatise incontinence

Foundation to launch campaign to get sufferers talking about incontinence.

Is incontinence a laughing matter?

The crew at Continence Foundation of Australia are at it again making light of the ‘little accidents’ of those unfortunate enough to be unable to ‘hold on’.

Today is the start of World Continence Week and Continence Foundation of Australia says it will be “using humour to overcome the stigma of incontinence and get people talking about their bladder and bowel troubles”.

“We are asking people to share your own personal continence story in living with incontinence or caring for someone who does,” the foundation’s website implores.

If estimates are correct, about 21 per cent, or 5.25 million, of Australians currently have problematic bladders and bowels.

About 70 per cent of that cohort lives in residential care, which leaves almost a third of other sufferers living in the community and managing their own continence issues.

Continence Foundation Australia has enlisted comedy queen of continence Bev Killick as an ambassador and the face of its latest campaign, Laugh Without Leaking.

And while a little toilet humour may help to ‘normalise’ incontinence, the cost to society of dealing with the issue is quite serious. Deloitte Access Economics reported that in 2010, the total financial cost of incontinence, including the burden of disease, was $66.7 billion, or approximately $14,000 per sufferer. The estimated costs are broken down thus:

  • $270.8 million for health system costs
  • $34.1 billion for productivity losses
  • $1.6 billion for residential aged care costs
  • $2.7 billion for informal carer costs
  • $321 million for indirect costs, such as aids and formal carers
  • $3.8 billion for losses from transfers and lost taxation.
  • $23.8 billion for the burden of disease.

During World Continence Week, there will be events, talks, activities, displays and performances around Australia. The foundation suggests those interested should keep an eye on its page for more information.

If you would like support or to share your story, jump on the Continence Support Forum, where Yazzie, a continence nurse consultant, acts as moderator. If you have any questions, call the free helpline on 1800 33 00 66. If you need help paying for pads and aids, check out the funding schemes for continence products.

Will you take up the foundation’s challenge to discuss continence issues? Do you feel there is a lack of support for sufferers of bladder and bowel conditions?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    18th Jun 2018
    Mmm, very interesting. Oh I know it's the done thing nowadays - calculating a $ value to the community for absolutely everything, but why the necessity to equate $ totals for each and every surreptitious little dribbly drop leaves us saturated with information overload. Whole industries surely are being maintained merely by the considerable expenditure generated by the numbers involved. Best not plug the leaks or countless workers will be sidelined.

    Which brings to mind an event from years gone bye. We had a rural holding, it had frontage to a significant river system from which we pumped water for domestic/stock purposes. One year during summer my 70 something Y.O parents came to stay. Three of us walked down the hill to start the pump, Ma included. After priming the pump and although the diesel engine fired up readily, it was obvious to me that no water was being drawn. I asked the other two (mum one of em) to venture out onto the rickety timber landing to investigate whether the suction line was properly submerged. Their combined weight proved too much for the landing which, coupled with a sigh and their screams, slid sideways into the murky depths. Ma - in typical form for her era - was wearing a dress and as she sinks, so the dress balloons up and out and rises to float at surface level. By this point both women are in hysterical fits of laughter. I should point out - Ma was upstream to the wife. So there they are, up to their chests in water cackling like a couple of clucky hens when my wife (between gasps for air) says - "why has the water gone warm all of a sudden" ? The renewed paroxysms of laughter had the effect of relieving what little control one of the other of us had, to that moment, controlled. Not one of us had a dry eye and two wet hens made for a sad and sorry sight.
    18th Jun 2018
    Thanks for that MD. Made my day, after looking after grandchildren all day - girls, 3 and 1 and full of energy.
    18th Jun 2018
    Yeh greenie, but don't the little blighters give life a whole new meaning. At least that's how I found em to effect mine. Enjoy.
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