Continence Foundation of Australia is the national peak body for incontinence prevention, management, education and awareness. They provide support and resources for individuals, carers and professionals.
The National Continence Helpline 1800 33 00 66 has advice for some frequently asked continence questions. The Helpline is a free telephone service staffed by experienced continence nurses who provide information, management advice and local service details.
The Continence Foundation of Australia publishes a great deal of useful information on its own website. It presents community education workshops (one hosted by COTA NT is pictured on the right) and promotes awareness about incontinence at events such as our Seniors Expo.
Q: I am a 62-year-old lady with no bladder problems, but I’m wondering if I’m too old to start pelvic floor muscle exercises?
A: 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.
Q: I’ve been told by my neighbour that I may be able to get help with funding my pads. What is this and where do I apply for it?
A: There are many 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 years of age 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.
Phone the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 and speak with our staff about CAPS and NDIS. You can also ask for a CAPS application form to be posted to you and the details for your closest continence service.
Q: I’m in my late 60s and have been advised that I need to have surgery on my prostate. The urologist referred me to the National Continence Helpline for advice about my pelvic floor. I’ve only just found out about my prostate, now I must learn about my pelvic floor muscles. Please help me, I’m confused.
A: It is best to start your pelvic floor exercises sooner rather than later – if you are having prostate surgery. The Continence 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. Order a free copy of the booklet by calling the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.
You can also learn about the pelvic floor through videos on the pelvicfloorfirst.org.au website.