Saturday, November 05, 2005


This is an extract from a report on the allocation of new grants, published in a newsletter from Researching into Ageing, which is a special trust within Help the Aged.
I support the charity because it funds innovative research to improve health in old age. If you are interested you will find it here:

But isn't there something odd about this paragraph? Even without the infant and ageing populations, I hope there are more than 6 million people in the UK who are still continent.

The title gets by, and it would be alright to refer to Continence Clinics and Continence Nurses, because continence is what they are both aiming at for the patient. But the last two sentences are absurd. You might as well say that couples go to fertility clinics because they suffer from fertility. Is this euphemism or political correctness gone mad?

Why should we be coy about incontinence? It is just one of the multiple impairments which many of us suffer as we get older. We are not embarrassed to speak of failing hearing or eyesight, nor of our joints ceasing to function properly. Incontinence in the elderly should be treated as it is in infants, as just part of that stage of life.

But perhaps it is in infancy that the problem lies. Many of my generation were raised according to the strict child-rearing principles of the respected Dr Truby King, who believed that from the word 'go' babies should be held out over a potty after every feed, and should be dry by day by the age of 12 months. So much investment was made in our toilet training as children, that perhaps we have never shed that burden, and feel that our acceptability in society depends upon bladder control. Fortunately, in addition to the medical profession, TV advertising nowadays is helping later generations to treat the problem matter-of-factly. And I'm doing my bit here as well.

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