While the Intergenerational Report 2015 prompted us to contemplate the increasing time left to us before we shuffle off this mortal coil, perhaps we should also consider the financial and personal cost to our family and friends who may end up caring for us.

There are presently 2.7 million unpaid family and friend carers in Australia1 looking after the most vulnerable in our society, including approximately 140,000 who need help with bladder or bowel control2.

The care needs of people with incontinence are much higher than those of others needing care. In 2009 there were nearly 73,000 primary carers looking after people with severe incontinence; the majority (81%) female, most (73%) spending 40 or more hours each week caring, and more (42%) having their sleep interrupted than other primary carers (19%) 3.

There’s also a financial cost; the productivity loss to people who work unpaid as carers of people with incontinence is estimated to be $2.7 billion annually 4.  

And there’s an emotional cost; we know these carers are twice as likely to report stress-related illnesses compared to other carers 3.

The Continence Carer of the Year Award acknowledges the important but often overlooked role of at-home carers, who deal with the complex role of caring for someone with incontinence.

The award is open to carers from all around Australia, and nominations are invited from family, friends or health professionals who would like to bring to our attention these amazing individuals, whose contributions are often overlooked and underestimated.

The winner of the Continence Carer of the Year Award receives a prize of $1000 from Hartmanns, which is announced and presented at the Continence Foundation of Australia's National Conference on Incontinence, to be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, November 9-12.

Use the application form and fill out all sections and return to the Continence Foundation of Australia by Friday, September 2016.


  1. ABS (2012) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.    
  2. Access Economics (2010) The Economic Value of Informal Care in 2010.  
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2009), Incontinence in Australia            
  4. (Deloitte Access Economics’ 2011 report, The economic impact of incontinence in Australia.)