Tuesday, 12 June 2012
Elder Taboos – Part 2: Incontinence Products
This blog is one of the few places I've ever found that openly discusses leaky pipes – urinary incontinence – which, some research says, affects about 35 to 45 percent of older women and only slightly fewer men older than 60.
My first post about this, in 2009, came about because I was peeing my panties any time I coughed, sneezed or laughed – all three of which are hard to suppress. The problem stopped after I lost a good deal of weight last year but you know how that goes and the pounds are creeping up.
I'm working on reversing that trend because although keeping my weight in check for health reasons is important, I especially don't want to reawaken the leaky pipe problem.
One of the things I monitor about old folks is how we are treated in the media. For elders, advertisers mostly hawk remedies for all the icky stuff our flesh is heir to (in old age and youth) and they do it badly, low-production-value video made on the cheap.
Even so, I don't recall any commercials for incontinence products, especially on television. Until now, that is.
You can safely bet that when there is money to be made, any taboos that have hindered advertisers in the past will be ignored and with all those baby boomers getting old now, the purveyors of incontinence products are making a stand.
Good old Depends, the most well-known name in adult diapers for decades, has refashioned its product into a new, slim design and added some attitude to their sales pitch. This commercial is a hoot:
That's funny and, I think, effective. Here's the one targeting women:
The woman is Lisa Rinna who is Harry Hamlin's wife which, I guess, makes it okay for him to run his finger down her thigh.
Another product, new to the U.S., has begun advertising on television too. It's called the TENAtwist, a pad rather than full pants, and their “twist” is that it holds nearly a full glass of water without feeling wet and won't leak even if you twist it.
It's hard to understand the reason, but the company does not allow embedding the commercial so you'll need to go here to see it.
The copy refers to leak problems from jogging and because the women appearing in the ad are young, I had to check the website before I was sure it was an incontinence and not a menstrual product.
They don't make that clear and the ad is not nearly as effective as the Depends commercials – at least not for old people who are much more likely to need it than 30-somethings.
To be fair, the Depends commercial also elides past the fact that theirs is an incontinence product, but the brand is so closely tied to adult diapers, no one is going to mistake the point. Hey, it's progress.
It's nice, for a change, to see something like this done reasonably well.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Jacklynn WinMill-Lee: Missing You