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Organization addresses adult diaper shortage

By Izaskun E. Larrañeta

Publication: The Day

Published January 16. 2014 4:00AM   Updated January 16. 2014 11:42PM

It's a subject that no one really wants to talk about, but it's a reality that 25 million adult Americans will face at one time - urinary incontinence.

According the National Institutes of Health, 20 percent of people 65 or older rely on disposable diapers to go about their day-to-day activities. The organization estimates that it cost about $100 a month for incontinence supplies.

"There is a huge need for diapers," said Christine Baker, director of the Bozrah Senior Center and owner of QC Home Care Solutions, a private caregiver business.

"It's also very expensive so people often don't use as many as they should, which leads to health issues like bed sores or urinary tract infections."

Baker along with Sharon Gauthier, president of Patient Advocate for You, which helps patients navigate through the health care system, decided to create Discreet Undergarment Banking for You (DUB4U), a not-for-profit organization that will collect and distribute diapers for the elderly and disabled.

Baker said the organization recently bought a minibus to collect diapers for future fundraising events and to distribute them throughout the region.

Diapers will be delivered to the elderly and disabled based on income and need. The goal is to discreetly deliver at least one package of diapers to individuals once a month.

The organization has contacted senior housing complexes, senior centers and area housing authorities to inform them that their organization will officially launch next month.

Neely Gilbert, spokeswoman for The National Association for Continence, said it's important for people who suffer from incontinence to work with their doctors because incontinence is not strictly an "older person" problem. She said if affects people of all ages.

Gilbert praises the work of diaper banks because her organization recognizes that the products on the market are very expensive.

"Some prices are outrageous," said Gilbert. "We are currently working to establish standards for absorbent products, to make sure that they are quality products and that people are getting their money's worth."

Medicare does not pay for diapers and with the average monthly social security benefit at $1,177 for those over 65, many folks simply go without.

Baker said there are other adult diaper banks in the state, but she is unaware of any in eastern Connecticut.

"If you are on a fixed income, it costs a lot to buy diapers," said Baker. "This is a quality-of-life issue. Not being able to afford these supplies truly dictates how and what people do."

Donations may be delivered to the Bozrah Senior Center, 52 Bozrah St. when the "OPEN" flag is flying or at QC Home Care Solutions, LLC at 194 Fitchville Road, suite 2, Bozrah or call at (860) 383-2290, ext. 4.

Financial donations should be made to the Bozrah Senior Center. In the memo write "DUB4U" and mail to PO Box 330 Bozrah, CT 06334.

i.larraneta@theday.com

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