Although we were all born unable to control our bodily functions, it sadly befalls the pensioner to be the principal victim of regressing to this state. Even so, less than 6% of pensioners ever become incontinent and with expert help, most are able to lead a largely normal life despite continual leakage.

Where malfunction of the urethral sphincter is the main cause, this can now be replaced with a spring-loaded plastic flap during a relatively simple surgical procedure, with the implant automatically activated by the presence of urea above a predetermined level. No equivalent remedy has yet been developed for failing anal sphincters, and the usual treatment in this instance is to attach several buckets to a hook inserted in the spine.

Special dresses and trousers have been designed to complement this therapy and in most cases, the buckets are virtually undetectable, especially if also fitted with a small vapour hood to remove any potentially unpleasant fumes or odours.

Colostomy bags, which store bodily waste for later disposal, have also undergone radical improvement in recent years, and it’s now possible to obtain bags which appear to the untrained eye to be binocular cases, ipads or guitars.