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Incontinence and dementia

Incontinence and dementia

Incontinence and other challenges to go to the bathroom are common in people with dementia.


Incontinence, in general, is not the main area of ​​focus for healthcare professionals when it comes to dementia. Or is it an area of ​​focus only in the later stages of dementia. However, incontinence can begin in the early stages of dementia and is a source of great anxiety for caregivers / family members.



At an early stage the person may forget to go to the bathroom. Or feel disoriented to find it. These are heavy or embarrassing situations for everyone. But as dementia progresses, incontinence problems become more likely and more serious. 


10 tips - Incontinence and dementia

  • Discover the cause of incontinence
  • Recognize the symptoms
  • Schedule / schedule trips to the bathroom
  • Making the process safe
  • Make the toilet a comfortable place
  • Dress the person in comfortable clothes
  • Preparing is the key
  • Be open: talk about it with others
  • Make the process easier 
  • Choosing the right incontinence products


How to choose diapers / incontinence products?

Using the correct products for incontinence is important to prevent leaks and red skin.  

The best choice is a customized solution based on what is best suited to each individual situation. 

What to consider when choosing?

  • What stage of dementia is the person in? 
  • What is the cause and type of incontinence? 
  • What is the caregiver's situation?


A less problematic experience

Going to the bathroom can become an experience that creates anxiety when dementia sets in.

Bear in mind that incontinence is a symptom of other problems The incontinent person does nothing on purpose. That person may have tried to go to the toilet and suddenly panicked. "Where is the toilet? How do I remove and put on my clothes? I found the toilet - what do I do now?" These are just a few examples of problems that a person with dementia can face.



Fortunately, there are measures that take into account making the trip to the bathroom more calm.

Here are some important points to consider:


Age-related visual impairment

Elderly people with dementia may experience age-related visual problems, such as cataracts (blurred lens of the eye) or macular degeneration (damage to the retina), making the task of going to the bathroom difficult.


orien tation

Especially and repeatedly people with dementia do not orient themselves properly, even in simple places such as within a 

living room. Even if you have been to that bathroom many times before, you are disoriented to find it. And you have to look for the bathroom every time you need it.



If going to the bathroom is already a challenge, the distance to get there can be a factor that prevents people from getting there in time. At home, the distance from the bed or chair to the toilet is usually no more than 5 or 6 meters. But in public places it can sometimes reach 30 meters, which can be difficult to overcome for someone who has challenges with mobility, pain, vision, etc.

Catarina Vilela - Nurse