Dementia comes with its own set of symptoms, and whilst some symptoms are commonly known, such as loss of memory and forgetfulness or even irritability, there are some symptoms which you may not be aware of at first. Dementia can affect a large part of the everyday life of someone suffering from it, and this can include their physical functions, leading to loss of control of bladder movements or incontinence. Although this may be a topic that may be sensitive to some, it’s just part and parcel of life with dementia – and it is a more common problem than many of us would like to think. If your loved one has dementia and they are showing signs of incontinence, here’s how you can properly handle it.
A common problem
As mentioned, incontinence is a condition which may affect more people with dementia than we may realise. If a person has dementia and they suffer from incontinence, this can lead to further issues such as urinary tract infections as well as constipation, which can cause more pressure on the person’s bladder. If incontinence is not properly addressed, it can lead to the person needing more medication as well.
Sometimes, someone with dementia may also simply neglect or forget to visit the toilet – and sometimes, they may even forget the location of the toilet in their own home. Some individuals with dementia may even just lose the ability to know if they need to go to the toilet.
What you can do
It is very important that you remain calm and understanding when accidents occur. It wouldn’t do to make a big deal of it or become angry – on the contrary, treat them with dignity and remember that it is no fault of theirs. It may even be a good idea to insert a bit of humour into the situation, depending on their state of mind.
But there are other, more practical things you can do to deal with the situation. Here are a few:
- Place a special sign on the door of the toilet which helps them identify it, or simply place a photo of a toilet on the door.
- Keep the door to the toilet open; you should also make sure your loved one can easily access it whenever they need to go. There should be no obstructions in the hallway leading to the toilet, for example.
- It would be best to provide your loved one with clothes which can be easily removed, as some individuals with dementia can find it difficult to deal with zips and buttons.
- Be aware of certain signs that signal a desire to go to the toilet. Some signs may include fidgeting as well as repeatedly standing up and then sitting down.
- If necessary, have the toilet adapted to the needs of your loved one with dementia as well.
If the problems with incontinence are becoming more acute, it would be best to consult a physician. You can also get extra help with live in care so that a professional can care for your loved one and deal with accidents or issues as they arise.