Dealing with Incontinence and Dementia

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Incontinence isn’t the first thing we think of when we talk about dementia but it’s more common than you might think. For some people, the neurological messages between the brain and bladder or bowel don’t work properly. This can mean they don’t recognise their bladder is full, or they don’t have enough control to get to the toilet before emptying their bladder.

Incontinence and Dementia

Adrienne’s husband Jeff was diagnosed with dementia 4 years ago and wasn’t expecting the unwelcome incontinence problems that came along with it.


Adrienne’s Story

“Jeff’s problem was not remembering quickly enough that he needs to go to the toilet during the day and having frequent accidents during the night.”

“We tried to manage it ourselves to begin with by looking out for signs he needed the toilet and setting the alarm during the night to take him to the toilet. However, this became increasingly challenging especially at night as he was frequently soiling the bed.
This was upsetting and confusing for him and meant that I had to strip the bed, which resulted in very broken sleep for me as it always took me a while to fall back to sleep as I was waiting for the next accident. As a carer I was exhausted and had lots of additional washing to do in the morning.”

How you can help someone with dementia:

  • Help the person identify where the toilet is such as using a sign or picture on the bathroom door.
  • Let them know that the toilet is free by leaving the door open so they can see that it’s not in
    use.
  • Make it easy for the person to make their way to and use the toilet. Think about lighting,
    handrails and a raised toilet seat may help.
  • Choose clothing with easy fastenings, elasticated waists instead of zips and Velcro fastenings
    instead of buttons.
  • Try incontinence pants that feel like normal underwear but are designed to be disposed of
    after an accident.

In Adrienne’s situation, it was MoliCare® pull-up pants that made the difference after trying different pads and pants from the supermarket which didn’t really manage the urine.

“The MoliCare® pull-up pants are much better for Jeff as they look like normal underwear, so he doesn’t get upset wearing them. He can pull them up and down like normal pants, which helps him maintain his dignity.

We want him to keep his independence for as long as possible and minimise what is already a confusing world for him.”

Talking about incontinence

Talking about incontinence can be hard, but by opening up and seeking help, you’ll find that you’re not alone. Lots of people care for loved ones with incontinence and when combined with dementia or other conditions it can feel like an ongoing battle.

Step 1: Talk to others
Talking to others can have a positive effect on both your relationship and self-confidence, discuss your worries with your loved ones who can then support you if you need it.

Step 2: Seek out information
Help is out there, and there is no need to feel in any way embarrassed. Whether it’s HARTMANN, Bladder & Bowel Community, or your local GP, we’re here to help you.

Step 3: Find a solution that works for you
Maybe the thought of wearing pads is scary, maybe you don’t know whether a pad, pant or slip would be best, HARTMANN will work with you to find the best solution for you and your loved one.