Losing control of urine is called incontinence (in-con-tin-ents). It is common when people have dementia. It often gets worse as dementia gets worse.
Sometimes people with dementia wet their pants and feel bad about it. You need to help them stay dry so they feel better about themselves.
Later, when dementia is worse, they may wet their pants and not even know they did. It is still important to help them stay dry to prevent sores on the skin.
For clothes. Consider using "adult briefs." They are special underpants for people who leak urine. They have special pads inside. You can throw away the pads when they are wet.
For the bed. Place a plastic pad and an absorbent pad on the bed, and cover it with a folded sheet. If the person wets the bed, change the folded sheet and the pads.
Losing Control of Urine Can Sometimes Be Fixed
If losing urine is a new problem, make a doctor's appointment for a check up. Sometimes there are causes that can be fixed or helped.
Some Causes of Losing Urine that Can Sometimes Be Fixed
Why Do People with Dementia Lose Control of Urine?
People with dementia often don't know until the last minute that they need to use the bathroom. Then, when they suddenly have to go, they can't get to the bathroom quickly enough or they can't find the bathroom.
Sometimes they can find the bathroom but have trouble pulling down their pants Other times they don't even realize they have to use the bathroom and just wet their pants.
Help prevent losing urine
The table below lists some things you can try to help prevent someone from losing urine. Give them a try and see how they work. Also, don't be afraid to let the person drink as much liquid as they want during the day. Only limit liquids after dinner before bed.
What To Do If the Person Can't Get To The Bathroom On Time
What To Do If the Person Doesn't Even Try To Get To The Bathroom
Try asking about the bathroom
If that doesn't work, try bringing them to the bathroom
Written By: Barry D. Weiss, MD, University of Arizona College of Medicine