An old man smiling while having a conversation with a woman who is shown from a backside angle

Continence and Using the Toilet

People with dementia may face a number of difficulties with using the toilet, particularly as the illness progresses.

These can include:

  • Memory: Forgetting to go to the toilet, where it is, or how to use it.
  • Sequencing: Struggling to perform the different physical steps in the right order.
  • Communication: Not being able to say when they need to go, or when, how and why they are experiencing problems.
  • Recognition: Not recognising the body’s physical messages that they need to go, or not realising what the toilet is and going elsewhere instead.
  • Environment: Finding the toilet may be difficult. Colours, mirrors and surfaces may cause confusion.

This guide looks at these situations and suggests ideas to offer support.