When a loved one has Alzheimer's disease, impaired judgment makes it increasingly difficult to redirect one’s urge to urinate in appropriate places.
Because the disease prevents your husband from understanding he is doing something improper, or from learning not to continue doing it, it is important to redirect him to the toilet. It is also recommended to start using incontinence products.
Monitor your husband’s liquid intake and note how long after drinking liquids that he has the urge to urinate, thus establishing his natural pattern. Anticipating his schedule can help reduce accidents and his practice of urinating in inappropriate places.
When talking with him about going to the toilet, use short, simple instructions and words that are familiar to him. Try not to rush him and do not act anxious yourself, as he will mirror that posture and become anxious, too. Watch for nonverbal clues that he needs to void, such as pacing, pulling at clothes, agitation or having a flushed face.
Visual clues can help him locate the bathroom. Attach a photo of a toilet or put the word "bathroom" on the door. Make sure the bathroom and the path to it is well-lit. Try using a toilet seat that contrasts with the color of the floor. A white floor and a white toilet can be difficult for the affected person to distinguish.
Consider safety factors in the bathroom area, too. Rugs could cause your husband to lose his balance or fall. A raised toilet with grab bars next to it can add extra security. Additionally, clothing that can easily be removed, such as Velcro closures instead of zippers and elastic waistbands, could make it easier on him.
Think about what could be triggering your husband’s urinating in inappropriate places. Has he experienced a recent transition, traumatic event or loss? Has his environment changed? Try to remove or relocate objects that could cause confusion and be mistaken for a toilet, such as trash cans, pot plants, dog bowls, etc.
Lastly, there could be a medical reason for your husband’s behavior. He could be suffering from a urinary tract infection or experiencing prostate problems. Talk with his physician or a urologist about this behavior to rule out any medical issues.
Questions about Alzheimer's disease or related disorders can be sent to Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, owner of Dana Territo Consulting, LLC, at email@example.com.