Alzheimer's art

Because of the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia disorders, there is a decline of intellect and memory, making it difficult for individuals to recognize or understand the urge to urinate.

Some of the issues with urinating in inappropriate places could be due to several factors: progression of the disease, a medical problem like a urinary tract infection, or disorientation to surroundings.

Sometimes, just adapting environmental factors can assist the individual with dementia to better toileting habits.

  • Is your loved one is having difficulty finding the bathroom, put pictures of toilets in front of the bathroom or by the toilet to provide cues to where the toilet is located.
  • Bathrooms are typically white, with white toilets, sinks and walls. Because there is no contrast, the toilet may seem invisible because of a visual agnosia problem. Try purchasing a red toilet seat to add contrast in the bathroom and attract attention or even painting the door or part of the door to the bathroom red to provide contrast (but solid colors only). Consider coloring the toilet water blue for another contrast. Additionally, try using strips of fluorescent tape to make a trail to the toilet.
  • Set up a toileting routine, such as taking your loved one to the bathroom every two hours.
  • Consider putting a portable potty chair in his room beside his bed, with the lid up.
  • Consider adaptive clothing so he or she cannot take off his or her Depends or other incontinence product. You can find high quality adaptive clothing at Buck and Buck (buckandbuck.com).
  • Always check with his or physician about this issue. Was there a change in medication? There might be a medical issue causing the behavior.

Sometimes these behaviors are temporary. If the person is disoriented in a new environment, then the transition is one of frustration and anxiety, but once they find their way, the behaviors are minimal or cease. Other times, these behaviors result because of a lack of tending to his or her emotional needs, such as anger, anxiety, sadness, loneliness or fear.

Constant reassurance is needed for the person  to feel safe and loved in his or her surroundings.


Questions about Alzheimer's disease or related disorders can be sent to Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, owner of Dana Territo Consulting, LLC, at thememorywhisperer@gmail.com.