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Trailblazing to the Bathroom

If you know someone with dementia you likely see the obvious forgetfulness: not remembering their favorite meal at the diner or having a difficult time recognizing the faces of their loved ones. But what we oftentimes overlook is how dementia can impact hygiene. Many people with dementia experience some form of bowel or bladder leakage. At times, it may occur because they simply can’t find the bathroom but more often than not, they are unable to feel the sensation that they need to relieve themselves. Creating a toileting schedule for your loved one can make all the difference. It is typical for the average adult to urinate every 2-4 hrs and to have at least one bowel movement daily, typically in the morning. Creating a spreadsheet that includes toileting times as well as any other events happening that day can help your loved ones to get through their day. 

If your loved one is having trouble navigating to the bathroom or finding their destination, you can help them by implementing a few changes to the surroundings. Arrows on the floor may be utilized to mark the path to the bathroom. Light up toilet seats or colorful toilet seats can also help direct them to their target. And lastly but most importantly, if seeing their reflection in the mirror is distressing and confusing it may be helpful to cover the mirrors.

At Sullivan Physical Therapy we specialize in bladder and bowel health. For more information, visit or email