Most people confuse dementia with memory loss. In fact, Dementia is not a specific disease, it is a group of symptoms that develop with aging and it includes memory loss and other mental disorders that can impair a person’s day-to-day activities.
Dementia develops gradually and slowly in most cases. In some people, the early signs of dementia are so subtle that it can be missed. Recognizing the symptoms of dementia early on can alert you to get professional help earlier. Although memory loss is the most profound sign of dementia, it develops when the condition has progressed to an advanced stage.
Identifying subtle signs such as changes in toilet habits may alert you of the early stages of dementia. Dementia doesn’t occur at the same rate or pattern in all individuals. Dementia can result in impaired thought processes, slow speed of thinking, dull mental sharpness, and also impact a person’s physical activity while mainly causing memory loss.
As people age, the likelihood of having accidents from falls increases. This likelihood is significantly higher in older people with dementia. In addition, Alzheimer’s Society has stated: “a person with dementia is more likely to have accidents, problems with the toilet or incontinence than a person of the same age who doesn’t have dementia.”
What could be the reason that dementia results in difficulties while using a toilet?
- Inability to quickly react to the sensation of requiring to use the toilet
- Mobility issues: Decreased physical mobility resulting in failure to get to the toilet in time.
- Communication Problems: Physically dependent people may have impaired speech, which impedes them from seeking help to go to the toilet when required.
- Impaired Cognitive Skills: Inability to recognize or know how to use the toilet.
- Confusion of surroundings: Urinating in inappropriate places.
- Inability to understand instructions to use the toilet
- Memory loss makes the person forget how to perform basic self-care tasks such as undressing, or using the toilet.
- Depression: No desire in using a toilet and urinating or defecating in place of rest.
According to Alzheimer’s Society “For some people, incontinence develops because messages between the brain and the bladder or bowel don’t work properly. This may mean people don’t recognize that they have a full bladder or bowel, or have the control needed to empty them. However, this is not a common cause of toilet problems and incontinence in people with dementia. It usually only occurs when the person’s dementia is more advanced.”
There is no cure yet for dementia, but getting proper help and performing certain mental exercises may help make the disease process easier for the patient.