Date Revised:

This is part of the Carers Road Map online guide for anyone who cares for someone with dementia who is incontinent.

Planning for possible continence issues 

Don’t be embarrassed to seek help if the person you care for is having continence issues (toilet problems). Dealing with incontinence can be a big challenge and so it is important to seek advice from the GP early on. It is possible the incontinence is related to a medical condition that could be treated or managed.
 
Receiving good timely advice on how to manage incontinence is vital and may help you to continue to care at home. Ask your GP for a referral to the local continence service they will ensure you are given the right advice on management and products available. See how to get NHS help for incontinence on NHS Choices.
 
There are some helpful strategies and small adaptations that can be made in the home which can help you and the person with dementia manage continence. For example, always leaving the door open so the toilet is visible, using strong colours to indicate the toilet and thinking about timings and clothing. There are some useful factsheets on managing toilet problems and incontinence available from Alzheimer’s Society.      

Incontinence supplies

It is important to find out about and get advice on appropriate products. There is a large number of personal products available to help, some of which are available on prescription. Before you spend a lot of money check with the GP or nurse to prevent purchasing unnecessary or incorrect items.
 

Tips

  • Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help – incontinence is not uncommon.
  • Go to the GP as there may be a treatable medical reason for the incontinence.
  • Ask for a referral to the local continence service. 
  • Look into strategies and small adaptations that can help.

Practical help with laundry

Caring for someone who is incontinent can be expensive and time consuming as you may find yourself managing a lot more laundry. Practical help in the home and outside laundry services can really ease the pressure. Check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to as these can be a useful way of paying for extra household help. 
 
If you are struggling financially and don’t have a washing machine and dryer there are a number of local and UK organisations, including local furniture projects, that can provide funding grants and equipment to help. Help may also be available for other essential household items and larger incontinence products such as mattresses and bedding. Charitable organisations often hold funds which cover specific vocations, health conditions or parts of the country. 
 
Some grant applications can be submitted direct from the carer, or person with dementia, however some do ask for a professional referral, your local carer service or Citizens Advice will be happy to help. Turn2us is an online guide to benefits, grants and charitable organisations.

Also see grants and discounts.
 

Tips

  • Check you are getting all the financial support you are entitled to.
  • Help with household tasks and outside laundry services can ease the workload.
  • Look online or ask the local carer service about grants for equipment to help.

Next in the Carers Road Map guide: Considering decisions about residential care