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Hi, looking for advice on a toileting issue. I'm the caregiver of my 80 year old mom (mid stage Alzheimer) who is going to need help in the bathroom soon. She's had 2 UTI's in the last 3 months.


She goes to the bathroom between 20-30 times a day. She's been checked by a urologist and he said physically she is fine so I know the constant need to go is related to the dementia and her inability to do things on her own. I also think part of it is boredom and using the bathroom is something she still knows how to do. I've tried engaging her in activities at home but she's not interested (she does attend senior daycare 12 hours a week and I take her out daily to run errands).


When at home she wanders the house aimlessly, stopping to go to the bathroom. I have no problem helping her with bathroom hygiene but not 20 plus times a day. Do I lock the bathrooms (suggestions welcome on a convenient way to do this!) and put her on a toileting schedule?

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OCD behaviors can get pretty bad with dementia. My mother with dementia, while in rehab, was absolutely obsessed with going to the bathroom, and would do so all day long, urinating on the floor even. It was mind boggling. Check out this article I found on the subject:

https://www.verywellhealth.com/coping-with-obsessive-compulsive-behavior-97616

Best of luck!
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Misseverything Sep 9, 2019
Thank you for that information! 😊
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My MIL had the same problem. It was also not a UTI. I think it was OCD behavior. She did it more when she was anxious but it also looked like a habit. The day they moved from their house to independent living, she went to the bathroom 37 times in 2 hours. I know because I was so fascinated that I marked it down every time she went. She literally walked out of the bathroom which was attached to her new bedroom, got halfway across the bedroom, turned around and went it. I think she was so fearful of being incontinent. Eventually she did start having accidents. It was behavior that was impossible to stop. even if I stopped her from going and said that she had literally gone 2 minutes ago, she still had it in her head. After a few months in Independent living, they had to move and went right to memory care. She put her on medication for anxiety and it did help some. Usually when my MIL was engaged with something else, she did not ask to go so often. She was able to go on her own, still ambulating on her own and she would not use a walker either,
One question is, does she demonstrate the same pattern at day care? I don't know that locking the bathroom door will help; she will probably just bang on the door. I doubt you can put her on a schedule; it is her broken brain that is driving this behavior. It may be that as she moves to another stage, this will diminish. For my MIL, finally after the non-stop getting up, even in the middle of the night, and refusing to learn to use a walker, she fell, and broke her hip. She is incontinent and still does ask, even in the diapers she is wearing, but it is much less.
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Reply to dogparkmomma
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I like your title.  It describes perfectly one of the caregiving issues - get one issue resolved, and another pops up.  Get used to the new normal, and it all changes.  A lot of problem solving, never ending.  Good luck.  Hope you have a sense of humor.
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kimberlitas Sep 8, 2019
Thanks GrannieAnnie, I'm sure trying to keep my sense of humor!
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Hi lealonnie1, I checked out the article you recommended. Very good information, the whole site looks interesting. Thanks.
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Reply to kimberlitas
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Hi dogparkmama, your MIL certainly has my mom beat, 37 times in two hours! I tracked my mom at 35 times in 12 hours this past Sunday. It's the same with my mom, when she's doing something with me like watching t.v. or sitting and visiting with a friend she can sit for an hour or more without going. Seems like the minute she stands up she gets the urge to go. Once the roving starts it's 2-4 times an hour, all day long. One interesting thing is she may go 6-8 times between 5:00-7:00 p.m. but only once or twice during the night. Guess I should be grateful for this. I've wondered how often she goes at day care, haven't asked because I'm hoping that she's not becoming a problem there.
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That is a tough one that my wife experienced, turns out, it was caused by a UTI .
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Reply to Jamrya02
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My mom has dementia and she gets constant urges to urinate during the night. But when I checked the side effects of her anxiety medication, there it was. Anxiety medication fixed one problem but gave me more issues.
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Dora1956 Sep 12, 2019
What is your Moms Anxiety medication, just in case My Moms physician suggests it.
thank you.
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Oh boy, are you ever between a rock & a hard place. What a PAIN that has got to be! How many times does your Mom go to the bathroom while in daycare? It sounds like you’re in the beginning stages of UTI’s!
It gets worse! Sorry🙁
My Mom had 8 UTI’s for 8 consecutive months! It really does a number on their brains with the confusion, balance & MOOD SWINGS! Very STRESSFUL!! Suggest to your urologist to start a UTI PREVENTION!
Nip it in the bud, NOW...for YOUR sake as well as for your Mom’s. How can the urologist tell you everything’s normal when she’s having UTI’s?! I believe the frequency of urinating is a symptom of UTI.
Anyway My Mom’s urologist put her on a 6 month anti-biotic program.
METHENAMINE 1 GM TABS. 1 tab twice daily. She is month 3 & we have an appt. w/ urologist Friday. No UTI’s so far!
Start there before moving forward on a schedule which in itself sounds like an impossibility w/ someone w/ Alzheimer or dementia.
Good Luck.🙏🏽
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Reply to Dora1956
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We purchased my MIL a potty chair and gave her some toilet paper and feminine wipes. She hated it, but she only goes once every hour or two now.
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Reply to mbrucet
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Have her wear pull ups so it absorbs when she is incontinent
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