Dementia and bathroom accidents

We take finding the toilet for granted. We have all experienced the stress and anxiety of needing the toilet and not being able to locate one. With dementia, frustrations are multiplied raising agitation, anxiety, stress, and depression. But dementia and bathroom accidents can be minimalised.

Urinary tract infections and constipation can lead to some people with dementia experience difficulties using the toilet. In other situations, it could be that they are not able to find, recognise, or use the toilet.

Use distinctive colours

To help boost confidence, increase independence, and maintain or restore dignity, Find’s toilet strategy is all about using highly visible, sharp contrasting colour to establish a clear route to the toilet. Once there, use the same principles to ‘decipher’ the environment by making important things like grab rails and the toilet itself, easier to see.

Distinctive coloured doors in a corridor will help a person with dementia to identify the location of the toilet. Also used appropriate signage, finding the way to the toilet can be made a lot easier.

People with dementia must be able to see what they need as a reminder. A bathroom in which everything is the same colour and sterile in appearance can have a detrimental effect. Using high contrasting colours can help to ensure that key features such as the toilet stand out.

Use contrasting colours to draw attention to something that is important. Self-adhesive door coverings can be used to highlight the door area. Draw attention to the toilet by using a contrasting toilet seat.

Toilets seats

Ageing and mobility problems make it difficult to rise from a low position. Using a raised toilet seat to increase the height of the toilet will enable someone to rise more easily.

Sharp contrast coloured toilet seats will help residents to distinguish it from its surroundings as well as making it more visible and easier to identify. Additional features such as soft close hinges will prevent the seat from slamming shut and creating a loud noise, which can be startling.

For extra stability when accessing the toilet and/or lowering themselves on or off the toilet seat, there are many solutions that can help to reduce the risk of falls. Grab rails are a simple but effective solution for reducing falls in the bathroom.

Support rails and frames

Dropdown support bars can provide more assistance than a grab rail when fitted close to the toilet for a person to lean on when sitting and standing and they can be conveniently folded away.

Toilet frames adjust to fit around most toilet pans. They are lightweight, portable, and free-standing. They are also easily removed when not in use.


Lighting that creates shadows can cause distress in people with dementia. Cleverly positioned lighting above a sink or toilet will draw attention to the area and help residents to find them more easily.


People with dementia may not recognise themselves. If they see their reflection in a mirror, they can become scared or upset because they think there is someone else in the bathroom with them. Use a reversible mirror to help avoid this.

The primary consideration when adapting the bathroom environment should be the safety for the individual. Avoid using sharp edges and reflective materials such as glass or mirrors. Slip risks on wet on surfaces and injuries due to the limited space should also be taken into consideration.

Everyone with dementia has unique needs and will respond to both the environment and to people around them in separate ways. It is important to keep in mind what is important to them, including their strengths, their current needs and how they relate to the environment.

By implementing at least some of the changes discussed, you will not only help enable a person with dementia conduct their daily living activities without distress, embarrassment, or a reluctance to use the bathroom. You will also reduce healthcare-related costs, which include money spent on additional laundry and incontinence products and the additional staff time required to help a person use the bathroom.

Environmental Visit

We understand it can be difficult to know where to start and how to implement environmental changes for the maximum benefit of all involved in the process that is why we offer an Environmental Visit which will provide you with all the recommendations you need

To find out more complete the form on the link below and one of our advisors will get back to you.

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