Jenny M

Registered User
Sep 15, 2003
My Mum has recently been diagnosed as having Dementia. While many of her friends & family had had suspicions for the last 2 years, her decline in the last 3 months has been dramatic. She was admitted to hospital just over a week ago for a gynaecological investigation but she has been so confused while in hospital that the occupational therapist has concluded that she is not capable of living independently. This means that she is simply sitting there in hospital, wondering where she is and why. One problem which has become particularly acute is incontinence. I did wonder whether Mum had a problem when I went into her house recently and found lots of wet underwear and clothing hidden away in plasic bags. However, since she has been in hospital, she seems to be wet much of the time. The hospital consultant thought that her problem might be caused by a urinary infection, and she has been on antibiotics. However, the infection now seems to have gone, but the incontinence hasn't. I have bought her incontinence pads from the chemist, but she seems to forget to wear them. Can anyone tell me whether dementia incontinence can develop so quickly? I had thought that this was something that only happened when the dementia was very advanced - maybe my Mum has reached this stage now, but it has all happened so quickly.


Registered User
Apr 28, 2003
Hello Jenny
Sorry to learn of your mums difficulties. I expect you know that many people with dementia go through a phase of incontinence. As with other symptoms, it depends upon the individual when it occurs although it's fairly unusual, but not unknown, for it to happen early on in the illness. One person experiencing a particular symptom may be at a different stage to someone else experiencing the same symptom.

You're definitely not alone in having found little 'parcels' hidden around the house. It's one of those things that some people with dementia seem to do to try to cope when they feel so confused and possibly also feel embarrassed or ashamed.

It's ironic but being in hospital might actually exacerbate your mums incontinence as she is almost certainly feeling more confused in an unusual environment.

The hospital, or if not the hospital then the NHS trust, should have an incontinence adviser who can help. There's also the Continence Foundation which is brilliant at discussing and advising on what some find a difficult area. Incidentally, I'm not sure you should have to pay for your mums pads as they should be supplied free for someone in her position.

Hope this is of some help.


Registered User
Oct 17, 2003

My Mum has recently been diagnosed as being in the latter stages of Lewy Body Dementia (the mater was complicated because an inital diagnosis of Parkinson's with Dementia was first made). Like you I had no idea she was as far advanced but having since done a lot of research it turns out she probably had early signs about 4 years ago. Over the summer my Mum also semed to become incontinent of urine quite quickly a matter of months. It seemed to be caused by her inability to find and use the toilet as much as her capacity to hold on. Sadly now because of her immobility and severe delusional state she has been admitted to a nursing home - after living with us for over 8 years.