• We're currently experiencing technical issues with our newsletter software, so our Dementia Talking Point monthly updates have been put on hold for now. We hope to restart the newsletter soon.

    Find out more >here<.

Toilet habits - HELP!


New member
Nov 8, 2017
Hi everyone,
We have recently moved into a new house with my MIL as we was worried about her. She has since been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (she scored 37/100 on the test they do)
It’s nealry impossible to get a correct sentence out of her and very difficult to know what she means a lot of the time.
She has absolutely no interest in doing anything other than food shopping. Seems to spend more time on hair brushing, spraying perfume etc.
She eats the same thing every day, unless I can tempt her with something I am making. Also she seems to sit and stare most of the day and is now going to bed at around 5. 00 on average everyday ( she doesn’t get up early 9.00 everyday) I think she may be awake in the night.
She has refused to go to the hospital to get any medication and has said she doesn’t want to take any tablets.
It seems every time she goes for a number two, it gets everywhere!!! I mean everywhere, it seems it has been smeared on the sink.
I have to cleaned it every time I go in there just incase. I have two three year olds that also live with us.
Any advice on anything I’ve said would be great!!!! I’m lost feeling very very lost at the moment!


Registered User
Oct 19, 2009
Hello, @Chestnut88 and welcome.

It sounds like you need some help! Whether your MIL wants it or not (and "NO" is frequently the default setting, with dementia! Change and anything new of any kind is usually resisted.), it is time to introduce some help in the loo. Could you start accompanying her? Or, when she goes in, give her a few minutes, and then slip in to help her finish up? "Oops! I thought I'd just put a fresh loo roll/wash cloth/towel in here. Here, let me give you a hand." (note: not "Would you like some help?" which will get an automatic "No!").

Has your MIL had a Needs Assessment done? It might be good to get this done, she may be entitled to some help with care/equipment/aids etc. . And you ought to have a Carer's Assessment done, to see what help you need.


Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
You sound overwhelmed and I'm not surprised. Have you had any input from social services? They may be able to offer you some support such as daycare centres, and carers to help you with your mum.

If she is refusing to see doctors there is nothing stopping you from phoning her GP and letting them know the situation. They can't talk to you about your mum but they can listen.

The toilet situation is obviously serious, especially with two 3yr olds in the house. Your mum has obviously lost the ability to cope with her own personal care. It's not her fault, it's what Alzheimer's does to the brain. I wouldn't worry about entertaining her or about a monotonous diet, these things are not the priority right now. The hygiene is. You will have to check, or even help when MIL uses the loo (if she'll let you and you can face it) but ultimately I think she's not safe at home and needs professional care.

I'm sorry. I'm sure this isn't what you wanted to hear.


New member
Nov 8, 2017
Thank you so much for your messages.

She’s actually got worse, before recent weeks she was able to make tea and prepare cold food (scones or fruit loaf) now cannot prepare any of her own food now and has completely forgotten to make tea.
We have seen her brushing her teeth in her bedroom and sometimes she spits into the sink in the kitchen.
She is going to bed around 3ish, some days she gets changed for bed, then changes back to her clothes, then changes to nightie again.

The toilet situation is still as bad, found it all over the walls in the hallway and down the bannister too.

She won’t let me wash any clothes and has been wearing the same thing for two weeks.

She’s so thankful when I do anything for her but the rest of the time she is quite rude and actually hardly speaks at all.

When do you decide it’s time for a care home?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be so appreciated


Registered User
Jan 16, 2014
Perhaps when you start to ask the question. It is usually something that tips you over the line on what you feel you can continue to deal with or manage that brings you to that point whilst recognising that the pwd needs are not being met at home regardless of how willing you are. I personally think the toileting issue and associated risks with small children in the house is that point.


Registered User
Apr 13, 2015
Personally I don't think what sounds like advanced dementia and a family situation with small children works. You can only give MIL so much of your attention as your children need you and even if you get carers in, there are the hours in between when she may need help or keeping an eye on (if she starts to wander or moves things around like my Mum does). You could try daycare so she is out of the house and looked after for a few hours but I agree with everyone else that the spreading of fecal matter is a risk factor for your children.