What Should Dementia Friendly Bathrooms Look Like?

What Should Dementia Friendly Bathrooms Look Like?

  • On May 10, 2018
  • dementia, senior incontinence

For someone with Dementia, the bathroom can be a confusing and dangerous place. While staying continent is something a lot of people take advantage of, even recognising a toilet can be difficult for someone with incontinence.

We are not born knowing how to stay continent. It is estimated that urinary incontinence is up to 4 times more common in those with Dementia than those without Dementia. People with Dementia often have difficulties due to a mix of functional and cognitive impairments. Damage to the nerve pathways in the brain is one reason as to why some people with Dementia become incontinent. Physical changes to these brain cells can disrupt the flow of electrical charges to and from neurons. Without the necessary signals in the brain, someone with Dementia can lose the ability to even be aware of when they need to visit a toilet. Dementia can also cause severely affect memory, which becomes more extreme in the later stages of Dementia. This is why it is common for someone with Dementia to forget what they went into the bathroom for. Some individuals with Dementia have problems with one part of the process of using the toilet. A person with Dementia might forget what to do with toilet paper, or they may be unsure of where the toilet paper is. This problem can be worsened by mobility problems.


Are you taking care of someone with incontinence and Dementia? Read our advice blog for general lifestyle tips and advice.


Designing a Dementia Friendly Bathroom

The director of Dementia’s Services Development in Stirling asserts, “both the patient and the home environment need to be assessed when managing incontinence”. It is therefore vital to ensure someone with Dementia is provided with the most efficient surroundings to make visiting the toilet easier. The use of toilet aids and visual support can help someone feel more confident and reassured.


Following these tips can ensure you are providing a bathroom that is suitable for someone with Dementia:

– Use contrasting colours. Even though a person with Dementia is able to see their surroundings, they may be unable to make out a toilet as separate from its surroundings. Coloured toilet seats can increase visibility and can make it easier for the individual to sit down correctly and reduce the risk of falls. A black, blue or red seat is most easily recognised by those with perceptual difficulties. In group care settings, experts recommend that the bathroom door is painted a different colour to all the other doors for extra clarity.

– Keep essential items within reach. To enable independent toileting, ensure an individual with Dementia can reach the items they need.

– Provide support to prevent falls and slipping. Wall rail aids can improve the safety of going to the toilet and prevent someone from falling. Toilet aid frames are also necessary to provide support, familiarity and confidence.

– Use clear signage. Ensure it is clear where the bathroom is. Putting a clear sign on the door is a key starting point to prevent an individual with Dementia from getting confused. You can also place signs or clear symbols above the key features.

– Remove any locks on doors. Incontinence nurses recommend removing any locks on doors that could cause potential hazards.

– Avoid shiny, reflective floors. Stick to a basic floor with minimal pattern. Shiny floors can easily confuse someone with Dementia and increase the risk of falls.


Essential Toilet Aid Frame

Bright contrasting handrails


Taking other measures to ensure nothing is in the way of the route to the bathroom is vital. Ensure there are no risks of the person falling over. Additionally, ensure there is no risk of them getting locked in the bathroom or having difficulties with the door. For the safety of someone with Dementia, Nurses recommend removing locks from bathroom doors. Locks may seem unfamiliar and getting locked in a bathroom may cause the individual to become scared of using it again.

To be proactive and prevent accidents, you can purchase an ideal protective product for the individual. Have a browse through our range of products here to find a perfect solution.


Look out for any other Health Conditions

When looking after someone with Dementia, you should bear in mind that their difficulties may be caused by other health issues. Infections such as a urinary tract infection, for example, can result in urgent and frequent leakages. Mobility problems may also be a cause for leakages, so you should ensure they are provided with support. You can read about the common causes of incontinence in seniors here. Be sensitive and understanding towards the person and remember that they did not choose to be incontinent.