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Promoting Continence in People with Dementia: Strategies and Support

Updated: May 6

Dementia is a global challenge, particularly as populations continue to age. Individuals living with dementia often experience continence problems, which significantly impact their lives and place additional demands on their caregivers. In this article, we will explore effective strategies to promote continence, emphasise the importance of timely information for carers, and provide available sources of help and support.

Understanding Incontinence

Incontinence refers to the unintentional leakage of urine or faeces, or both. It can be distressing for individuals with dementia and challenging for their caregivers. Let’s delve into the types of incontinence and why people with dementia are at higher risk.

Types of Incontinence

  • Urinary Incontinence:

    • Occasional leaks

    • Continued leakage after urination

    • Total loss of bladder control

    • Overactive bladder (common in people with dementia) causes sudden and intense urges to urinate.

    • Stress incontinence (often affecting women due to pregnancy and childbirth) occurs when coughing, sneezing, or laughing leads to small leaks.

  • Faecal Incontinence:

    • Ranging from accidental small leaks to complete loss of bowel control

    • Affects both men and women

Why Does Incontinence Occur?

Several factors contribute to incontinence, especially in older adults and those with dementia:

  • Medical Conditions:

    • Conditions like urinary tract infections (UTIs) can lead to incontinence. Fortunately, UTIs are treatable with antibiotics.

  • Age:

    • Older individuals are more susceptible to incontinence due to changes in muscle tone and bladder function.

  • Dementia:

    • People with dementia face a higher risk of incontinence due to cognitive decline and physical limitations.

Strategies for Promoting Continence

  • Maintain a Healthy Bladder and Bowels:

    • Encourage a balanced diet and regular exercise.

    • Establish a clear routine for toileting.

    • Assist individuals in using the toilet effectively.

  • Use Assistive Technology and Mobility Aids:

    • Consider mobility aids and assistive devices that enhance independence and support continence.

Remember, promoting continence is essential for enhancing the quality of life for individuals with dementia. By implementing these strategies, we can better support both the affected individuals and their caregivers.


For more information, you can visit the Swan Care Group Ltd website or explore additional resources on continence care. If you have any questions, feel free to ask our team, either visiting our website or contacting us 0208508171/07770269669. 


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