How can I encourage my mother to empty her bladder more frequently?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 17, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother has had Alzheimer's for the last 16 years. I've had her living with me for 10 years. More and more recently I'm having problems getting her to empty her bladder. She will hold it from the time she gets up in the morning until the middle of the night. I've tried everything and am worried sick.

Expert Answers

Ladislav Volicer, M.D., Ph.D., is recognized as an international expert on advanced dementia care. He is a courtesy full professor at the School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, and visiting professor at the Third Medical Faculty, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Twenty-five years ago, he established one of the first dementia special care units.

Infrequent urination may be an indication of insufficient intake of liquids that can result in dehydration. Try to make your mother to drink more, by providing social reasons for drinking liquids (e.g., afternoon tea, drinking with her, etc.).

Community Answers

Galowa answered...


If she avoids urinating, she may find it painful to do so. If she were my mother, I would take her to a urologist for urinalysis and exam. There's a good chance she has a bladder infection, or more seriously, she may have bladder stones.

Either way, when it comes to physical problems, I have rarely encountered a situation with my own mom when her strange behaviours were not an indication of a REAL physical ailment...

With respect to hydration, as suggested by the expert here, keep in mind that not all fluids are created equally. Water is best, cranberry juice is excellent for urinary tract health, and most black teas and sodas "don't count," as their net effect is to DEhydrate rather than hydrate...

As an aside, I salute you on your ten years of caregiving. I am five and a half years into it and just about ready to expire. You are AWE-inspiring.



: )