My mom doesn't care that she's soiled herself, is this a sign of Alzheimer's?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 27, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Mom doesn't care that she has peed or pooped in her clothing she has slept in soiled clothes and says she is tootired to get up and go to the bathroom. Is this a sign of Alzheimer's disease?

Expert Answers

Jytte Lokvig, PhD, coaches families and professional caregivers and designs life-enrichment programs and activities for patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. Her workshops and seminars help caregivers and families create a healthy environment based on dignity and humor. She is the author of Alzheimer's A to Z: A Quick-Reference Guide.

Your mother's behavior may be an indicator of Alzheimer's or another dementia. As a rule of thumb, we look for a pattern of three or more of these markers to indicate dementia:

"¢ Short-term memory loss that interferes with daily life

"¢ Hard time with planning or solving problems

"¢ Difficulty finishing projects

"¢ Problems with routines at work

"¢ Changes in mood and personality

"¢ Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

"¢ Increasing problems with words in speaking or writing

"¢ Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

"¢ Placing items in unusual places; i.e. car keys in the freezer

"¢ Confusion with routines: personal hygiene, paying bills

"¢ Getting lost in familiar neighborhood

"¢ Vague about time or place

"¢ Decreased or poor judgment

"¢ Withdrawal from work or social activities

Go to more information on Alzheimer's on this website.

In the meantime, regardless of whether your mother has Alzheimer's or not, there are things you can do to help her: Have her wear pull-up incontinence briefs in place of her underwear (call them panties.) You can remind her (gently) to use the toilet. Use a plastic mattress cover for her bed and a waterproof pad on top of her sheet.

*For more details, go to "Early Signs and Symptoms of Dementi