Unfortunately, soiled underpants are a reality with Alzheimer's. If this is TMI for you, then feel free to click away.
Still here? Ok, good. This may be an uncomfortable conversation for you, but if you're dealing with the care of someone with dementia, it is something that should be discussed. If it helps you, I have a cocktail at hand as we talk. Don't tell Lyn. She'll get mad at me for both the topic and the cocktail. She may even threaten to re-educate me again.
Incontinence is not a guaranteed dementia event. However, it is common enough that we should address it. It can be either urinary or fecal incontinence or both. The person may have it only a few times or may loose all ability to control their bodily functions and need specialized garments and care.
I seem to recall Grandma needing Depends undergarments due to frequent urinary incontinence and a chronic Urinary Tract Infection. Lyn occasionally experiences some urinary leaks at night during her sleep. They're not major and do not happen nightly.
Jim Breuer, the comedian, has spoken of his need to hose his father down after a particularly explosive bout of fecal incontinence. He also indicates the clothes were not worth salvaging and needed to be burned. Mom didn't have to resort to that level of intervention recently.
On the day after Christmas, upon returning home from eating lunch out, Mom heard Lyn's stomach rumble as if she was hungry. Lyn went into the bathroom and after a few minutes, Mom heard "Oh no." Lyn had soiled herself. Mom asked Lyn to bring her the soiled garments and take a bath to clean up. Mom heard a second "Oh no" and discovered a bit of mess on the floor of Lyn's room.
Fortunately, the accident happened at home and Mom was able to redirect Lyn in such a way that Lyn didn't feel mortified by the event. Unfortunately, this may become a more common occurrence and additional toileting prompts may be required to avoid a public accident.
Clinical Stages of Alzheimer's (includes information about incontinence and expected stages)