Dealing with Dementia and Toilet Paper Obsession: Tips for Caregivers

Are you struggling to understand why your loved one with dementia is suddenly fixated on toilet paper? Do you find yourself constantly restocking rolls, only to have them disappear shortly after? You’re not alone. Dealing with dementia and toilet paper obsession can be challenging and frustrating for caregivers, but there are ways to cope. Let’s dive into some tips and strategies to help you navigate this difficult situation.

Understanding the Toilet Paper Obsession

Understanding the Toilet Paper Obsession

As a caregiver for a loved one with dementia, you may have noticed an unusual obsession with toilet paper. It’s a frustrating and often baffling behavior that can be difficult to manage. Understanding the reasons behind this behavior can help you approach the situation with more patience and empathy.

One of the common reasons behind toilet paper obsession is the loss of cognitive function that comes with dementia. Patients may forget the purpose of toilet paper or the proper way to use it. As a result, they may use excessive amounts, hoard it, or become agitated if they don’t have access to it. This behavior can be frustrating for caregivers who have to constantly monitor and restock the bathroom.

The obsession with toilet paper can also impact the daily routine of dementia patients. It can cause them to spend excessive amounts of time in the bathroom or disrupt their sleep patterns. 

Additionally, the overuse of toilet paper can lead to clogged pipes and expensive plumbing bills. This can add to the already high cost of caring for a loved one with dementia.

Identifying triggers and patterns is an important step in managing toilet paper obsession. Caregivers can observe their loved one’s behavior and look for patterns in when and why they are hoarding toilet paper. 

It could be triggered by anxiety or stress, or simply a result of boredom or confusion. Once the triggers are identified, caregivers can take steps to address them and provide alternative activities or distractions.

Tips for Caregivers

As a caregiver, it can be challenging to deal with a loved one with dementia and their toilet paper obsession. However, there are several things you can do to make the situation easier for both you and your loved one.

First, creating a routine for toilet paper usage can be helpful. This could mean setting specific times of day for bathroom breaks or using a visual schedule to show when it’s appropriate to use toilet paper. For example, you might have a chart that shows a picture of a toilet paper roll next to a picture of a bathroom, indicating that it’s okay to use toilet paper in the bathroom only.

Providing visual cues and reminders can also be beneficial. You might consider placing a sign in the bathroom that reminds your loved one to use only the appropriate amount of toilet paper or placing a basket of tissues or wipes nearby as an alternative.

Using distraction techniques can also be effective. For example, you might try engaging your loved one in conversation or providing them with an activity or task to focus on to redirect their attention away from the toilet paper.

Ensuring safety and hygiene is also essential. Make sure your loved one is using toilet paper correctly and disposing of it properly to avoid any health or safety risks.

Finally, communication is key. It’s essential to talk with your loved one about their toilet paper obsession in a respectful and compassionate manner. Listen to their concerns and try to find solutions together.

Dealing with Challenging Behaviors

As a caregiver, dealing with the challenging behaviors of a loved one with dementia can be a tough task. One of the common challenges that caregivers face is toilet paper obsession, which can cause frustration and confusion for both the caregiver and the person with dementia. Understanding why these behaviors occur is the first step in managing them.

Often, toilet paper obsession occurs because the person with dementia has a need for control or familiarity. They may feel a sense of comfort or security with the texture or smell of the toilet paper. In some cases, it may also be related to anxiety or boredom. By identifying the underlying cause of the behavior, caregivers can better manage it.

Some common challenging behaviors related to toilet paper obsession include hoarding, excessive use, and even flushing toilet paper down the toilet. These behaviors can be frustrating for caregivers, but it is important to remember that they are a symptom of the disease and not intentional actions.

To manage these behaviors, there are several techniques that caregivers can use. One technique is redirection, where the person with dementia is redirected to another activity or object to help distract them from their obsession. Another technique is providing a substitute object, such as a soft towel or blanket, to help fulfill their need for comfort.

It is also important for caregivers to maintain a calm and patient attitude when managing these behaviors. Responding with anger or frustration can escalate the situation and cause the person with dementia to become more agitated.

Self-care for Caregivers

Self-care for Caregivers

Being a caregiver is a demanding job, both physically and emotionally. Taking care of someone else can leave you feeling exhausted, frustrated, and even resentful. This is why self-care is crucial for caregivers. Neglecting your needs can lead to burnout and a decline in physical and mental health.

One strategy for reducing stress and managing emotions is to take breaks throughout the day. This can be as simple as taking a 10-minute walk or sitting down to enjoy a cup of tea. Taking regular breaks can help to clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective. It’s also important to prioritize your own sleep, nutrition, and exercise. A healthy lifestyle can help you to better manage stress and feel more energized.

Another important strategy for self-care is seeking support from others. Family and friends can offer emotional support and practical assistance. Support groups for caregivers can also provide a safe space to share experiences and get advice from others who understand what you are going through.

In addition to these strategies, it’s also important to practice self-compassion. Caregiving is a challenging job, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed at times. Be kind to yourself and remember that you are doing the best you can. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you need it.

Taking care of yourself as a caregiver is not selfish, it’s necessary. By prioritizing your own needs, you can better care for your loved one and ensure that you don’t burn out in the process. So take a break, seek support, and be kind to yourself. You deserve it.

Have you experienced a similar situation? How did you deal with it? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.


  1. I have found your article very helpful, my wife has dementia and developed this toilet paper hoarding habit, she hoards it under her pillow and denies it. I shall now try to reason with her compassionately and see if I can improve the situation.
    Thanh you

  2. This toilet paper hoarding is in the middle of the night after numerous trips to the bathroom.There is no direction anymore,he barely speaks to me.. if I take it out of places he only takes more

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