U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Caregiving
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-07-2013, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Southern California
131 posts, read 76,027 times
Reputation: 144
Default Incontinence, Too-Late Toilet Habits, and Cleanliness

My friend's mother lives on her own (next door to my friend) and is pretty active with her local senior group. She can't drive but is ambulatory; she gets around via her daughter's good graces and the senior bus that drives her all over. The mom is 81.

The mother is also my friend, and has stayed with my family a few times. In the past few months, we have seen a problem arising from a physical issue.

The mother is incontinent, big time, wears pads and diaper-briefs under her clothing, but will not go to the bathroom often enough proactively to prevent frequent wet pants. She also ends up having pretty bad body odor problems as a result.

Her family has talked to her (daughter and granddaughter) about this hygiene issue; I have talked to her about it, too, but no one is seeing any changes in the mother's behavior. She can go to the bathroom; she just will not, on a regular basis, and then when it's too late, has overflowed her brief/pad to the extent it leaks through to her slacks.

This happened on a vacation we took with her; it happens at the senior center; it happened recently at Christmas, despite the daughter's prompting her mom to go to the bathroom. She wouldn't.

Just before the drive home, the mom asked for a bag to be put on the seat to protect the new car interior from the wet pants.

When she traveled with me, I insisted she get out of the car to go to the toilet, but I knew the whole time that she was mad at me about it.

Added to this, my friend, the mom, will not bathe regularly, so the odors get even worse. I can't sit down to a meal with her any more. I live far away, so I don't deal with it except on occasion, but her daughter and family deal with it, of course, at holidays, runs to the grocery store, etc.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I read lots of posts in various areas, and I am always glad to see the variety of good information people have available.

Thanks.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-07-2013, 10:07 AM
 
2,403 posts, read 5,319,080 times
Reputation: 2898
That's a really hard situation. I guess she has to be willing to actually talk about it, which right now it sounds like she's trying to be in denial.

I agree that going to the bathroom on a regular schedule (whether she thinks she needs to or not) is the best case for managing her incontinence. The question is why won't she? Is she embarassed that people know why she has to use the bathroom? Are the briefs difficult to maneuver up and down so that she feels going to the bathroom will be extremely difficult and time consuming??

But again - unless she's willing to talk about it, I don't know how you answer either of these issues.

Regarding bathing - one of the very first senses to diminish with many of the elderly is the sense of smell. She probably really has no idea how bad it is, and because she can't smell it - she has a hard time believing you (thinks people are exaggerating it).

My father will sometimes dribble urine when using the urinal (he is bedbound), and I can always smell that some of it dripped as soon as I walk in the room (I can then change things as necessary) -- but he is usually completely oblivious to it. Obviously if there's enough that it feels wet - he notices that. But if there's not enough to feel it, but a strong odor -- he has no notice of it and is always surprised when I mention it.

Best of luck to your friend and her family. I would suggest getting a doctor appt with a specialist (there are doctors that specialize in incontinence) - but again that will only work if she's willing to have a frank discussion regarding the issues.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Southern California
131 posts, read 76,027 times
Reputation: 144
Thanks for the quick reply. I have told my friend about this forum and hope that she will join up and get some much-needed support.

The mom hasn't had a sense of smell for years, which is how we frame telling her about the issue: "We know you can't smell it but would want to know about this body odor." I personally told her that I cannot sit at the table with her in that condition. We have also told her that others are pointing out the problem.

I also suggested it's time for the next doctor's visit. I am wondering whether there is some cognitive impairment going on here. The mom has been so stubborn for so long that it is hard to tell whether she is still being stubborn, or whether there are clothing or standing/sitting difficulties -- she says there is not, when we have asked -- or just that she isn't processing these things ahead of time.

It's almost like she doesn't 'get' what is GOING to happen, only that it now HAS happened.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
9,151 posts, read 8,711,151 times
Reputation: 9135
A doctor's visit is the first step. Incontinence is not an inevitable effect of aging and it can have multiple causes, sometimes a simple as an infection.

However, the refusal to acknowledge the problem exists suggests some cognitive impairment. Will she tell you why she does not want to go to the toilet more often?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 12:13 PM
 
6,945 posts, read 15,802,003 times
Reputation: 6426
I'm going to do some guessing here. Skip the parts that you know about.

All members of the family and friends MUST insist that she go to the bathroom at regular intervals. Everything else stop until she does. No meals,, not going shopping etc. And the family has to stand firm and not give ground. Eventually, no matter how stubborn she is, she might get into the habit of regular trips. (you'll notice I said MIGHT)

It's the same thing with the bath. Once or twice a week on the same day. Bathing can be a scary thing if the tub and bathroom is not equipped with grab bars. Make sure the tub/shower has enough heavy duty bars to hold her up. Also, There is a good chance that she may not be able to wash her lower legs, feet and back. Instead of "do you need any help?" ( The answer will always be NO!) Try something like, "I am going to wash your feet because I know how hard it is to reach them." It will take time for her to change, but maybe you will be lucky!

It's one of those personality difficuties that doesn't get better with age. Don't ask. You know she needs help. Get used to being more stubborn.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Southern California
131 posts, read 76,027 times
Reputation: 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
A doctor's visit is the first step. Incontinence is not an inevitable effect of aging and it can have multiple causes, sometimes a simple as an infection.

However, the refusal to acknowledge the problem exists suggests some cognitive impairment. Will she tell you why she does not want to go to the toilet more often?
She says she doesn't feel like she has to go. She never seems to have the urge. Everything just happens via gravity. I told her she will not feel like she has to go. She is going to have to be smarter than her bladder and just go on schedule. People prompt her, but she won't go. I've seen this behavior, and I've heard it reported.

She has been incontinent for quite some time and is frequently seen by a doctor for allergies and other respiratory ills; however, the idea of an infection is one worth exploring. I think those muscles are just all shot and weak, but you never know....
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Southern California
131 posts, read 76,027 times
Reputation: 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Padgett2 View Post
I'm going to do some guessing here. Skip the parts that you know about.

All members of the family and friends MUST insist that she go to the bathroom at regular intervals. Everything else stop until she does. No meals,, not going shopping etc. And the family has to stand firm and not give ground. Eventually, no matter how stubborn she is, she might get into the habit of regular trips. (you'll notice I said MIGHT)

It's the same thing with the bath. Once or twice a week on the same day. Bathing can be a scary thing if the tub and bathroom is not equipped with grab bars. Make sure the tub/shower has enough heavy duty bars to hold her up. Also, There is a good chance that she may not be able to wash her lower legs, feet and back. Instead of "do you need any help?" ( The answer will always be NO!) Try something like, "I am going to wash your feet because I know how hard it is to reach them." It will take time for her to change, but maybe you will be lucky!

It's one of those personality difficuties that doesn't get better with age. Don't ask. You know she needs help. Get used to being more stubborn.
Those are good suggestions. i know at her home she has grab bars in her shower, but she did not have them at our house or the other place we took her. I asked her if she was worried about falling, but she said No. I have also learned that often the elderly do not like the feeling of a shower pelting water against them; the sensation is unpleasant. My mother in law, who died with Alzheimer's, had what I started to call "hydrophobia of the elderly" and would NOT take a shower. I think it was the beating of the shower.

That, and she didn't want to mess up her hair.

Thanks for your feedback so far. Any little thing that anyone can offer might be the candle in the window here!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
5,408 posts, read 3,134,177 times
Reputation: 9019
Quote:
Originally Posted by Padgett2 View Post
I'm going to do some guessing here. Skip the parts that you know about.

All members of the family and friends MUST insist that she go to the bathroom at regular intervals. Everything else stop until she does. No meals,, not going shopping etc. And the family has to stand firm and not give ground. Eventually, no matter how stubborn she is, she might get into the habit of regular trips. (you'll notice I said MIGHT)

It's the same thing with the bath. Once or twice a week on the same day. Bathing can be a scary thing if the tub and bathroom is not equipped with grab bars. Make sure the tub/shower has enough heavy duty bars to hold her up. Also, There is a good chance that she may not be able to wash her lower legs, feet and back. Instead of "do you need any help?" ( The answer will always be NO!) Try something like, "I am going to wash your feet because I know how hard it is to reach them." It will take time for her to change, but maybe you will be lucky!

It's one of those personality difficuties that doesn't get better with age. Don't ask. You know she needs help. Get used to being more stubborn.
These are excellent ideas.

A great point about offering/insisting on washing her feet. I'm only 60 with mild arthritis and I already have trouble washing my feet while showering.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 08:04 PM
 
3,766 posts, read 3,931,574 times
Reputation: 3851
What a good friend you are, Goin' Coastal!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2013, 08:14 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
14,702 posts, read 16,694,123 times
Reputation: 18678
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin' Coastal View Post
My friend's mother lives on her own (next door to my friend) and is pretty active with her local senior group. She can't drive but is ambulatory; she gets around via her daughter's good graces and the senior bus that drives her all over. The mom is 81.

The mother is also my friend, and has stayed with my family a few times. In the past few months, we have seen a problem arising from a physical issue.

The mother is incontinent, big time, wears pads and diaper-briefs under her clothing, but will not go to the bathroom often enough proactively to prevent frequent wet pants. She also ends up having pretty bad body odor problems as a result.

Her family has talked to her (daughter and granddaughter) about this hygiene issue; I have talked to her about it, too, but no one is seeing any changes in the mother's behavior. She can go to the bathroom; she just will not, on a regular basis, and then when it's too late, has overflowed her brief/pad to the extent it leaks through to her slacks.

This happened on a vacation we took with her; it happens at the senior center; it happened recently at Christmas, despite the daughter's prompting her mom to go to the bathroom. She wouldn't.

Just before the drive home, the mom asked for a bag to be put on the seat to protect the new car interior from the wet pants.

When she traveled with me, I insisted she get out of the car to go to the toilet, but I knew the whole time that she was mad at me about it.

Added to this, my friend, the mom, will not bathe regularly, so the odors get even worse. I can't sit down to a meal with her any more. I live far away, so I don't deal with it except on occasion, but her daughter and family deal with it, of course, at holidays, runs to the grocery store, etc.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I read lots of posts in various areas, and I am always glad to see the variety of good information people have available.

Thanks.
The daughter needs to have a conversation with her mother's doctor so that he will TELL mom that HE wants her to go to the bathroom a MINIMUM of every two hours (or three, or whatever). He can tell her that if she "holds it" too long it can result in "complications" (which is true if you consider wet pants to be complications). Hopefully, she will do what the doctor says.

The daughter could also say something like... "Mom, I love you, but I don't like cleaning up after you. If you won't go to the bathroom, then I am going to have to bring someone in to help me take care of you". Maybe the potential displeasure of having a stranger cleaning up after one of her "accidents" will motivate her to go to the bathroom more often.

Has anyone asked the old lady why she doesn't want to go to the bathroom? There could be a reason. She could be in pain, or maybe she finds the toilet cold or uncomfortable. Maybe it is too difficult for her to get her pants down and pull them up again. This could be a problem, especially if the lady has a lot of arthritis in her hands. Her daughter needs to find out "why". Surely she does not prefer to sit in wet pants and be embarrassed by her "accidents" in public. So suggest she have a conversation about it and see if she can do something to help.

20yrsinBranson
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $79,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Caregiving
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top