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Old 10-14-2005, 03:36 AM   #1
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Adult Diapers question

My grandmother refuses to use the toilet, so we have to buy her adult diapers to use. If somebody uses adult diapers to go to the bathroom on a daily basis, how much should they use?

My grandmother uses AT LEAST one entire bag a day. There's 20 diapers in that bag. That means she's going to the bathroom 20+ times a day. Is this normal? I'd like to know because this is costing us a fortune considering the fact that one bag of adult diapers costs about $10. That equals $70 a week, about $300 a month, and about $3500 a year.

Also, simply having to deal with the dirty diapers is becoming a burden. Everyday I have to take out her garbage bag full of dirty diapers, take it outside, and then drive all the way to the nearest garbage dumping area (which is about 10 minutes away). I then have to replace that garbage bag, every single day. Sometimes twice a day. We have to use those expensive Glad Force Flex garbage bags because that diaper bag gets so heavy and often leaks if you use a cheaper brand of garbage bags. The cost of these garbage bags alone is also getting pretty expensive.

So overall, things are getting a little out of hand. I'd just like some input on whether this is normal or not, and what I can do about it. Also, is it normal for elderly people to use adult diapers in this way? I always thought they were only suppossed to be used if you were incontinent (which my grandmother is not).

 
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Old 10-14-2005, 08:44 AM   #2
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Re: Adult Diapers question

Unless she is incontinent or physically incapable of getting herself to and from the bathroom, this is not normal.

She needs to be seen by a doctor who can evaluate her physical and mental capacity.

 
Old 10-14-2005, 09:45 AM   #3
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Re: Adult Diapers question

Your grandmother needs to see a doctor to rule out problems that could be corrected.

If she is incontinent (no bladder control), be grateful she changes diapers often and does not keep wearing them long enough to leak out and soak the chairs and her clothes or break out with a yeast infection. Pheweee....when they become urine rancid smelling and the entire house too, it can be rough on those who must be in the house from time to time.

If she does not have control of her bowels, then be grateful she changes and does not remain soiled.

Yes, it is expensive, lots of work, but, how else will you keep her dry and clean?

Check and see if there are liners or extra pads to use inside the diapers. They may be less expensive and serve the purpose, reducing number of diapers needed in order to stay dry and clean if she is only soiling a little bit at a time.

 
Old 10-14-2005, 10:25 PM   #4
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Re: Adult Diapers question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Constant
Unless she is incontinent or physically incapable of getting herself to and from the bathroom, this is not normal.

She needs to be seen by a doctor who can evaluate her physical and mental capacity.
No, she is not incontinent. She is totally physically capable of going to the bathroom herself. The problem is that she has mental issues of some sort, and is convinced that she will slip and fall if she uses the toilet. This is some kind of extreme paranoia. It makes no sense, since she freely walks around and sits down with absolutely no problem.

We've tried talking to her about it, and talking to various doctors about it, but they all just shake their heads like there's nothing they can do about it, and simply support our (only) decision to keep buying her diapers so that she can use them to do all her bowel and urine movements.

You'd think my grandmother has some kind of elderly dementia, but this is not the case. She's always been a little off, and paranoid about ridiculous things. I am really worried though, because haivng to live this way is greatly affecting her quality of life, as well as our own (having to deal with her crap, literally. Plus the house constantly smells of feces and urine).

So nobody else uses adult diapers in this fashion? Anybody have any idea how to talk to the doctors about this?

 
Old 10-14-2005, 10:51 PM   #5
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Re: Adult Diapers question

My grandmother was given a very low dose of prozac and it seemed to help tremendously with a lot of the fears she seemed to have acquired as she got older.

 
Old 10-15-2005, 01:57 PM   #6
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Re: Adult Diapers question

There are handrails to put on toilets to make it easier to get up and down and may provide security for your grandmother. Remove throw rugs so she does not trip and fall. Put hand rails along the wall for security, also in the bath area. A shower bench with 1 legs in tub and 2 legs outside of tub will be safer. At least she would be able to safely get cleaned up.

Febreeze works well to spray around toilet, diaper pail, carpet, other areas to help the odor. Put a big trash bin with lid near back door and have her put all dirty diapers in the bin. This will keep some of the smell out of the house.

How old is your grandmother?

Is her potassium level in the normal range? If potassium is too low it will cause problems and many times the elderly are thought to have alhimizers but don't, it is only too low potassium. Potassium below 3 is too low, and if it is down to 2 it is way too low. Too much potassium can cause problems too.

Just a thought, do you ask your grandmother to give you "cash" for diapers? If not, give that a try. Most elderly hate to turn loose of money and she just might decide it would be better to use the toilet instead of turning lose of her money. Won't hurt to try this angle.

Last edited by Misty800; 10-15-2005 at 01:59 PM.

 
Old 10-15-2005, 08:31 PM   #7
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Re: Adult Diapers question

Thanks for the tips, guys. But I just realized that I guess the reason why doctors keep refusing to help or suggest anything in this situation is because the entire situation is above everybody's heads. When somebody is as ridiculously stubborn as my grandmother, there's really nothing you can do.

We have installed bathroom and toilet rails, even raised toilet seats and such. But that makes no difference since she sits down and gets up with incredible ease. So her physical state is perfectly fine. It's her mental state. And like I said before, she's always been like this, from the day she was born. According to my mother, my grandmother has always had these strange ideas and ways of living. I truly don't know how she got around and even raised a child with her inability to think normally.

I've tried to talk to doctors about her mental state, and tried to get them to talk her out of this diapers thing, but it's no use. Our family suspects that part of the reason why she doesn't want to use the bathroom is because we often use the bathroom too. And there were a few times when we wanted to use the bathroom, but she was in it. This isn't a big deal to us at all, but I think she felt incredibly pressured to use the bathroom as quickly as possible or something. So we've tried to convince her to not worry about us, and that she can take as long as she wants to. But there's just no convincing her.

In a way, I kind of see this as a sort of tantrum. Like, "See, you guys are living with me (she previously lived alone, I don't know how she coped before) so now I have to make sacrifices and use diapers instead of using the toilet, just so that you guys can use the toilet." Or something of that nature. It's almost like she's afraid of us. This is her house, and yet she now all of a sudden refuses to be in the same room as us. So instead of freely walking around her own house, she now only secludes herself in a dark corner of the living room, and stares at the floor all day without turning on the tv or anything.

She now even refuses to walk into the kitchen. So because she refuses to leave her room or the corner of her living room, she can't go to the bathroom, she can't take a shower (we have to bathe her) and she can't ever eat with us because she refuses to come into the kitchen. We have to bring her meals to her separately, on a tray. She now also refuses to leave the house to go out. It's just incredibly frustrating because she's in perfectly good shape, and can walk around and sit down and get up with absolutely no problems at all. I know this because when she thinks nobody is watching her, she walks around very quickly, and sits down and gets up like there's no tomorrow. Like a perfectly normal healthy human being. But if somebody is there around her, watching her, she throws this act and makes like she can barely walk, and she makes like she can't get up. When we go to the doctor's, she pretends like she's practically paralyzed (she can't even stand on the scale). There's no reason for her to be acting the way she's acting, and living the way she's living. It's just too bad that she chose to live this way, and that there's nothing anybody can say to change her decision.

Anyway, sorry for my venting/rambling. The main issue here is her diapers. She is an incredibly stingy person (never took a vacation in her life, just to save money), but even though we told her how much the diapers are costing her, she said it's worth it, and she told us to use all of her social security money each month to buy it. So that's what we do. And pretty much all of her social security check does need to go towards the diapers. After that, there's not much left. It's a waste, but I guess to her that's what that social security money is for; to take care of her. Still, the entire issue is pretty depressing. I'm at a complete loss at how to handle it when somebody is this ridiculously stubborn.

Oh, and my grandmother is 84. That's another issue. She has this weird idea in her head (she's told us this many times) that since her own mother died while in her mid-80s and was bedridden about that time, she feels that she should follow suit, regardless of how physically able she is. So I guess this could be another cause to her decision to live this way. But regardless of the reasoning, it still makes absolutely no sense.

Last edited by Paine; 10-15-2005 at 08:34 PM.

 
Old 10-16-2005, 04:02 PM   #8
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Re: Adult Diapers question

You don't have to have a physical problem for your insurance company to supply diapers. My son can physically go to the bathroom but a mental disability ( autism) prevents him from going. our insurance company covers 180 diapers delivered every month to our door. That's 6 diapers a day paid for.

 
Old 10-16-2005, 09:17 PM   #9
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Re: Adult Diapers question

Quote:
Originally Posted by off kilter
You don't have to have a physical problem for your insurance company to supply diapers. My son can physically go to the bathroom but a mental disability ( autism) prevents him from going. our insurance company covers 180 diapers delivered every month to our door. That's 6 diapers a day paid for.
That's really good news, I was hoping insurance or medicare or something might cover diapers. I guess I just need to call around more and ask. I guess I was just worried I'd sound stupid asking if they cover diaper costs.

 
Old 10-17-2005, 10:13 PM   #10
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Re: Adult Diapers question

I understand, Paine, I had a mother-in-law who was also pretty much irrational all her life, worse so as she aged, and I agree when you're dealing with someone whose thinking is that disturbed and basically nutty but they aren't hurting themselves or anyone else so they come across on the surface to strangers as being of reasonably sound mind, it's hopeless to try to change the behavior. You just have to try to survive it with minimum possible unpleasantness to yourself. Sometimes their mental issues, esp. as they age and sink deeper into their private thinking, are just beyond anyone's ability to address. it seems they put up a wall no one can get past.

But -- I strongly think that YOU, the family and caretakers, MUST draw some limits, for your OWN sanity, on what you will or won't do for a half-addled oldster that isn't necessary. In caring for someone in this state (physically healthy elderly but irrational), it's urgent for your well-being that you realize you are most likely dealing with a marathon situation, not a sprint. You need to take time and plan carefully to guard your OWN health, energy and mental comfort. Catering to a demanding, irrational person's every whim will only build up your own exhaustion and resentment levels and end up making the situation much worse for everyone involved, including her.

For example, you say you "have to" bring her her meals because she won't go into the kitchen. It might sound mean, but I'd say, don't add that unnecessary task to your load. If she doesn't want to come into the kitchen, you go ahead and prepare the family meal and eat, set her a place or whatever you want the routine to be and tell her, "Supper's there when you're ready, or if you're not hungry till later, you can get yourself something later." She sounds sneaky and capable enough she'll figure something out, she isn't going to starve.

Her demands that you do the diaper thing when she doesn't physically need it is pretty outrageous. I'd just say, think, not in a spirit of meanness, but just self-protection as I said above, of how you can put as much of the burden as is practical back where it belongs, ON HER. The stink her unnecessary diapers cause shouldn't become YOUR problem -- so maybe store the diapers in a big sealed airtight container in HER room till you get a chance to go (less often than daily, I think that's a bit much to ask if you have a busy schedule) to dispose of them?

In fact, I think a good solution might be you make her pay for regular garbage pickup? It sounds like you live in an area without regular service, like unincorporated or something. But it can be arranged for private service. That's how it was with my nutty MIL. She refused for years to pay for garbage pickup because she thought the garbagemen might come in the house and steal her stinky stuff (I DOUBT IT, they'd have to wear gas masks and go through decontamination afterwards ) and frankly I think it was mostly stinginess on her part too. Finally my poor husband, after years of hauling the family garbage himself to the nearest dump, got fed up and told her one day, "I've arranged for garbage service. There will be two cans in the backyard and they'll come empty them every week, it's a done deal" or 2x a week or whatever it was. "If you don't want to use them, fine, leave the freaking cans empty." Well, of course as he'd figured this was completely unacceptable to her tightfisted soul to be wasting a service that was paid for! So the first couple weeks she went out in the backyard and got all the leaves and lawn clippings and filled the garbage cans with them!!! Then when the lawn clippings were all gone, FINALLY she started putting the household waste in the cans just because she couldn't stand to waste the garbage service LOL!!!!!!

Really I'm thinking this may be a good option for you even if you have to pay for it yourself or split the cost with her or something. Remember your goal is not to make a lunatic sane, forget that, not gonna happen -- you just want to get through the "eldercare marathon" in reasonable health and spirits...

(I hope I don't sound mean, just trying to be practical...)

I do agree that a medication for her paranoia is almost certainly called for, but I suppose she would refuse to take it and I guess no one can force her if she is not violent or dangerous.

But if her ability to function independently continues to deterioriate, you may need to be looking at options that may be available to where she can be cared for outside her home.

 
Old 10-18-2005, 01:38 AM   #11
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Re: Adult Diapers question

Quote:
Originally Posted by seekalot
She refused for years to pay for garbage pickup because she thought the garbagemen might come in the house and steal her stinky stuff (I DOUBT IT, they'd have to wear gas masks and go through decontamination afterwards ) and frankly I think it was mostly stinginess on her part too.
LOL! That sounds like something my grandmother would think too. What is it with the eldery and their obsessive thinking that people are always wanting to come in and steal stuff? My grandmother is so obsessed with this thought, that every time she'd lose something really small, like a bottle of nutmeg, she'd immediately accuse the next door neighbors of breaking in and stealing her nutmeg (even though nothing else was ever stolen). She'd lose (or rather, misplace) something almost every day, but this just further convinced her that the neighbors were continually breaking in everyday just to steal stuff like her nutmeg.

Anyway, thanks for the excellent input. It is difficult dealing with this, especially when you know they're perfectly capable of living normally. I mean, I love my grandma and would be more than willing to bathe her and deal with her dirty diapers and all of that IF SHE REALLY HAD TO. But just knowing that this is all unnecessary just makes it so hard and frustrating.

I would invest in a larger diaper bin/trash bin, but things are going okay with the diaper thing we have now. It fits one large sized garbage bag, and she fills it up in just half a day. I empty the bag everyday, and it's really heavy. I can't imagine how heavy it would be if the diaper bin was even bigger.

And we already store the diaper bin in her room, but even then the smell just wafts throughout the entire house (I guess cause we have a small house). She insists on leaving the door to her room open, to air out the room, so that lets a lot of the smell out. I think it might be too cruel to tell her to stop opening her door, so I guess I'll just let it go.

I thought about placing the diaper bin outside the back door (outside of the house), so the smell doesn't permeate the house so much, but I don't know how she'd (and if she'd be willing to) bring her dirty diapers all the way to the diaper bin if it were outside. The door is right there and theoretically it wouldn't be a hassle, but I just know she'd find problems with it. For one thing, she has issues with opening and closing that back door. She can't seem to figure out how to open and close the lock for that door (she spends like, 5 minutes fidgeting with the lock), and she never wants to open it or leave it unlocked (even if it's just for 5 mintues) for fear of some stranger busting in at that moment. But I'll give it a shot anyway and at least try to talk to her about the whole idea.

At several points I have thought about putting her into some kind of elderly care home, but she would never forgive me for that. She definitely doesn't want to do that. She wants to live and die in her own home. I've even thought about using that to threaten her (either you start living normally, or we'll put you into a care home), but that would just stress her out too much and I doubt she'd be willing to change.

That's a good idea to use the garbage pickup service, but I kinda think she could care less either way. She tells us to use her social security money, and she's convinced that spending that money on her unusual ways of living is a perfectly good use of it. And in way it is her money, so we can't really complain.

So even though it's a major hassle to have to drive 10 minutes (20 minutes total) to the garbage dump all the time, I think (along with everything else I have to put up with) I just have to suck it up and deal with it. This is the way she wants to live and can't be convinced otherwise, and any attempts to change her life will just end up in her getting upset and our relationship possibly getting strained. So I guess it's just best to let it go.

But I would like some kind of financial coverage for her diapers if possible. But I called around and things don't look that great. She hasn't been diagnosed with any kind of mental disabilities (and I don't think she really has any diagnosable mental disabilities--she's just stubborn), and her physical state is normal, so there's no way they can offer any kind of coverage for her diapers. Maybe I just have to keep calling and find out more. And even though it might be fruitless, I guess I'll keep going to different doctors and keep trying to get some kind of diagnosis on her mental state. Maybe she can be diagnosed as having dementia, or something. I just hope that'll be enough for them to provide some coverage for the diapers.

Anyway, I just feel really guilty recently. I heard this commercial recently and it said, "Take care of your family, because they took care of you." I realized that it's kind of selfish to want her to change her life just cause I don't like it. Even though her way of life is ridiculous now, if that's how she wants to live, and if that's what makes her happy, then I just have to do my duty and do as she pleases, regardless of how much it's affecting my life. And I guess it's not really that bad. Things could be worse I guess. I'm sure there are a ton of people out there who have to deal with people in worse situations. The things I have to do for her are a major inconvenience, and is somewhat plaguing my well being, but I just have to try to change my attitude (try and ignore the crap smell, stop thinking "why does she have to live this way", focus on making her happy, etc), and make the most of her life by simply doing what she wants.

 
Old 10-18-2005, 03:32 PM   #12
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Re: Adult Diapers question

Have you thought about conveniently running out of diapers and then tell her there are no more diapers, she will have to wear panties for a few days and use the toilet. See what happens.

 
Old 10-20-2005, 12:24 AM   #13
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Re: Adult Diapers question

Hi, Paine, after thinking a lot about your difficult situation and reading your last post, I very much regret what I wrote and feel it was way off the mark and very poor advice.

You say your GM refuses to use the toilet although she is physically quite able to, thus basically either guilting or intimidating you guys into going out and buying her diapers as well as disposing of the dirty ones and living in the meantime in unsanitary and completely unnecessary stink. You say she refuses to enter the kitchen when others are there so you feel compelled to bring her separate meals. You say she deliberately deceives people, pretending to be extremely weak and slow when she isn't at all. I feel awful that I may have "helped" you decide you should feel "guilty" (!!!) and she has a right to behave in these ways, it's her choice and just a situation a loving grandchild ought to put up with, as you said in your reply.

I am truly appalled if my stupid so-called "humor" about my MIL and her much less serious issues than your GM's helped you decide your GM's disturbed and unacceptable behavior is something you just have to live with.

I think it's true my MIL was mentally ill (not diagnosed), but even in her weakest moments she never deliberately chose not to use the toilet. IF SHE HAD, WE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN PROFESSIONALS INVOLVED, AND THAT IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. It is an act of serious mental illness when a physically healthy adult chooses to wear diapers and makes her family clean up her waste!

Do you know that in prisons, disturbed inmates will often collect and throw their urine and feces at the guards? Or they use it in other "creative" ways, such as mixing it with food and using it to "write" angry messages on the walls in their cells. They deliberately clog the toilet and let their cell fill up with waste matter so their jailers must clean it up. These inmates are using their own waste as a "weapon" against the people around them. Maybe your GM on some level is doing something like that, maybe not. It may also be that your GM has developed an obsession with germs that makes her unwilling to use the family toilet. I suppose it is also possible she is really having a phyical problem controlling her bladder or bowels but doesn't want to admit it. We can only guess, but regardless of her exact motivations, it is obvious she needs help beyond what you and I can offer.

Are there no other family members in the house wanting to find a solution? Are you saying everyone else finds this bizarre behavior acceptable? Are there no friends or relatives you can talk to about it? In facing a difficult situation, I once turned to a local branch of NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) and they were wonderful in offering comfort and advice. Can you find such a group and ask for help in dealing with your GM's strange behavior? Is there an Adult Protective Services or something like that associated with the court system in your area?

I hope you will keep looking for help, talking and writing to anyone who might be able to intervene to help your GM and family. This is a very unhealthy living situation you should not be caught in. If others in the household continue to treat this craziness as "normal" and telling you you should support it by buying and disposing of diapers, etc., I think it would be important for your well-being to find a saner and healthier environment to live in.

 
Old 10-20-2005, 01:50 AM   #14
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Re: Adult Diapers question

Hey guys, thanks for your replies. Seekalot, you shouldn't regret at all what you wrote in your past reply. I thought it was extremely helpful. And you did not in any way influence my decision to just sit back and deal with it. And in the first place, it's not a set decision. I think I was just feeling guilty at that moment (not bc of what you wrote). But everyday and every moment changes. Today upon thinking about it further, I don't know if simply putting up with it is a good thing for her. Maybe it is worth risking our relationship and her feelings for her well being. Because whether she realizes it or not, she is not in a good place right now, and could be having a much better quality of life. I guess this is one of those "who knows better, the patient or the caregivers?" kind of thing.

Anyway, who knows what will and will not work for my grandmother. Maybe harsher, more up front and firm methods will work for her. Or maybe more sly methods will work best (like the "running out of diapers" thing Misty800 suggested). In either case, I'm just glad to get any ideas and thoughts on this situation. It really helps. And even just coming on here and explaining/venting about my situation really helps a ton. I haven't discussed this with anybody besides my family.

And even when discussing it with my family, there's never really much discussion. My other family members all kinda have a disgusted "whatever already" attitude about it. I guess they're just fed up trying to reason with my grandmother, and are dumbfounded on what to do after realizing how stubborn she is.

Anyway Seekalot, the best advice you've given me so far is that I should get more professionals involved. We have talked to several doctors so far and explained the situation, but they all brushed it off and basically said, "What can you do with these elderly folk." I was disgusted by their lack of care, and their lack of acknowledging the seriousness of the situation. Instead of just giving up, I guess I should take her out to see more doctors. I'll just have to keep seeing doctors till one of them finally sees something wrong with her situation and finally suggests something usefull.

And I think you're spot on with your prison analogy, I really do think my grandmother is using her waste as a weapon. Not literally of course, but she is using it to manipulate us. And the fact that she's using her waste in this way is a serious sign of something that requires immediate attention.

Anyway thanks for giving me all these ideas and new avenues to try out. I definitely have to try calling around more and trying harder to get in touch with groups, doctors, whoever can help us cope with (or hopefully even cure) this situation.

 
Old 10-20-2005, 09:01 AM   #15
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Re: Adult Diapers question

I have to make this very quick but I am relieved to hear your response.

You said, "Maybe it is worth risking our relationship and her feelings for her well being. Because whether she realizes it or not, she is not in a good place right now, and could be having a much better quality of life."

YES, I think it is very much worth taking a risk of upsetting her and getting her mad or displeased with you. She is indeed manipulating everyone. Both her and your whole family's quality of life matters. I guess it is obvious to the doctors that the family situation is so "messy" and your GM's problems so tough to deal with, they just elect not to get involved, which is a sorry comment on the state of our health care system. Unless you get lucky, I would guess a regular medical doctor isn't going to be much help. Perhaps one specializing in gerontology? Could you ask for a referral to one from your family doctor, if you have one? Or go in the direction of mental health experts. I wonder if it would be worth posting on the Alzheimer's board, if you haven't checked that out. Your GM may or may not have dementia issues going on, but I think it would be an appropriate place with some experienced and sharp people in dealing with tough elderly problems. But be aware this may be a more complicated situation than even a genuine case of mental deficiency. Your grandmother may be more crafty than ill, forgive me. I really don't know how much of each may be involved. Character issues are not the same as the slipping of unhealthy aging.

I am as much concerned about your well-being as hers. It's obvious you have a wonderful loving nature and I don't want to see that abused to everyone's detriment. I am so glad if I could have helped a small bit. Take care.

 
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