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Old 10-17-2008, 05:40 AM   #1
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Stench

How do you get rid of the stench? Everything MIL owns smells terrible! I've washed every item except a dry clean only jacket. I was hanging something in her closet yesterday and was hit again by the stench, even though there was nothing "dirty" in there. I took that one jacket out, sprayed it with fabreze and hung it in the garage to air out. Same with her suitcases. I washed everything in the closet again. That helped some, but even when I pull her stuff out of the washing machine, I can still smell the urine odor. Today, her 6 boxes are supposed to arrive and I can just imagine what it's going to smell like to open them. What about sneakers? Hubby said he packed a bunch of them (threw out the rest). How do you get the urine odor out of them?

She's never been a particularly clean person, but I don't think she's even using the soap in the shower. I've gotten as graphic as I can, telling her to be sure to use plenty of soap and where to use it. She doesn't. It's just not in her habit memory. I'm ready to reach into the shower and wash for her! I'm finding, um, smudges on the towel when she's done and she still stinks.

Sorry if this is offensive to anyone. But it's a problem I'm having and I'm guessing I'm not the only one. Has anyone found any solutions to this? Anything to add to the laundry to eliminate a long time odor from clothing? Anything to spray to get the odor out of her room? I aired it out with open windows and fabreze air spray yesterday, and that did help, but it's raining today and the warm spell is supposed to be over. No more open windows!

Thanks, all you more experienced sages, for any suggestions you have.

Emily

 
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Old 10-17-2008, 07:34 AM   #2
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Re: Stench

Hi Emily, When we owned our day care we often had "accidents" there. Are you close to a Sams Club? We bought something there called "Odo-Ban". We used that on the carpet and in the wash to eliminate urine odor. I'm sure you can find it somewhere and it works great.
My Mom was the cleanest person in the world...................now I must wash her in the shower. I get her in the stall, I put the some kind of really wonderful smelling liquid soap on her scrubbie thing and go to town. Otherwise she does not wash herself. I give her a seperate wash rag and tell her to wash her "bottom". Its so hard to do. I won't let Mom smell. She hates that I do this for her. Too bad. Some things I won't give in on. I've tried everything and everyone else. Didn't work. So its me and Mom. She loves it when I lotion her entire body afterwards. She soon forgets that she was angry. I usually have a good cry after I get in the car. Today is shower day. I just dread it so much. But my Mom doesn't smell. Good luck with MIL. I'm with you. Can't stand that certain "smell".
I'll be thinking of you,
Love Chris

 
Old 10-17-2008, 08:11 AM   #3
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Re: Stench

Dear, Dear Emily...

This is not offensive; this is the crux of the whole caregivng matter. This is the reason why people DO end up in Nursing Homes. This is the reason well meaning, loving and caring grown up children throw up their hands and give up.

This is the one thing we were not prepared for and couldn't cope with.

My ultra clean, German born mother scrubbed herself and everything else raw all her life. THEN Dementia hit her. I used to come home from work and find a pile of sh*t on the bathroom floor. I found underpants with that inside of it IN her dresser drawers. She stank abominably.

And I, her really loving, really caring daughter could not cope with it. I cleaned up the messes, threw up, cleaned it some more, went on a sht hunt, found more, threw up again, persuaded Mom into the bathtub, washed her myself, all over - to her loud protests, tears and embarrasment. Put her to bed clean and in a clean nightie and clean sheets -- and woke up in the room adjacent (no door) to smell more of IT.

I did this for 9 months of the whole 5 years of living with her. My sister and brother did not agree to put Mom into a NH. Finally my brother and his dear wife agreed to take her in. That lasted only 3 months (my SIL used to get into the shower WITH Mom every evening!) and then Mom fell, landed in the hospital , operation (hip) and NH.

I coped with memory loss, fires in the kitchen, thrown out food, thrown out flowers --- I loved lilacs, my favorite, they lasted one day before Mom threw them out -- accusations, beng awakened in the middle of the night -- but I could not cope with the defecation. I threw out more underwear than I washed (I had to go to a public laundromat, try that!) and replaced everything, over and over again.

It was a nightmare.

The moral of this story? Nursing Home workers are saints and angels, and they are trained to do all this and not feel personally devastated by this Mother, your role model, your helper and most important person in your life, becoming a person who cannot manage her own boldily excrements.

Sorry this is so graphic, but it is the truth and we all have to face it ... by the way, Mom flatly refused to use adult diapers, until the fall and the hospital - there she had no choce and never went back to regular underwear.

I raised 3 children and helped with 3 grandbabies, worked at a nursery school and never had that kind of reaction to any of the children's messes. It is entirely different when it is an adult, and your Mother!

Love,

Martha

Last edited by Martha H; 10-17-2008 at 08:20 AM. Reason: full of sp errors, most emotional issue for me ....

 
Old 10-17-2008, 08:19 AM   #4
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Re: Stench

Nope, not too graphic. I read that lack of ability to bathe is the #1 reason folks end up in NH. I see why.

I had the same stinky issue with daddy. His house smelled. His clothes smelled. And I could not figure out the reason. Now, I knew he could no longer shower - his last shower a few months ago he told me I was torturing him. But I thought he was washing himself nonetheless.

WRONG. So I bought a bottle of Dial for Men liquid soap, and got out a big dutch oven, filled it with warm water, grabbed a washcloth and towel, and when he least expected it, told him that I needed to take off his tshirt so we could get "washed up". He looked at me surprised, but I whipped off his tshirt, and got to work. I scrubbed his back, his shoulders, his bald little head...and by the time I was done, he smelled good again. I did the same with his slacks, and all I left was ...um...you know. I took him to the bathroom, gave him a new cloth and stood there while he washed there. I helped him dress, and all of a sudden, he smelled like springtime.

I air out the house every day - even when it's cold outside - vacuum and febreeze the furniture. I use Gain laundry soap because it really does remove smells from clothing.

It's a real job to keep him smelling good. But I won't have it any other way. He may be old, dotty, confused...but by gosh, he will smell like a million bucks.

...lil' deb

 
Old 10-17-2008, 08:30 AM   #5
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Re: Stench

Emily,

It's tough, isn't it? I don't know what's worse..the old people-who-don't-wash-and-do-laundry-smell, or the-pee-and-never-wash-the-smell-out-or-wash-themself-smell. Short of climbing in the shower with her and putting a rubber glove on and "helping" (which isn't such a bad idea..at least you know she's really clean!) you're kinda stuck. At least you got her in the shower!

Try adding vinegar to the rinse water. It's great for cutting odors. My mother used to swear by it. And it does work. Washing with vinigar in the rinse and then a clear second rinse should help. Hand the clothes outside to dry if you can. Or, if they are poly, pitch them as you aren't going to be able to get the smell out. Polly doesn't let go of odors.. Cotton should release with a good wash and rinse with vinegar... If they have been dried in a really hot dryer thou...I don't know. Sometimes that will set the smell in and you'll be SOL... (Sh*t out of luck).

we've all been there so it's nothing to be embarrassed about. Have you considered putting her in depends?

 
Old 10-17-2008, 11:05 AM   #6
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Re: Stench

Oh the smell, yuck, it might have been the worst part of the caregiving for me. But we do what we must do.

As far as the clothes, you might consider ditching it all and starting over with several pairs of elastic-waist cotton pants or lighter weight sweat pants, matching tops and brand new underwear, socks and slip on shoes. I don't know how attached your MIL is to her clothes, but she might not even notice ... maybe you get some tops in similar colors to things she has.

When I was caring for MIL, I was doing several loads of laundry each day with bedding and clothes to try to keep things as fresh and clean as possible ... I didn't even want the stuff sitting in a hamper, or worse, staying on her body, for a minute. I was also potty training my daughter during this time, and it was not an easy process, so I was getting it from both generations : )

MIL gave up the personal hygiene pretty early in the game, so I helped her shower at least three times a week, more often if needed. And I gave her sponge-type quicker wash on the days in between. I was as gentle as possible, and they had a tub rail, tub chair and hand-held shower head, so it was a handy set-up. Some days she liked it better than others, but I was blessed that she was pretty agreeable overall. I helped her brush her teeth twice a day, kept her hair cut in a cute pixie for easy maintenance and kept her wardrobe very simple and easy wash and wear.

As much as I hated the smell, I'm guessing it didn't bother her, but I like to think she felt better when she was nice and clean, so that made it worth the effort. My sweetpea MIL has been in a nursing home for almost a year now, and the staff is wonderful about keeping her clean and she still loves to have her hair brushed and lotion put on.

Good Luck and God Bless!
Shell

 
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:37 PM   #7
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Re: Stench

Well Ladies it was poop and more poop at Moms today. I'm upset, worn out, anxious and just plain fed up. Thats today. I'll be better tomorrow. I can't explain how hard this is on me. Martha did a GREAT job explaining. With Mom its dirty depends everywhere..............everywhere. I cleaned her up first. The shower takes forever to do. Then the lotioning. All the time she is protesting that she is clean. Cleaned her bed. Got all of that mess washed and put away. Dressed her up, fixed her hair, put her jewelery on and she looked so sweet. Geezzzzzzzz I shopped for her supplies also. Gave her the breathing treatment
I know I shouldn't get this upset over whats happening. But I'm sitting here crying yet AGAIN. Boo Hoo poor me. LOL. I'm leaving for the lake as soon as my husband gets here. Its wine and bonfire time for me tonight. I so look forward to seeing my friends and leaving this for a few days. Sure hope Emily has some luck with the stench. Bless her heart.
Love you all,
Chris

 
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:51 PM   #8
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Re: Stench

Keeping up the hygiene of mom is the most challenging part of taking care of her. She stills sponge baths in the bathroom every morning herself. She will be in there for an hour or so but at least she is still making the effort to clean herself. She always was very particualr about her appearance especially her hair. I always go through her closets I find she is rehanging up her clothes that she already wore and are dirty. So when she is not looking I will rumpage through her closet and yank out what I see are dirty clothes and throw them in the wash and rehang them and she never even knew I did it. I often go into her bathroom and find a great little surprise on the bathroom floor. Then I will look around throughout the house on the floor and find she has not only crapped on the bathroom floor, but also stepped in it not realizing and is now tracking it throughout the house. Unfortunately last year we made the mistake of putting brand new wall to wall carpet in her bedroom and the living room. I find the carpet cleaner Resolve to work great. In the wash I use Ozi Clean it seems to do the trick. We get it at Costco's. She most recently has given up on having her hair taken care of. She always was very picky about her hair and would go the hairdressers once a week. Dad would faithfully take her but she hasn't gone now for about 6months. I was able to get her to let me wash her hair in the sink then I would curl it in little tiny rollers and it would come out great. Just how she liked it. Now the past month I keep asking her let wash your hair and curl it for you. Every week she has an excuse. Today is my day off from work so just a few minutes ago I said: Let me wash and curl your hair. No I am not in the mood and I am tired. So she just won't let me do it. She also has a bad case of psoriasis on her sclp that is causing her to loose alot of her hair in one area of her head. I know if I could just wash it she would feel better and look better. I don't push it because the next thing I know she will get agititated and a big to do will happen. I too was also finding all her dirty underware rolled up and shoved in the linen closet where we keep all the clean towels. One day I said gee, Ma I haven't noticed any of your dirty underware in the hamper? She very adamently told me she wasn't wearing dirty ones. Yet she couldn't tell me where they were going? So for a long time I figured oh they will show up!! Sure enough they did!!! Yuck! Yuck!

Love Pauline

 
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Old 10-17-2008, 01:00 PM   #9
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Re: Stench

You great people are all saints! I just dont know how you did/do it. I pray I never have to find out just how hard it is.

 
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Old 10-17-2008, 04:24 PM   #10
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Re: Stench

You ladies made me cry! Thank you for your understanding and support! It's so great to know there's a place to come to...

I've done a lot of laundry today. Not six, but EIGHT boxes arrived today. Yes, they all stink! I found spray Odoban but not laundry additive. I found a new Fabreeze laundry additive though. Tried the vinegar, too, before we went shopping this afternoon. That worked pretty well, but I'm going to try every suggestion and use whatever works best in our water (I don't know, does it matter? I'll find out). My new policy is if it can't survive the washer and dryer, it doesn't get to live here. Anything that needs to be dry cleaned gets a new home, probably with Waste Management! I feel bad that she has quite a few very pretty dress jackets that are dry clean only, but oh well. Out of sight, out of mind, I'm pretty sure. Maybe I'll try spraying them with the Odoban first. If they survive that, they can stay.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Emily

 
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Old 10-17-2008, 04:48 PM   #11
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Re: Stench

Hi, the Odoban that is in the spray can be used in the washer, put some in the fabric softener part of the washer that way it is working with the water in the very last cycle of the wash. You can find gallon jugs of Odoban on line it cost alittle more than at Sam's Club, but well worth it. I use the product on all kinds of "stinky" stuff. I love the stuff.

Good Luck and best wishes

 
Old 10-18-2008, 07:03 AM   #12
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Re: Stench

It just popped into my head. As for treating the odor......There is a product called Nature's Miracle. It comes in a white jug with red lettering and can be found at pet stores. It was developed by hospital to take care of body fluid odors and has been a big hit in the pet industry. I have used it myself and recommended it to friends. It does a great job of eliminating odors, even in carpet, concrete, drywall and everywhere else I have used it. It also helps take out the stains. It would definitely be worth trying.

Love, deb

 
Old 10-18-2008, 08:28 AM   #13
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Re: Stench

Good idea DEb,,,,

We use it for Gus, our Giant Schnauzer. He has accidents-all the time. He's a rescue and has diabetes incipetes and gets drops in his eyes twice a day as opposed to shots.. But the boy can't hold his pee and we end up with pee in his crate and does it smell. Natures Miracle-gallon jugs at Petco or PetsMart...works great. Cuts the odor. Should work on clothes as it works on the throw rugs we put in his crate!

If it's good enough for Gus it's good enough for Mom..... Hey the dude weighs 90 lbs.....and gives new meaning to the song Pee me a river......

 
Old 10-26-2008, 06:34 PM   #14
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Re: Stench

I found an amazing product during my midnight shopping at Walmart (without MIL!). It's called Citrus Slice and was in the auto section with the air fresheners. It looked just like the cedar closet freshener I had just picked up a few aisles over in the laundry area. It's a little plastic tub filled with an odor absorber, smelling, of course, kind of citrusy. I put one in the closet and one under her nightstand where she can't see it. For two days in a row, I haven't gagged going into MIL's room in the morning, and I haven't needed to spray the Odoban except a few cursory spritzs. I didn't expect this to be as good as it is, just wanted a little extra. I think I need to get a case of this stuff!

Just wanted to pass this along to others who are dealing with olfactory issues! I'm a happier camper!

Emily

 
Old 10-26-2008, 09:06 PM   #15
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Re: Stench

Excellent Emily... glad you found something that worked for you. Citrus is definitely better than ammonia in the morning.

As you said to me earlier.... wonder what the next one will be hehe

Love, deb

 
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