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Old 02-02-2009, 08:58 AM   #1
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Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

This is something I just am not sure how to address. I guess because I just can't get used to the idea that MIL is losing her indepencence mentally and physically.
I have noticed a problem with accidents that is becoming more and more frequent. Because she is on dialysis, it is not the problem it could be, however, I do my MIL's laundry...and well... I can tell this is something that will need to be taken care of soon. I'm not sure how to tactfully address this problem without making her feel totally embarassed beyond belief.

Anyone have any suggestion about how to address incontinence?

darlray

 
Old 02-02-2009, 10:26 AM   #2
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

When my Mom became somewhat incontinent (urine only) I tried to convince her to use pads in her underwear, but she refused or forgot.

Later someone gave me a good idea - when you are finished doing her wash, place a Poise pad or other incontinence pad inside each one of her underpanties. She may not notice. Or if she asks, just tell her this is something everyone does nowadays, to avoid embarrassmet from leaks.

I hope it works for you. Meanwhile a waterproof pad under her bottom sheet will save ruining the mattress.

If it gets worse she may have to switch to adult pampers, or depends. They are much like an underpanty but thicker and with a plastic shield.

If one or both of you feel embarrassed having this talk, that is only normal -- but she may not remember it or may even feel relieved that someone is helping her with this problem.

Love,
Martha

 
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:44 PM   #3
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

We're dealing with the same thing, but fortunately my MIL was already using Poise pads at least sometimes when she came to us, so it wasn't a new thing for her. Since I lay out her clothes for her each day, I would lay out a pad on top of her underwear, and she always just used it without question. If I didn't lay out the pad, she often forgot it. Now, I not only get it out, I put it into her underwear myself, as she was starting to have trouble getting it in the right spot. I discovered that she often fails to wipe herself after using the toilet, and even when she wipes, it's not done very well. So she really needs to have a pad, even if she's not incontinent. I stand outside the bathroom door now, which she usually doesn't close, and peek to make sure she wipes. If she doesn't, I pop my head in and remind her, which she hates, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do! She always says she was going to do it in a minute.

Martha has a great idea, to tell her that everyone uses these pads now. With my MIL, it works to tell her that the doctor said we should do this or that. She won't argue with that. Is your MIL uncomfortable once she's wet? If she is, that might help in getting her to use the pad. Tell her it will be more comfortable for her. She may forget and you'll have to tell her every time, but that's okay.

Emily

 
Old 02-03-2009, 07:08 AM   #4
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

Martha and BlueAtlas,
Thanks, those are some great ideas. After I wrote this post, I thought, you know it is probably just embarassing for me, no doubt.
I've already been cleaning up the bathroom after her and keep telling myself she can't help it. I'll never get used to it. I guess no one ever does. I put wipes on the back of the toilet, but I probably need to let her know they are there and what they are for. I've got to quit assuming she will and can figure things out like that.
Thanks again,
Darla

 
Old 02-03-2009, 08:28 AM   #5
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

I have dealt with this with my fil. He tells me everything. When I noticed he couldnt control is urine I told him about depends. He said no. Well it happened again to him. He came out of the restaurant with his pants all wet and we went home so he can change. I approached him again. He goes those are embarassing. I said whats more embarassing having someone see you ****** your pants or wearing depends and knowing no one knows you are wearing them? Then it was like a lightbulb went off and he nows wears them. But on the other hand its almost like he knows he has them on so why go to the bathroom when he can just stand up and go. I bought him those new diaper pails and he throws them in there so it doesnt stink. I was throwing them away for him but thought let him do it. And he does. I might have to remind him to do it but he does it. He can do it until he is unable to. People get upset with me for making him do stuff like washing his own plate, making his bed etc. I feel its good for him. Gets him to do something instead of just sitting there rocking. The more active he is the better I think. Maybe Im wrong.

 
Old 02-03-2009, 09:16 AM   #6
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

Happy -- keep them doing things for as long as possible. Even if they wash the dish but forget to rinse. Just don't leave them alone when they are doing anything. Stand nearby and observe.

about 2 years ago, my sister went into the living room leaving my mother in the kitchen as she's done numerous times and left my mother to wash the dishes as she loved to do.

Well a plastic bowl went into the sink and covered the drain. Water started filling up the sink. -- Only Mother thought she was done washing??? and walked away with the water running! -- she came into the living room and sat down, sister was asleep taking a nap.

Well water filled the sink, spilled onto the counters, through the counters, onto the floor -- down the floor into the dining room wall to wall, down the cellar stairs, etc.

All this time, Sister heard nothing!!! It took a wet vac about 5 dumps to get all the water mopped up from the basement. Now my mother is only able to lay in a bed, make grunting sounds, an eat sporadically sometimes.

 
Old 02-03-2009, 12:46 PM   #7
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

Happy, I agree with you on having him do things himself. I don't think it's cruel. It's just knowing what can and can't be done? I am starting to have a time with MIL and just leaving trash and clothes wherever. She will sneak goodies into her room and throw the trash on the floor. If she eats snacks in her room, which at times she will, she leaves the forks and spoons to fall on the floor along with the plate or bowl. (We have animals and I have trashed quite a few utensils.) When I do her laundry I used to just fold it and put it in her room. It would end up on the floor and then she wouldn't know what happened to all her clean clothes. Now I hang them all up, so we don't have that problem. I am fairly sure she can do these things, but just doesn't. At first, before I knew what was really wrong with her, I thought she was trying to complicate things for me. Do you tell him to pick up his mess, etc.? I guess it's just like having another kid. What to do, I don't know. I had been taking her coffee to her in the mornings in the living room and hubby said to let her get up and get it herself. I agreed. By george, she gets up and gets it herself. Where do you draw the line? How much do you do for them because maybe they can't, and how much and what do you challenge them to do for themselves? HMMMM......

What is it you put in the depends/diaper to help with the smell?

 
Old 02-03-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

Its one of those disposable diaper pails. I think its called genie. Works wonders. He even does that himself. He uses alot of the plastic and kind of wasteful but he does it. He is very good with everything really. I want to put him in a stage 6-7 maybe? But you would think nothing is wrong with him if you saw and talked to him. He is a big kid really with some of the things he does. I do his clothes and he puts them away. I figure as long as he can do things he might as well until he cant. Saves me for the time being.

 
Old 02-03-2009, 03:04 PM   #9
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

Dementia or Alzheimer's can have different reactions in every person. I do think if your loved one attempts to do things for themself they should be encouraged.....however many times, when we think their actions seem unexplained or purposely wrong, they simply really do not know the difference.

I remember in the beginning of my Mom's Alzheimer's...we were surprised at some of her actions. As the disease progressed...and it ALWAYS progresses...you'll see many changes that will make you wonder just what she's able to do...or feel...or see.

Darla, it could be your MIL has no intention of complicating things for you...she simply does not realize everything in the same content as she used to. You'll see more and more things happen that are not what you're used to...bless you, bless you, bless you for being in her life!

I remember being shocked when I handed my Mom an apple...not too far into this disease...she had absolutely no idea what to do with it! Even familiar things become big challenges...................Pam

 
Old 02-03-2009, 03:11 PM   #10
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

I seriously thought that we would have this issue very soon with mom. During the last few months of her life, she would sometimes not make it all the way to the bathroom, and there would be a mess on the floor. But she didn't realize that she had done that, and would blow a gasket thinking that one of the dogs had been in the house and did it.

She was constantly changing her underwear, and many times she would hide the dirty ones in a drawer...I would find them in the strangest places. Many days I would wash up to 5 pairs of underwear!

I was dreading the thought of having to start putting her in the adult diapers. She would NOT have gone for that in ANY way, no matter how I would have tried to sugar coat it.

 
Old 02-03-2009, 04:25 PM   #11
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

Quote:
Originally Posted by caringsister54 View Post
Happy -- keep them doing things for as long as possible. Even if they wash the dish but forget to rinse. Just don't leave them alone when they are doing anything. Stand nearby and observe.

about 2 years ago, my sister went into the living room leaving my mother in the kitchen as she's done numerous times and left my mother to wash the dishes as she loved to do.

Well a plastic bowl went into the sink and covered the drain. Water started filling up the sink. -- Only Mother thought she was done washing??? and walked away with the water running! -- she came into the living room and sat down, sister was asleep taking a nap.

Well water filled the sink, spilled onto the counters, through the counters, onto the floor -- down the floor into the dining room wall to wall, down the cellar stairs, etc.

All this time, Sister heard nothing!!! It took a wet vac about 5 dumps to get all the water mopped up from the basement. Now my mother is only able to lay in a bed, make grunting sounds, an eat sporadically sometimes.
This brings back memories! I re-washed dishes for the entire time I lived with Mom. She enjoyed washing them, But she didn't get them clean. Sometimes she forgot to use detergent, or a brush or a cloth. I would find them neatly piled in the cabinet full of egg, gravy or other stains. After she had gone to bed I would re-wash them all. At least she felt useful and it was one of the things she could do, sort of.

Her clothes also piled up in her bedroom. I was used to taking them to the laundromat and bringing them home, folding them and putting them on her bed, from which she would put them in the right drawer or closet.

As her dementia got worse, she just piled them up on the floor between two dressers. But she forgot they were there, and took clean clothes from the drawers. Soon I realised I had to put them away also.

She began to soil her panties and roll them up very small and put them in a corner of a dresser drawer. Then she announced all her undies were used up, she needed more. I went out and bought those 3 or 4 packs of underwear. When we moved and I packed all her stuff she had, believe it or not, 40 pairs of undies in various places in the bedroom. Most in almost new condition. Since she soon went into using Pampers, I took some home with me whenever I was visitng in NY. I have a lifetime supply now!

Oh yes, the good old days. I miss her. Isn't that weird?

Love,

Martha

 
Old 02-03-2009, 04:48 PM   #12
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

I feel so mean, but I don't even let my MIL in certain areas of the kitchen, much less do anything in there. She's so unsanitary, I can't stand having her even touch the counters. My husband is in complete agreement. Even though I make her wash her hands often, she doesn't get them clean enough sometimes, and she's always wiping and/or picking her nose and walks around with drool dripping out of her mouth. Gross! We don't want her near the dishes or food. We have a large kitchen, so we've gotten her used to going to her seat and waiting there for us to serve her. At first, she wanted to help dry dishes, etc., but we told her that at age 85 she's earned a rest. She accepted that. I don't let her in the laundry room or my bedroom, either. I used to give her a basket of towels to fold up so she'd feel like she was helping, then set it aside and mess it up again for next time, but she can't or won't do that anymore. She does read the headlines of the paper and works simple jigsaw puzzles. The 24 piece 3 year old level puzzles take her anywhere from an hour to several days.

I WANT her to be active and have something productive to do, but I don't have the energy to redo everything she tries to do. Maintaining is a lot of work! Just doing her laundry and changing her sheets everyday is a lot. (After fishing her underwear out of the trash can, where she thinks they belong when they've been soiled). I feel like a lousy caregiver, but I can only do so much. I'm guessing I'm not alone in that.

Emily

 
Old 02-03-2009, 05:31 PM   #13
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

I'm paying close attention because we are there with Dad...... We also need to figure out how to keep the pants zipped except at the appropriate time

Love, deb

 
Old 02-03-2009, 07:02 PM   #14
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Re: Dealing with incontinence...tactfully

Oh you guys...there's just so much ahead.....................

Emily....I remember those feelings; trying so hard to watch everything they do...wanting so badly for them to be how they were. It just won't happen as this disease progresses...and I'm so, so sorry. This is such an awful disease to take hold of our loved ones.

In the first few stages, we find ourselves changing along with them. After truly accepting diagnosis, we still hope there will be some little miracle. The changes often take us by surprise...and sometimes we find we can actually figure out reasons for some of their actions...or maybe we are simply trying to convince ourselves.

Please don't think you're feelings are unusual! Remember...this is a huge change in our lives...you're providing a safe and loving environment... whether keeping them at home, or a facility...and you're doing the very best you can for someone you love.

They are not able in any way to control the changes happening. I remember being shocked that my Mother would pull down her pants and sit down in any chair to go to the bathroom....the site of a "chair" was familiar, and her body remembered only "that" position for that function. None of us want to even have to think about our loved ones wearing those adult diapers...but the time will come. The first few times they argue...then it simply becomes accepted.

How I wish our lives were different...but what is..........is.

Don't be so hard on yourself...you're doing as good as you know how....Pam

 
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