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Old 03-05-2012, 09:05 PM   #1
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Need advice - helping care for grandmother

I really need advice on how to improve the sanitation of my grandmother's home due to her urinary incontinence. She is 91 and still living at home alone. My aunt and I go over several times a week to take care of things for her. I do all the heavy cleaning, help my aunt with her laundry and be there to help my grandma if she needs assistance while she showers.

Obviously she has incontinence problems. But I am so overwhelmed by feeling like there is not much I can do to help her stay 'clean'.

First let me mention, that she will NOT wear the adult diapers. She thinks they are too expensive, uncomfortable, and taking up too much space in the landfills. Yes. That is her logic. So she has a better idea. She wears a generic brand overnight sized maxi-pad. But she is so stingy that she doesn't change it as often as she should. She allows it to be completely drenched in urine before she changes it. This mega size maxi is not enough to hold all that she loses. So she thinks it's a great idea to use 'rags'...like cut up towels and old washcloths, to help absorb the urine. More on the RAGS later.

Now let me paint a picture of what this has done to the sanitary conditions of her home.

Her couch is soaked in urine. She will not buy a new couch, which she needs. There's no possible way to actually clean it. I have offered to buy things like a waterproof pad (like you would put in a baby's crib) for her to sit on but she refuses that. She puts down a piece she cut from a bedspread and sits on that on the couch and I wash it regularly but it does not help much, because the urine still soaks through. By the time I started officially being her 'helper', coming regularly to clean, she had already RUINED her couch. It was a lost cause in the beginning.

Of course she also wets her bed. The mattress, yes, it just completely ruined with years of urine having leaked on it. Finally my aunt broke down and bought her a waterproof mattress cover...the kind that is plastic and zips all the way around the mattress. I don't think it helps because the urine smell is still IN the mattress. And now I have to make sure and wash her other fabric mattress cover regularly as well as her sheets.

The RAGS, that she uses to help absorb her leakage...she rinses them out and handwashes them with clorox and oxyclean in hotwater in her bathroom sink. She wrings them out and by the time I get to her house once or twice a week when I come they are really foul smelling. They still reek of urine odor. So heavily that I literally gag from the odors. I still must wash these in hot water on the heavy duty cycle in the washer. I put in extra laundry booster product and wash them on another cycle all over again...and there is still a faint odor of urine!!! I think this is the most humbling part of my job. Her clothing - especially any pants that she wears is just equally as horrid smelling. I try everything I know to get her laundry as clean smelling as I can but it still has the odors absorbed very deeply into the fabric after washing and drying.

I just really need to know, what is the answer for all this? What is a proper way to deal with trying to keep her home smelling clean and preventing the urine odors from penetrating everything in her home? If anyone has any experience with this I will take all advice I can get. Thanks!

 
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elderly, urinary incontinence



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