My father-in-law wants a bedside commode in the livingroom! Help!

Started by

My father-in-law is due to be released from the hospital soon ( lung infection).
He has severe copd/emphysema. While there, his doctor expressed concern as he absolutely refused to use the bathroom, altough it was only 4 feet away from the bed. The doctor felt that he should be able to use the bathroom on his own, just some help to walk to the door. My fil insisted on a bedside commode.
Now he is insisting on one in the livingroom. He has been sleeping in the livingroom for five years, although he has a perfectly good bedroom and master bath. There is no privacy between the kitchen and livingroom, huge front window, where the blinds are always opened.
I am horrified at the idea of having a toliet in the livingroom. Mind you, I would understand if he was not truly able, but everyone feels he is( nurses, doctors )
The doctor has suggested some physical therapy at home, to build up his strength and mobility. I know, without a doubt, he will not perform the exercises. I know the bedside commode will become permanent, and not a temporary thing.
My husband was pretty tough with him about this. We offered to help him, use of a walker, cane, etc., He will not even try to do these things.
The only solution I have come up with is to cover both areas of livingroom off, with sheets and to use our backdoor as a front entrance. There is no way I could even think about cooking, while a commode is less than five feet away from stove ( kitchen and livingroom only seperated by a narrow wall).
I think if I do this, turn the livingroom into a TRUE bedroom, he will be more inclined to use his bathroom. He is a very social person, and I think if my husband and I limit contact with him for a few days, he will at least try. I know this sounds mean, but I am truly floored by the idea of a commode in our livingroom. It seems like a nightmare.
Any ideas?


Since this is a new start I would insist he start using the bedroom since he has a bathroom right their-does he have money to hire help for himself -since your husband feels the same as you do tell him the only option for you is to once again use his bedroom and bathroom-he is pushing you out of your own home-if he wants to continue living with your family he has to go by the rules-his other option would be placement-where are his demands stopping-with you all moving out and he taking over all of your home-the doc should not have given in with the commode in the hospital but they were worried that he would fall-I hope you stand your ground on this otherwisw the demands will get stronger-maybe his own seperate meals etc.
195Austin is right. Move him into his room! If he tries to come back into the living room, then there is the proof that he IS capable of moving on his own. When my mother moved in with me, she refused to stay in her room. For the first year, she slept on the sofa. I finally had to put my foot down and tell her that the front room was for family, not sleeping. She protested for a while, but finally got the picture.
My father-in-law owns the home, as my husband and I moved in with him to take care of him. He is very stubborn and it is his home.
That does make a difference. Is he just stubborn or is he no longer capable of rational conversations? Could you just tell him how you feel about it being gross to cook so near a toilet? Or how uncomfortable you are hearing (and smelling) him doing his business? AND where is his bedroom? Is it upstairs (putting him far away from the rest of the family and out of the loop? If not, can you somehow make that into a common living area for the rest of the family?
I will say that a good friend of mine owns a very nice house in an expensive part of town and there is a half-bath right there, not 5 feet away from the kitchen proper. Same at my ex-inlaws. But there is a difference in a true bathroom and a portable, so are you and your husband handy enough to do some more structured temporary walls (more than just sheets hung up as dividers)? Maybe if you box off the area, so to speak, it will be less appealing to him to stay there.
Just throwing out some ideas here.
Don't think commodes are a good idea - my mother is in a nursing home and she wants a commode so she doesn't have to walk to the bathroom. She is perfectly capable of walking; but basically doesn't want to due to being stubborn. The facility said "no" and I reinforced that decision and told her the reason is - she could trip and fall over it at night. And I can just imagine if it was next to the bed and all the complaints about the odor???? She would ending up hating it and complaining about that!! Hope it works out for you - no commodes. Take care.
Is that his house? If it is, then let him sleep where he has slept for the past 5 years and let him get his bearings and recover and heal first. The most important thing for him at the moment is to use the bathroom and get all those toxins out of his body first. Yes, and this will mean that you will need to accommodate his request and put a commode in the living room. Get into the habit of emptying his potty as soon as he has used it so that there are no smells, etc. We put a commode in the living room for my mom since she can no longer walk w/ her walker to the bathroom and it gets emptied as many times as she uses it. It really helps all the way around. Sorry, but everyone's lifestyle changes when a parent becomes disabled. Good luck!
Poor man. He feels vulnerable and probably scared to walk any distance. Let him have what he wants hes an old man and being mean isnt something he would expect from family. Buy a small screen to give him privacy. Youd never forgive yourself if he fell.
I really don't think it is unreasonable to expect him to use the bathroom, especially if the "experts" think he is capable. He may need a confidence boost so tell him that he will be helping everyone if starts doing mobility exercises - ask him what he will do if you /your hubby become physically unable to do everything? Make him feel useful again. Failing that, you may have to move out and let him hire a carer - life is too short and frankly your partner should be stepping up and talking to his own father
I'm going through this with my dad. While we're remodeling to add an extra bedroom, Dad has a hospital bed in the living room. Although he's perfectly capable of walking to the bathroom with the help of a walker or cane, he wants to use a urinal in the living room. We compromised, he can use it in the living room during the night, during the day he has to use the bathroom.
The PT guy and the doctor both insist that he needs to get up and walk around. I don't feel that I'm doing Dad any favors by letting him sit in his recliner all day, not even getting up to pee!

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support