I'm losing my appetite due to the amount of grossness I deal with daily.

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My husband and I are taking care of his parents in our home. His mother has last stage Alzheimer's and his father has multiple problems including severe mobility problems, but is cognitively fine. Both are hard of hearing even though my FIL wears a hearing aide. Here is the problem. They both pass gas all the time. It is very loud (I don't think they can hear it) and a lot of the times there is a strong odor. My FIL has post nasal drip problems and is constantly coughing and hacking up whatever. His nose also drips constantly and he uses a bandana instead of a tissue all day long. I find these bandanas in his bed, his chair and have even found them on the kitchen table. I found him at the kitchen table shaving the other morning. YUCK! My MIL has recently started wearing Depends due to chronic diarrhea. I always have to clean her up from her diarrhea but the other day I had to clean her up at least five or six times before we finally got it under control. I have to take her to the bathroom and watching her wipe and fold and look and then throw the soiled tissue in the waste basket has me totally grossed out. I cannot get her to understand that she should throw soiled toilet tissue in the toilet. And, when they use the bathroom and there is a terrible odor left behind they never think to use an air freshenner so the odor will travel all over the house before I know what has happened. My MIL wears dentures and I have to help her in the bathroom to clean her dentures every night. And, because of the way she folds tiny bits of paper to use when on the toilet she constantly gets poop and pee on her hands and under her fingernails. I have to make sure she washes her hands very well but because of her Alzheimer's she usually doesn't do a very good job and I end of washing her hands for her. I've only been taking care of my husband's parents for three months so I am just not used to dealing with other people's grossness. I don't even like to deal with my own grossness! So, I just have no appetite and am losing weight. And, I do need to lose weight but I really don't want to lose it this way. I miss eating the food I like. Both my MIL and FIL are the sweetest, most caring people you would ever meet and I love them very much. How do others deal with this aspect of caregiving? Any tips would certainly be appreciated. Thanks so much.


Wow, you really have a full plate! Whose idea was it to bring your in-laws into your home? In my case the learning curve was gradual as my mother's health declined. I never thought I would be cleaning dentures, wiping bums or dealing with diapers, I didn't think I could! Thank god for vinyl gloves. I think I would lose those bandanas in the wash...."Sorry, I haven't done the laundry yet, would you mind using a tissue until I get around to it?" They have those motion detector air fresheners, they might be nice for the bathroom odour issue. I hate to say it but you may want to completely take over wiping your MIL after she goes to the bathroom, that way you know her bum is clean and her hands are too! It really sounds as though they need a fairly advanced level of care, maybe you could look into having someone in give you a break a few days a week?
All I can do is sympathise. I look forward with longing to the day when every meal time is not accompanied by a cacophony of grunts, slurps, hacks, parps and belches - most of them coming from the person who taught me decent table manners in the first place. It's both depressing and unappetising, I agree. Does it help to know that you do eventually sort of get used to it? But I prefer to think that the fact that I do still kind of mind is my guarantee that one day my life will get back to "normal." Whatever normal is.

Plus, you do get slicker and more deft at the "other end" issues. Have you already bought a bumper pack of disposable gloves, like the ones they use in nursing homes and catering environments? You can pick them up cheap at Costco and similar, and they're hypoallergenic. If things get really gross, the professionals put a dab of Vicks or a similar scented balm under each nostril - I can't vouch for this tip, because so far I've got away with holding my breath and reminding myself that it's at least as bad for the other person :/
Oh my gosh, I wonder if our children [for those who have children] will be writing on this forum about us some day :P
I wonder the same, ff. I already have morning time running nose and cough. The rest will probably catch up with me soon.
I totally understand..... I helped my FIL with his colostomy bag for a long period of time, which was a disaster. Talk about grossness... From emptying to changing it out because when he did it, it was even more of a disaster. Gloves, gloves, gloves. Maybe if she insists on cleaning herself, help her put on gloves? I'm just thinking out loud here but it would be next to impossible getting under the fingernails clean and what she touches you touch if you know what I mean. Definitely supervise shower time though and make sure she is getting herself clean "down there". Oh and yeah, conveniently lose those bandanas.....
All the suggestions given so far can be very helpful. And knowing that others are dealing with similar situations can provide some comfort. I might add one thing; since personal hygiene is questionable with regard to going to the bathroom, I think it is important to trim MiL's nails very short. I also keep baby wipes in every room for a quick hand wipe . But baby wipes cannot be thrown in toilet....a few wastebaskets lined with plastic bags would be helpful. In the end, it is all about helping those we care for preserve some dignity. It is no easy task for sure....

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