What can I do about incontinence and bowel odor in the house?

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I now care for my 98-year-old Mother-in-Law. No, that's a great thing. She is one of the greatest women that I have ever met. We get along famously. I hate when I have to cause her grief with my administrations. What I am trying to deal with is the odor caused by her incontinence and bowel trouble. I began spending most of my week with her, going home on the weekends. This is no problem. However, I noticed that while I used to eat a decent breakfast, I have no appetite any longer. I have been to the doctor and all of my lab results are fine. My husband got my apartment fixed up in Mom's basement. Now I don't go upstairs until I hear her stir in the morning. The basement has re-sensitized my nose. To borrow a phrase from the much younger generation: OMG! The odor is awful. Most of you probably don't remember cloth diapers and non-automatic washers, but that is what it is like.

I am sure that she isn't the only one like this. What have any of you done to rid the house of the smell.

Thanks, P.

Answers 1 to 4 of 4
Top Answer
Bless her heart, Penny, she probably doesn't even smell it anymore. I had a similar problem with my mother but was able to tell her she needed to change. She was in an assisted living facility.
I'd suggest you buy some odor repellents in the CAT department. Put them around. That should help some; but the main thing is to keep "sniffing" to see if she needs to be changed. You can set a timer to remind you. Good luck.
Hi Penny, I'm trying to think about the procedures at the AL where my Mom is.. All pull-ups & wipes go into plastic bags and got knotted and tied immediately. They are removed from the room. At home, you can use the multitude of grocery bags we all accumulate. Have another plastic bag in the garage (or where ever) and put the knotted bags into it on an on-going basis. Clean out any waste baskets that may have held these items. Use baking soda to freshen things up (it's cheap). You can also use air fresheners. And with the change of seasons, don't be afraid to air out the rooms. Give clothes in the closets and drawers a sniff test. They may need to be rewashed, yo can add vinegar to the laundry to address the smells. Good luck.
I use small scented garbage bags doubled, they go in larger bag and then immediately outside. Nothing stays inside any longer than absolutely necessary. There are several spraywashes no rinse needed you can use on your MIL that can help. If you use a portable potty, keep about an inch of minty mouth wash in the bottom...gives off nice scent and absorbs odors. It is a battle! Good luck.
I know exactly what you mean. Even when there isn't an accident, the odor can be very bad. My father wore diapers and sometimes had accidents. His diaper was put into an outside trash bag in a can right away and soiled clothes were washed twice. It usually took two washes to get the odor out completely. We freshen the air with Febreze. One problem I've had with that is my father, and now my mother, don't know when to stop spraying. They spray until it chokes me and the floors are sticky with residue. Older people lose their sense of smell quite often so don't know how much they are spraying.

So... diapers outside, double-washed clothes and linens, Febreze, and open window when possible. Just the normal things.

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