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This seems an effective place to gain information and support. My spouse is 76, a 3x cancer survivor (cecal to prostate metastasizing into spine) that began in 1999. Sticking to one issue at a time, here goes: one month ago he agreed to wear Depends 100 percent of the time, a very necessary step, and a big one for all of us. That went smoothly.


The next issue regards Depends, in that he refuses to change them often enough. Outside of the odor, there is naturally the damage done to the skin. For instance, he put on a fresh pair Dec. 13 and today, the 16th, still has them on. They leak by this stage, onto his pants and the couch and the bed.


I've asked him tonight if he needs help changing and like a 2 year old, the answer is 'no.'

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Does he never attempt to use the toilet at all or bathe or change his clothes (all very common problems with dementia)? There comes a time when you don't ask, you tell. Follow him in to the bathroom and hand him a clean pull up. Ditto at night. You might get some good tips by searching the forum for refusing to bathe/shower/change. Bringing in outside help to get him in the shower might be a good first step.
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Update after 2 mos. Depends usage: Spouse changes more readily. I believe the phone call from the place of worship's leader tilted the scales; although Spouse did not tell me the reason for the call afterwards, a call is rare from there and I noticed the uptick in cooperation directly afterwards.
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Now that is what I call God working in mysterious ways! But if he helped perform a wonder, all thanks to that pastor.

Will you now be able to get spouse into a good changing routine, do you think? If you can help him form a habit it might save him slipping back.

Also, I wondered: is it difficult or uncomfortable for him to make the required effort?
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Try telling him it could cause a severe infection and his friend there may have to ve amputated. Get a Doc to go along with it.
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pronker Mar 2019
Great idea, ha!
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Well, I must admit this would not fly with me. My step father is in diapers, went to pick him, said, go the bathroom before we leave...No he said, I'll just poop in my diaper..my answer was No, if you don't start using the bathroom when you can and need to, you will be moved from AL to a nursing home. That ended that, he knew that I was serious.
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Good for you. Sometimes we have to put our foot down since were the "boss" now. I have to worry that when my husband is OUT, he has a accident.. Glad he only wants to go to doctor appointments I guess..
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I agree with Cwillie...I had to change the way I approached this with Mom. No more “Do you need to go potty?” “Are your panties wet?” The answer is always No, even when I know she’s wet. I don’t know if she just can’t feel the wetness, doesn’t want to be cold when her pants come off, I have no idea. So now it’s not a question. “Let’s sit on the toilet for a few minutes and try”. Or “The girls are here to change your pants and get you cozy warm again”. No questions asked.
How about “The doctor told me I have to check your skin daily now, so we have to do it now in the bathroom. Let’s go.”
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Pronker, you don’t mention it, but does he have dementia as well? Do you help him bathe? If so, simply make the used Depends “disappear”. If he hasn’t been formally diagnosed with dementia, maybe it’s time to see his doctor. There are medications to make this easier. Dirty briefs can cause skin and bladder infections, but you already know that.

Have you tried having an aide come in to help? Sometimes they will listen to an aide before they listen to us.
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Update: After 3 months, changing is more often, occasionally with my prompting, but most time not. It's still a challenge for me to grab his stained clothing before he puts it on again. He's had several outings with no leaks or odor, even with people sitting right beside him at movie theaters and so forth, which hasn't been the case for about 1 year.
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Hi Pronker, I have a suggestion. Nothing to loose I guess. Instead of asking him to change or telling him he is odorous, how about something like this...... “What pants would you like to wear today?” and hold up two pairs to select from. Or “would you prefer to change into these clothes before or after breakfast?” This method worked with my Mom and her meds. When I presented it as “would you like to take your pills now or after coffee” it gave her some control back. In a world where they are losing so much control, maybe this will help. Nothing to loose. Good luck.
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pronker Aug 2019
I'm glad the tactic worked with your mom, and now and again, giving choice to Spouse works.
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I'm going to come across as a 3itch but I side with the church on this. From everything you've said previously this isn't really a result of an inability to hold his urine during a meeting, it is because he refuses to change an already soaked product, sometimes for days on end. He can't comprehend that it is courteous to go to these meetings washed and dry and instead proposes to sit on a cushion, and you feel this is okay? You have bent over backwards to accommodate your husband's unwillingness to change and the consequent soiling (and no doubt odour) but what you are willing to put up with in your own home doesn't and shouldn't have to extend out into the world.
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pronker Jan 19, 2020
Thanks for the quick reply. The place of worship has been accommodating for some months now and they've reached the end. It's understandable because they are also a business in addition to a place of worship, and the expense of $50 chairs continuing to be the cost of him attending is a lot.

Spouse's behavior has changed re the Depends changing, so let's hope there's no backsliding. As of today, the situation improved to the point of Office Lady texting me that "it's better" and so things appear to have died down. I'm hoping their comment of "we'll charge $500 for the chairs" is simply a comment and doesn't result in a bill. It's been good to see that Spouse is actually valued at the place despite the troubles.

I do believe that the sense of needing to go to the bathroom as quickly as possible no matter what activity he's involved in he's put aside, either through overconfidence in Depends holding a full stream or deadening of the sensory nerves, which is something his doctors warned of after his 3rd bout of chemo/rad.
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It seems to me that if DH is unwilling to change his soiled undergarments, then he also understands and agrees that he is unwelcome in social situations, private homes or public places of any kind. It's common sense, really. If I were holding church meetings in my home and a person like your DH was attending, I'd ask that he not return as well. And if he did, after being asked not to, I'd call the police to have them ask him to leave and to please not return. It would be nothing personal.......just a preference to have my wishes obeyed inside of my own home, and my property not damaged, and the people I have invited to my home respected and not feel threatened by his behavior in any way, or offended by odors, etc.

It's a good thing for human beings to make accommodations for other human beings in need or with disabilities. Within reason. It is not a good thing to make accommodations for people who are capable of cleanliness but who choose to keep themselves unclean and demand that others accept it. That is unreasonable, in my opinion.

So sorry that you are going through this Pronker. If it were me, I would explain all of this to my DH and then put my foot down and refuse to take him out unless he abides by the rules society demands. Wishing you good luck moving forward.
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pronker Jan 19, 2020
Thanks for the swift reply - as of today, the situation improved to the point of Office Lady texting me that "it's better" and so things appear to have died down. I'm hoping their comment of "we'll charge $500 for the chairs" is simply a comment and doesn't result in a bill. It's been good to see that Spouse is actually valued at the place despite the troubles. I agree that this crisis spurred better behavior and with constant reminders, he'll continue to change directly before attending, use the cushion, and others can enjoy his company rather than endure it.
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