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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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It was indeed a push in the right direction! Spouse seems slow on the uptake re changing often enough, yet there's progress in 2 months that is encouraging. He seems okay with the dexterity needed in the changing process, thanks for asking.
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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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Countrymouse Jan 5, 2019
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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I didn't ask, just like with a 2 year old, but just said, "mom, let's go change". For me it worked to have her sit on the bedside commode. I took the bowl off the bottom and had towels on the floor under it. She would pull down her pants, sit down and I be would be able to we her from under the commode. Then put the new depends on. It was just party of our day...4 times day. It made getting dressed in the morning and into pj at night easier too.
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pronker Dec 22, 2018
Thank you for this tip! It really sounds usable when Spouse comes to the point of commoding; my grandma used a commode. I didn't caregive for her, but the idea you have sure sounds great and I can picture the technique.
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He needs help!! Not only using depends but a lesson in hygiene. Was he like this at all before using the depends?[
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pronker Dec 22, 2018
He seems in general denial of the icontinence symptoms worsening at an accelerated rate over the past 3 months. Generally, he is congenial and where he goes, nobody gets that close to him to be offended by the odor, except in the place of worship. That person relaying the offense from the complainer to me which I passed along to him has said there's an improvement over the past month. He's there about 3x weekly.

The lessons in hygiene seem to penetrate; a lot of the issue is ingrained conservatism about the Depends, but when I told him the VA sent 300, he appeared to feel more at ease that he wouldn't 'run out.' He's been a 1x weekly bath person for about 10 years. He's sedentary and was even before the cancer.

Since posting here, there's improvement in the general state of maybe 5 percent? For instance, I reminded him on Tuesday to change pants and Depends without any obstacle.
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I know that my mother with vascular dementia lost awareness of what was going on down there pretty early on in her illness, she could and did still use the toilet when I took her but didn't seem aware that she had to go or if she had wet her pullup. She also lost control of her bowels pretty early on too - I hope you don't have to face that anytime soon.
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pronker Dec 19, 2018
Thanks for the anecdote re the 'on and off again' nature of the urine problem - his bowel control is more established and he's more upset when an accident like that happens. I notice that when that part occurs, he changes right away. That part does not happen to any great volume when it does, unlike the urine part, which seems to go on forever. I'm thinking that he's experimenting with the entire situation for the first month, what he can do with the Depends and what he can't.

He has hobbies such as Minesweeper on the internet and doing Sudoku in puzzle books and really gets into them; it's likely that, like a 4 year old, the concentration is so absolute that bowel/bladder control falls by the wayside.
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@cwillie - Yes, he goes to the toilet - but our son said he heard him just the other day void into the Depends while they two were talking. He did not even try to make it into the bathroom, which is 10 feet down the hall. It seems he likes the Depends, realizes they're necessary, but doesn't realize his odor or skin danger. Thanks for the tip. Outside help he is iffy about - someone at the place of worship told me to tell him about the problem after a ghastly incident in the sanctuary and he /did/ listen to that; his dentist mentioned it and it didn't make an impression.

@rocketjcat Very good about checking the skin! That's a help; and yes, I've toned down asking questions but sometimes they just pop out. The phrase "It sounds like you x" places a level between a bald question and a more delicate one.

@ahmijoy I suspect dementia and his coverage is VA which is thorough with multiple appointments monthly. I'm trying to think of what an aide would do - he bathes himself; medicates himself; dresses himself but doesn't notice/care about the urine stained pants, etc., so that's an issue. I grab the dirty pants whenever possible and it's a struggle to keep ahead because he wears them for days at a time, though he has plenty of clean ones.

Thanks, everyone for the specialized help! Merry Christmas to you!
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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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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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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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