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My elderly mother, age 70, who lives with me, has urinary incontinence and wears "incontinence underwear." She is good about changing them when needed but she is horrible about disposing of them. Most of the time, she just piles them in a corner in her room and maybe twice a week will gather them up into a trash bag to be disposed of. She lives with me, and her room reeks of urine. Absolutely disgusting urine permeated air hits you every time she opens her bedroom door. I bought her a "diaper pail" to put them in, but rather than put it is as soon as she takes it off, she places it in a corner in her room and after she has several of them will then put all of them into the pail. I remind her several times a week to use the pail every single time she changes her underwear, and I don't understand why she doesn't. She has never been very good at keeping things clean and put away, even when I was growing up. I have installed an air deodorizer that releases a medical grade deodorizing spray every 15 minutes and have given her a spray bottle of the same product to spray directly on her used underwear when she removes them, which she doesn't use. The automatic deodorizer spray has had some effect, lessened the urine smell some, but the main issue is getting her to dispose of the used undergarments correctly. I was even hoping to take her to her doctor and maybe a talk from him would help, but she refuses to go, and since she has not been deemed incompetent, I can't force her to go. Sometimes the odor is so strong it creeps into other rooms even though her door has been shut for hours. I am at my wit's end and don't know what else I can do.

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Have you tried putting the pail in the corner where she puts the diapers?
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There is some underlying issue causing her to have trouble of 'letting go' of things - including the used underpants.
Try putting an extra diaper pail (or more) in her room, including her favorite 'corner' that she puts them in.
Is there much 'light' in her corner where she stashes them? If not, add a light (even a battery one that sticks on the wall with tape like they sell for closets and such). Having a light there may help deter her from keeping them there.
Other than that - you are really doing all that you can to mitigate the issue, and the odors.
On the 'bright side', at least she is wearing the underpants ---- and not going 'al fresco' all over the house.
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A woman of 70 is NOT elderly! Good grief! I am 70 and if I wasn't able to control my urine, I would promptly get myself to the doctor! That would be so GROSSLY UNACCEPTABLE TO ME! I  WOULD DEMAND A SAME DAY APPOINTMENT!
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Sorry to be so blunt, but you have two options left. Demand ( good luck with that ) that she dispose of anything soiled properly, or do it yourself at least once daily. I don't mean to sound heartless, but she is living in YOUR home and you have a right to enjoy your surroundings as much as possible while still caring for your mom. Keep in mind though, that as other posters have said, there may be an underlying issues unrelated to dementia causing this.
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You might also have the doctor check her for a UTI, bladder and / or kidney infection. Any of them can cause a strong odor in her urine. I didn't know this until my mom was hospitalized and diagnosed with one among other issues. Once the infection was cleared up, her urine and incontinence products were a lot less odorous.
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She is still young to have to be going through this. The best thing you can do is just throw them away yourself and forget about it being an issue. You will be happier in the long run. I know it must be icky but it will take a minute to do and it's done. Use rubber gloves if necessary. Think of all the people who are doing this for either their own family or someone else. Keep in mind there are adult children who are disabled and can't do this either.
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After cleaning up, open the windows and use Febreeze.
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When it comes to caring for folks with incontinence, first and foremost all carpets have to be removed in favor of tile or linoleum flooring that can be mopped/swiffered/bleached and sanitized.

Also, with dementia patients I find the problem is me and my expectation that they will line up with my requests/suggesstions of using a hamper, 'diaper pail', or spraying deodorizer in the room or their depends.

Their disease doesn't allow them to think in an orderly and linear fashion where action 'A' requires follow-up action 'B', otherwise consequence 'C' happens.

I had to adjust my expectation to their reality, as I can not expect them to align their reality with my expectation.
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I would try putting the pail in the corner where she is throwing the pads. This might be easier than trying to get her to both use the can and remember where it is. 😁
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My mom lives with me and uses depend overnights. I simply go in her room, put the used friends in a osier bag and put it in our outdoor trash bin. Simple, no odor accumulates and it takes a few minutes.
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Have you tried putting the pail into the corner where she tosses the depends? I can attest to "it's easier to housebreak a pet if you put the mat where they are doing their business" - I had a dog that didn't want to use the paper where I placed it, he went over by the door. As soon as I placed the paper by the door, he used it.

While I am sorry to use this analogy, maybe you need to place the pail where she is comfortable dumping the used undies. You might even leave an opened garbage bag (spread out on the floor) in the corner where she is dumping them - for her to dump them on - some of them come with deodorizer.

I had better luck with my dad when I allowed him to choose the how of things. Right now I accumulate soiled washcloths with my DH and instead of a diaper-pail with bleach, I am using an ice cream bucket with a bit of pre-surgical scrub - and liquid soap mixed together in water, and no smell. Just a thought. Brand name: Hibiclens but there are generic brands too - and it kills all bacteria and is microbial.
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I agree with everyone above.
Move the pail (without a lid-so she doesn't have to open it) to the corner where she throws them. Place a diaper pail deodorizer (or 2) in the pail. Spray the lining of the pail bag with a urine neutralizing agent (found in pet stores or patient supply stores). You can also spray it in the diapers BEFORE she puts them on. Keep solid air fresheners in her room and keep the window at least partially open in the warmer months. Try a fan in the room to dissipate the smell.

Smell diminishes as we age. My dad couldn't smell his own body odor but it would hit me in the face when I'd walk in his apartment. Maybe her sense of smell is gone and she honestly can't smell her own diapers. Tell her you can smell her odor, she might be embarrassed and want to change her ways. A drastic measure would be to use one of those disposable face masks when you walk in her room.

If you are working, there is really no way for you to monitor her habits when you're gone. The only thing you can do is talk to her, that you want her to place her used diapers in the pail (which you have-and she won't) and empty the room of her diapers when you get home and every couple of hours while you're awake, then before you leave in the morning.

Is there a reason she doesn't change her diaper in the bathroom? Have you given her "baby wipes" to clean up with before she puts on a new diaper? The urine also sticks to the skin and causes a smell. It might cut down on the smell FROM HER SKIN around the diaper area. They even have warming units to heat the wipes. Maybe, if she could wipe herself, she could throw them both in the garbage.

By the way, the Nappy Sacks brand really work well. I don't know if they're available anymore but other scent containing bags are available. Twenty-eight years ago, when my son was a baby, I left a #1 and #2 diaper tied up in a scent bag in a hot trunk of the car for 6 hours and, when I opened the trunk, I had no idea a diaper was in there! They work.

Sometimes, you just have to give in (if you can) and accept that's how it is. If not, can she live somewhere else? Get a Social Worker involved.
Some people have more a 'acute' sense of smell (see thread on this board) than others and some folks just can't take it and wind up gagging.
Good luck.
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Does she put them in the same corner? I really don't think it would help to move the diaper pail to that corner, but it is a thought.
This reminds me when one of my kids was in twos and threes, she would play too long and wet her pants. Then, the would come in the house, put on clean panties and place the wet, dirty ones in the drawer with the clean clothes. Hadn't thought about that for years.
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I think your mother may be losing her sense of smell. Unfortunately for you, although female urine is an appalling smell, people who live with it around them all the time (as do pet owners with incontinent cats and dogs) get used to it incredibly quickly. Ditto for cigarette smoke or heavy dog odour. But losing smell sensation is also a sign of dementia, when the brain no longer responds to signals sent by the nose. It's happened to a friend of mine aged 86 - and that is "elderly".


I agree with other commenters that 70 is definitely not "elderly". Maybe so back in the 1950s and 1960s, but nowadays, you are not elderly until age range 78 - 90. I think your mother is being not only lazy but also provocative, and this may be a reaction to a feeling of being nagged. As she is living in your house, giving you this odour problem, the only thing you can do is be very firm with her and put more than one covered bin in her room, and make her pick up and bin her soiled diapers while you are watching. Your roles are definitely reversed now - you are the mother, and she the child.
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I just pick it up and throw it out my self, as I find them, vinegar neutralizes the smell. But I never let it there that long.
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I don't know if you ever thought of this, but have you tried putting a great big waste can in the corner where she's piling her diapers? Even a little waste basket or even a midsized one you can frequently check on an empty as needed. Even if you got a small wastebasket and lined it with a shopping bag, you can just pick up the shopping bag when it has something in it and tie the handles shut. You can keep extras nearby and just grab another shopping bag and line the wastebasket again. 

As for getting rid of the smell, you're just going to have to throw open all of your doors and windows, even during winter and just get out for a while. There's nothing like fresh air to get rid of the odor. Anything left over at the end of the day can use a strong spritz of Lysol air sanitizer
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This works for my kitties. Maybe it will work for your mom.

Some brief background: I was unable to use kitty litter, because one kitty would bury his poop so enthusiastically, that the 4 large litter boxes would become like minefields of little pieces of his poop or urine. That distressed the 3 other kitties. So now I use paper towels instead of traditional litter. When a kitty urinates or poops, I clean the litter boxes immediately and replace the old paper towels with fresh paper towels.

Here’s how I avoid bad smells: I have a lidded plastic paint bucket. I line the inside of the bucket with a plastic bag. I put a few spoonfuls of baking soda in the plastic bag. As the paper towels are soiled, I place them inside the plastic bag, which is inside the paint bucket. I later take the plastic bag to the outside garbage can. As for the ambient smells, I use “Air Scense,” a natural air freshener, which comes in various scents. (I like citrus the best, but vanilla is also nice.)

You might want to do the same thing with your mother’s pads. Have a lidded paint bucket (they come in various sizes), line it with a plastic bag (optional step, but it makes depositing the soiled pads easier), and throw in some baking soda. Place the bucket in your mom’s preferred stashing place. Tell your mom to put her soiled pads inside the bucket then put the lid over them. Empty the bucket when it is filled. Maybe she will follow instructions.

In extreme cases, when there is any kind of strong smell I don’t like, I burn incense. You might want to consider burning some incense at first, to remove the existing smells. You can open windows at the same time, if the smoke bothers anyone. When the smell isn’t too bad, air freshener will work.
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If your mom is still able to do for herself maybe an assisted living apartment would work for her. Then you can just visit her. 70 is still pretty young. Also are there any senior centers in the area that she can attend during the day. That may motivate her. My mom is 82 and goes to one daily. It has helped her mental state since my dad passed a few months ago. She lives with me. They both lived with me for the last 10 years. The senior centers he goes to provides free transportation to and from the center. They do crafts, play bingo and go on field trips.
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I feel your pain. My mom was like that before she went to the nursing home, but not bad as Dad. Weird that Dad used to be a neat freak. Dad's room stinks as h*ll and filled with dirty underwear and dirty clothes laying on the floor. There is nothing you can do except hire someone to help your mom weekly.
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My father had a physical problem that was causing incontinence that could have been easily fixed but insisted we stay out of his business. To address the incontinence he developed a ritual where he used a hair dryer to dry himself off. Of course he was still filthy and stinky but he wouldn't accept our help. It turns out my father has dementia. We thought he was simply being stubborn. It's difficult to assert your authority over a beloved parent but that's what has to happen here. Her behavior is not rational.
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I had the same issue with my mom. She wrote pads and pull ups. I kept a closed metal container with lid in the bathroom. All of her supplies were there also. The can was right next to the toilet. When she changed it went in the cab right there. I emptied every day or if she had another UTI which smells horrible more than once a day. This may help. Understand your issues. This worked for us. She does have dementia.
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I can relate and it's frustrating . My suggestion is to keep reminding your mom of the importance of putting them In proper place and it may take several times . Which could be a small sign of early dementia. However keep doing what you doing ! I found soft voice skills also help and she does it right reward is alway good !!
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Not sure why your mom is incontinent - but has she been checked for a UTI? My mom wears undergarments and is in a constant battle with urinary tract infections...Let me tell you - the stench...Anyway, mom has her own bathroom & I keep a garbage can with a latching lid and lined with bag...She always does that "business" in her bathroom. If my mom had no cognitive issues, I frankly would be all over her if she stunk up the house to high heaven. Does she have her own bathroom? Keep the undergarments in the bathroom with a latched lid can within arms reach of the toilet. Also, one thing I've looked into is an ionizer machine that neutralizes odors...
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Update....I just looked at the reviews for the the Sassy Baby Disposable Sacks 400 counts and some people were complaining that they were thinner than when they ordered previously the 200 quantity for @$10.81.....so maybe try the smaller quantity order first....also the reviews included a comment from someone asking if they are large enough to contain a adult diaper...a caretaker/husband commented "Yes" they have worked perfectly for years for his wife!!! Good Luck...
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My suggestion would be to order Sassy Baby Disposable Sacks 400 count /Baby Powder Scent/$16.75 on Amazon......they definitely keep any scent away.....make it a reward system for your Mom....if she puts her used incontinence pads in them and puts them in the diaper genie....for every disposal done correct....a special reward is earned....Best wishes from one caretaker to another!!! Deb G.
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My gosh, that smell must be driving you nuts! Natures Miracle is a great spray and jug liquid that I use for animal smells. White vinegar works great in the wash, I've gotten smells out of linens where nothing else worked.

Maybe instead of staying stuck on 'the' pail, you could put a few different types in different locations in the room and see if she takes to one. I wonder if there isn't a counting or scorekeeping thing going on in her head. You might try some kind of labeling or checkmark board/visual on some of the pails, that might satisfy an oddity in her mind. Oh you could try getting multiple matching hand towels that you put in one place and she can stack up one by one next to the container to keep score, as it were, as she deposits the diapers? Just thoughts, you get the idea. Good luck! :) :)
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I can't believe she has this bad of incontinence at age 70. Has she seen a urologist for tests and possible meds? I'm sorry you're having to deal with her stubborn behavior and that it makes no sense. These are the things that can make us nuts. I think your idea might be a good one. Good luck!
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Thank you all for your comments. And yes, she has had a very in depth cognitive evaluation by 3 doctors, her PCP, a local neurologist, and a neurologist at a nationally renowned hospital. She is mentally sharp as she has always been.

We do have a Diaper Genie - well, an adult version of it - and it is very simple to use and completely contains the smell...she just won't put them in it until she has a pile of several of them.

Regarding the spray I have been using that eliminates the odor, it is Ni-712 by Neutron Industries. It is pricey but it does work and eliminates the odor for several hours.

Since I do daily household chores, I am going to try to get her involved in it....announcing it is time to clean so she should gather up all garbage and underwear from her room so I can take it out with the trash and then spray her room. I'm hopeful this may work. It is what I did to help "train" my son to keep his room clean, and he still does it to this day.

Thanks for all of your suggestions.
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I had asked a similar question a while ago---and got some great answers. Sadly, Mom wouldn't let me implement a single one, so I make my visits short, open a window and shower when I get home if I feel like I smell particularly "ripe".
One person had mentioned a Diaper Genie. A couple of my kids used them with their babies. They will fill up mush more quickly with adult diapers, but the smell is pretty much gone. You'll have to be the one to use it, she obviously isn't going to.
Since she has had poor hygiene previously, this seems to be a case of "becoming more like yourself" as you age. Your personality traits are more pronounced and your deficits are also more noticeable. I know I drive my kids nuts with my oddities--and I'm only 60.

Honestly, no amount of sprays are going to eliminate the odor of urine. You can reduce it to a degree--but---it will be soaked into everything.
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Since the issue seems to be her actually putting the soiled disposable underwear in the proper receptical I don't know if this would help any - but have you tried something like a "diaper genie" with a large, clear sign on the wall over the can with an arrow?
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