Hello there,

My elderly father of 84 years old has wet his bed 3 times within the last week. He does not like using his zimmerframe, and as such has fallen over multiple times. He will not bother making his own cups of tea or getting drinks, despite previously claiming he can look after himself. We have suggested to the GP that he is physically unable to look after himself in the past, but they have advised us he is capable.

Today he has openly admitted to myself and my sister that he is too lazy to go to the toilet. It is hard not to feel like he is taking our lives, and our personal well-being, for granted. We both have professional lives that we wish to improve, and we intend to move out at some point. My mother is separated from him, but she would be the only carer left for him, and it would be immensely unfair on her to expect her to deal with him. We cannot allow this behavior to continue, but we have no idea how to enforce standards upon him.

Myself, my mum, and my sister take care of him in our house. He does not bother moving out of his bed nowadays. It seems clear that he has given up on caring for himself. Has anyone been in a similar situation to us? Could anyone offer advice? I am genuinely considering investigating care homes as a final solution, as he has allowed his own well-being to deteriorate despite our help, and it is negatively affecting our personal and professional lives.

Surely, there must be laws to protect the well being of carers? How far is far enough in dealing with his self-proclaimed laziness? Would the law provide any solutions to this?

I apologize if this post sounds selfish. It is very hard to find pity for him when he has admitted to deliberately letting himself go. If anyone has advice, solutions, perspectives, anything to help - please let me know.

Your father isn’t doing this out of laziness. That’s an excuse to avoid admitting that he can’t control his bladder any longer and doesn’t feel physically steady enough to get up and down to a bathroom in a timely manner. It’s time for adult briefs, like Depends. My father went through this, it was terribly embarrassing for him. Imagine being a capable person for years and finding yourself with urine all over yourself, you’d likely make up an excuse also. It’s not on you to provide care for him if you’re not up for it. Help him to find the best care available. That can look like many different options, from having a helper come in to his home part time, all the way to him moving to assisted living.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Daughterof1930
aerosol Nov 27, 2020
Thank you for your answer.

We have been using incontinence pads for our father well before this incident - it is only now that he admittedly he is too lazy to go to the toilet. He is capable of visiting the toilet and has done so frequently in the past, and I have no reason to suspect his wellbeing has significantly worsened to a point where he can no longer do this. We have interpreted this as him deliberately wetting himself and his bed, knowing we will have to clean it up for him ourselves. This is why I wrote this post from a place of anger, and mentioned that it is hard to not feel like we are being taken for granted.

Since the post, I have bought a urine bottle for emergencies and encouraged him to still visit the toilet on a semi-hourly basis. I have also bought a commode for if the situation worsens.

Assisted living is certainly something we will investigate going forward. For now, I believe the above solutions have alleviated the problem. Thank you again for your perspective.
Your mother married him, you and your sister did not. Your mother is an adult, and can make choices for herself just as you and your sister can make choices. You and your sister need to sit down with your mother and state that you cannot continue caring for him and his needs are only going to increase. You and your sister can help your mother by looking for a care home. Start planning now before he ruins your lives and livelihoods.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

Perhaps it is time to look into residential care options. I haven't heard of any laws that protect the needs of caregivers, but in most states there are no laws requiring your service to another simply because you are related, either. You do what you choose to do for your own reasons.

This is fall and also a very stressful time for all of us living in this pandemic. Bear in mind that your father may be suffering from depression. You may also. It may be worth seeking some counseling for him and for all your family before thinking about more serious solutions. Many counselors are currently taking appointments for telephone-based sessions, which would be really easy to access. I would try this first. It may be that a bit of therapy would get your father into taking more care of himself. Maybe not, but worth a try.

You do not sound selfish. In fact, it seems that it is well past the time that you looked at your situation objectively and had a formal discussion with your sister and mother about how much of your lives you are willing and able to sacrifice for your father. They are probably as exhausted as you are. Then the 3 of you need an honest discussion with your father about what you can/will do and what you expect of him in return. Contact your local seniors resources center first and find out what all your options are. It would not be helpful to make a decision that is not possible.

Also, bear in mind that you may want to think about moving out of your family home if the circumstances are not going to change in any way that favors your staying there. Are you employed? Might you soon be eligible for Social Security? Do you have friends who could give you temporary shelter while you look for an apartment? What resources do you have that you may not have considered in the past?

Above all else, you must live your live in a way that makes sense to you. Helping to care for your father may well be part of that life, but you are fully in charge of the choices you make after you analyze your options.

Please take care of yourself, you are a good and worthy person. Do not lose yourself trying to care for others. Care for yourself first, so that you have reserves and can operate out of a position of caring rather than a position of a victim of circumstances. That attitude can be hard to own at first, but you will find it easier as you work on it. You can't really give anything to anyone else if you have no internal reserves of your own. Good luck and be strong and brave.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to LittleOrchid
aerosol Nov 27, 2020
Thank you for your response.

Your advice has been very thoughtful and I greatly appreciate your perspectives. Counselling and assisted living are services we have investigated throughout the last half of this year and we hope we will get a response soon regarding carers.

It is the compromises my family have had to make to our personal and professional lives that makes his admition of laziness feel like he has taken us for granted. I appreciate your advice that we have to ensure our own wellbeing is cared for before we can be in a healthy position to care for our father, not a position of anger.

Since the post, I have bought a urine bottle for emergencies and encouraged him to still visit the toilet on a semi-hourly basis. I have also bought a commode for if the situation worsens. I believe these solutions have alleviated the problem for now.
Perhaps your father is telling you that he's lazy, because he's too embarrassed to admit that his physical and mental health are failing. For the elderly that still have their minds, that has to be a hard pill to swallow. Maybe it's time to show your father a little more compassion, and try to get to the bottom of what's really going on with him.

And if his care is getting to be too much for you and your family, then it's probably time to be looking for a care facility where he can live out his days, where he will get the care that he needs and deserves.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to funkygrandma59
aerosol Nov 27, 2020
Thank you for your reply.

I would like to assert that I believe we, as a collective family, have shown our father compassion and continue to do so. We have already made major adjustments to our personal livestyles and home to accomodate his needs. He has been in a position in inability for a significant amount of time now.

His admition of laziness has been interpreted by us to imply that he knows we will have to clean up after him, which is why he doesn't care to visit the toilet himself anymore. He never used to wet his bed three times in a week until this incident - it all happened suddenly.

Since the post, I have bought a urine bottle for emergencies and encouraged him to still visit the toilet on a semi-hourly basis. I have also bought a commode for if the situation worsens. I believe these solutions have alleviated the problem for now.
So you say that he admitted that he was to lazy. Is that because you were asking him why he did it?

He can't help it. I doubt very much that he is intentionally messing his bed. He is probably having accidents and is hugely embarrassed. Wouldn't you be? Then imagine someone in your face demanding an answer for why you did it.

Go buy him adult incontinence underwear and some disposable or washable chux and tell him that it's not his fault and he will be more comfortable having disposable incontinence briefs in case he doesn't make it to the bathroom.

Please do not shame him for something he can not help. Send his doctor a note and get him seen. This could be from a urinary tract infection or something else very treatable.

***Any sudden changes in senior citizens should be addressed immediately by their doctor.***
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

I am so sorry that you are dealing with this challenging situation.

I went through the incontinence situation with my mom. It is hard for them and hard for the caregiver. I couldn’t find a good solution.

Some people have mentioned various things that helped them on this site.

I hope you will find a viable solution soon.

This is such a common issue and so many things effect it, medications, mobility issues and simply age effects how accidents occur.

My mom wore diapers at night. I had a washable pad on her bed. I washed everything a bazillion times! It’s exhausting being a caregiver. I feel your pain!

She had a bedside commode for daytime and very often still couldn’t make it in time to the commode. Their bladders wear out! Mom is 95.

I am no longer mom’s caregiver. I had her for 15 years in my home. She is now under hospice care in a sibling’s home.

I understand that you feel like you are burning out. Do not apologize to us. I totally understand how this happens and your feelings are completely normal.

Wishing you all the best. Others will have suggestions for you too. Stick around for help.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
aerosol Nov 27, 2020
Thank you for your reply.

We have used incontinence pads and mattresses as well. Since the post, I have bought a urine bottle for emergencies and encouraged him to still visit the toilet on a semi-hourly basis. I have also bought a commode for if the situation worsens. I believe these solutions have alleviated the problem for now.

Thank you for understanding how frustrating this situation has been. Burnout is a good way to describe how we feel right now. We have been pursuing additionial care for a while now and hope that we will have a response soon. Take care and thanks again.
You don't sound selfish, just uninitiated.

Your father states to you - and probably sounds quite convincing about it - that he is "too lazy" to make a cup of tea or even to use the toilet.

Your father says this because he himself does not begin to understand why it is that he cannot make himself get up and go to the kitchen or the bathroom. There is no obvious reason. So what's left? Sheer laziness.

But the actual reason is fatigue and loss of initiative (in a technical sense). He is in his chair, in his own little world, sitting and dozing or even just sitting and not dozing. It does not at any point enter his head to get up and do whatever needs doing.

So he explains this as laziness - he can't make any other sense of it. But he is not being lazy, and it would be wrong and cruel to blame him.

Are you in the UK? If so, get in touch with your father's local authority's adult social services and see what support might be available for him. It's possible that three calls a day would transform his life.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Countrymouse

Sounds horrible. Don't worry here about sounding selfish. You are doing the best you can to deal with a tough situation you didn't create or sign on for. That said, a claim of laziness is often a cover for inability. I'd guess he doesn't like peeing on himself or in the bad but doesn't want to admit his loss of the ability to get to the bathroom, even if that's only sometimes.
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Reply to Jvaholmes

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