So me and my mom care for my gran as she lives with us and one of her health problems is incontinence.

She wears pads as she refuses the pull ups. She doesnt wear the correct ones and we have to put a night time tenalady on top of the incontinence pad but nurses have said it's better than nothing and if she accepts that it's better not to argue. However our problem now is she wont use them properly of a night. She'll call out probably every half hour to an hour for someone to take her to the bathroom and when you say just wee on the pad she shouts no so were having to get up each time of fear she'll have a fall going to the bathroom as her walking isnt great. We got her a commode but she refused to use that. It's just getting to the point now where were getting next to no sleep and we end up snapping at each other because of this. Also when she does go to the toilet she sometimes does nothing which is so frustrating. I'm starting to think is this an early dementia/Alzheimer's sign or is it just typical her as she has always been a stubborn person. Is there anything we can do or say that will get her to use them properly and is this normal?

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We're all socialized from toddlerhood that it is unacceptable - shameful even - to wet ourselves so you can't be surprised that telling her to just go ahead and do that is going to meet with resistance. I would work hard at getting her to accept the commode, insist that her it is for your sake not hers. And then doing something about the urge to go, if that can't be alleviated then perhaps a medication that helps her sleep more soundly.
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My grandma was the exact same way. She would refuse to go in her diaper and just scream for someone to take her to the toilet. She did this at home, in the hospital and the SNF. Thinking she was screaming because of a full diaper, I would change it. I quickly learned not to since the moment it was off, she would then go and wet the bed. I learned to wait for the screaming to end before changing the diaper. Since by that point she would have finished.

It took a long time, months, but she's adapted. Now she'll just go in her diaper and then I change it. She hasn't gone without a diaper on in weeks. She's learned to go only with a diaper on and hold it when it's not on. This is now that she's bed bound. When she was mobile, it took literally years for her to adapt to disposable diapers. For the longest time she would rip them off shortly after they were put on. But she eventually learned to keep them on.
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Sounds awful. Sorry you’re going through this.

A few things come to mind:
- Frequent urination or feeling the need to could mean your grandma has a UTI. Common signs in elderly also include falling more and increased confusion. Have her checked for a UTI by her GP.
- Motion sensors can let you know if she actually gets up from bed.
- Don’t give up on the bedside commode. She may come around to using it. (Very likely she will. I speak from experience) A trail of lights at night leading to it might make it more attractive?
- Consider hiring an aide to be with her at night to give you and your Mom a break. No one can take care of elderly family 24/7. Sleep is very important.

Best of luck!
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Sophielizzie Jan 2020
I never thought of a uti because normally when she has one she becomes a bit aggressive in her attitude but I'll definitely check in with our nurse on that. As for the commode I can only keep trying.

I didn't know you could have people come in of a night. We've had carers but they only stay 15 minutes which I think is pointless as they do nothing. Thank you for the advice
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