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As I've mentioned here before, Grandma used to get up and go to the bathroom when she needed to until she developed a UTI while receiving physical therapy last spring 2018. Since then, she pees in her adult pullup diapers. I have not gotten any answers from her PCP or urologist as to why she might be doing this. Her urologist mentioned dementia, so that's something I'm getting checked out, but the timing is what's bothering me.


Today, I woke Grandma up to find she had pooped in her diaper and it leaked out her diaper in liquid form (there was a nicely formed stool in there which is actually a good thing). I ended up having to give her a bath and had to disinfect various things in the bathroom (fun).


Up until today I was 95% certain that whenever Grandma needed to poop, that she was holding it in and causing further constipation. I suspect that could be why she makes excessive grunty sounds sometimes.


But now I'm questioning why she pooped in the bed. Was this a case of fecal incontinence (something she had no control over) or did she do this because she did not want to get up out of bed? I suspect she did not want to get up. She does not get out of bed unless I make her. I've often been tempted to load the bed with pee pads and see how long she'll stay there with no food.


If this was just some freak accident then I'm not that worried over it, but if this becomes a common occurrence then she'll have to go to assisted living or a nursing home.


Any advice or guidance is appreciated, thanks.

Sorry mejjy11, I just made the assumption that your grandmother has dementia and that this is the beginning of a new stage. To me incontinence was like the potty training stage with a toddler, you develop strategies to successfully use the toilet or commode as often as possible (like toileting on a schedule), then celebrate the good days and just deal with the rest.
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This may be her new normal. But give her a couple of days to see if #2 happens again in her depends. It sounds like she is truly incontinent, which means she has no control over her bowel nor bladder. This will entail constant clean up, checking her skin for breakdown, and a whole ‘nother ball of wax on your part.
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She's going in her brief, that's the definition of incontinence - does it really make a difference whether the cause is that her broken brain can't control her bodily functions any more or that her broken brain causes her to inappropriately put off going to the bathroom? - both are the consequence of her brain disease and not something she can be trained to overcome.
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mejjy11 Mar 20, 2019
Honestly, it does make a difference (to me) as to why she's urinating in her diaper. I want to know why it only started following a UTI 17 days after starting physical therapy. She was relatively fine until then. If she hadn't had therapy, would she still be getting up by herself to pee? I'm inclined to think she would be. So what does that mean? It suggests that something is going on here, something that may not be dementia.

Why should I automatically just accept that she developed worsening dementia (assuming she definitely has it) at that exact point in time? Logically, it seems like there is some other cause. Maybe it was something that was overlooked by her doctor.

She needs more PT now. Should I just neglect getting it because of what happened last year with the UTI? Will that happen again this time? Will she get worse if I get her physical therapy? How can I make the right decisions if I don't know why that happened last year?
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We all have episodes where we don’t “make it” to the bathroom. This may be simply what happened to Grandma. Don’t over analyze. Pin the doctors down for an answer or at least an opinion.

I would not pad out the bed and deny her food. If there is something going on with her, this is unwarranted and unfair. She may be afraid of getting out of bed in the dark. Or. Afraid of falling. This is why, if you think something is going on, she needs to go to the doctor. I’m not aware of any “testing” for incontinence. It’s just something that happens more and more over time until you realize there are no more trips to the bathroom and all eliminations are happening in the diaper. If you can’t handle her eventual incontinence, you may want to start looking for facilities now.
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mejjy11 Mar 20, 2019
I didn't say anything about denying her food.

To clarify, I often wonder what would happen if I just let her stay sleeping in bed and never got her up. I'm not going to feed her in bed, so I wonder if she would just lay there or if she would ever get up on her own. I didn't say I would do this, I said I'm temped to (just to see what happens), I didn't say I would. And I'm offended and hurt that somebody would miscontrue my words like that.

Also, it wasn't a matter of her not making it to the bathroom on time. Either she consciously decided to poop in her diaper while in the bed, or she had a bout of fecal incontinence.

It really bugs me that people are not more proactive in taking care of their loved ones. If something is not right with Grandma, I need to find out why and try to get it fixed if possible. I do realize that not everything is treatble or curable at her age. But I cannot and will not accept that when something is wrong it is incurable/untreatable just because she's old. I wonder how many times someone has been misdiagnosed with dementia and given up on by their family when they actually had a curable UTI (and not dementia).
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