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My 76-year-old mom is moving in with me and my husband soon. We have a small house that has one bathroom so we'll have to move her commode chair out of the way when we need to use the toilet. Mom is an amputee, but is able to transfer herself from her wheelchair to the commode chair. Occasionally, something will leak. (Sorry for the TMI.)


Right now, she's in assisted living and over time, I have noticed that the legs, wheels and bars at the base of her commode chair is a bit filthy. I mention it to the caregivers and I clean it off myself, but it's tedious. When I try to encourage Mom to be careful, she insists shes not making a mess or claims, "There's nothing there. I don't see it!" (Arrghhh...)


I'm at a loss on how to keep this under control. I don't want to put towels down because she could slip. I was thinking maybe covering the legs and bars in some sort of plastic or cover that can be washed and replaced. Any advice from the pros out there?


It's just an icky situation. When she moves in, I plan to hire a part-time care giver to give me some relief. I work alot, day and night. So constant cleaning and care will wear me thin.


Thanks for the support and looking for tips and advice!

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I don't have a commode chair to deal with but I do have an adult son who is disabled - and a husband who is not as aware as I'd like.

Between the two of them I find myself complaining a lot that my toilet smells like a toilet.

The only solution I've found is continual cleaning. It's not as bad as it sounds. I have a jumbo canister of Clorox wipes on the back of the toilet and I wipe the back, sides and floor of and around the toilet after every use. I have successfully trained hubby to do the same.

It really only takes a minute and then when it's time for the regularly scheduled bathroom cleaning, the problem of stink and stains is minimal.

But I've thought a lot about this as well and would love to have a better way to keep my bathroom from looking and smelling like a bathroom at a highway rest stop.
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A good way to really clean the commode chair is to move it to the shower, bathtub or back porch and spray it well with Clorox Cleanup. The bleach cleaner will get into all of the cervices. After it sits a few minutes, spray it with water or pour water over it. When a home care company brings used equipment, such as a wheel chair, I clean it with Clorox Cleanup since it's always a little grimy even though they say its been "sanitized". Nothing has ever been damaged and the flowers in the garden don't seem to mind getting a dose of bleach cleaner every now and then. In between cleanings, you can use wipes to get the spatters. Dealing with incontinence is a little time consuming, but staying on top of it will keep your house from smelling bad.
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My solution to splatters, of all kind, is to line the bottom of the plastic recepticle with toilet paper. Roll toilet paper around your hand one time, repeat two more times and bottom is covered. The cheapest toilet paper I can find so it is not a great money waster. This eliminates the splatter under the seat or any where else. Keep deluted bleach, in spray bottle, by toilet. Before I empty plastic recepticle I add some water to it for easy emptying. All goes down the toilet and then spray with the deluted bleach. Empty excess fluid into toilet and good to
go. Reline bottom, of plastic recepticle, with toilet paper again. Ready for next use. I find there is no need to wash every time plastic recepticle is used as the routine listed above does it all. Only when sides are contacted, usually by very loose stool, do I than disinfect with straight bleach. Have used this method for over a year and have found it is a great way to control alot of problems that arise from the use of a pottie chair. Hope this helps.
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Thanks Rainmom, I appreciate the delicacy of your words on this subject, good! My youngest brother has cognitive and physical disabilities and in early adult years when I was responsible for him, I wasted so much time trying to explain to him how bad it was for others when there were smells.

Later, when I got more involved in the detail myself, sorting out his drawers and putting labels on the front of each, I came to realize that he needed that basic organization, for any memory or comprehension approaches were beyond his ability. And he never did learn to leave his clothes in the dryer long enough to be fully dry, let alone notice when clothes needed changing.

But I later worked with elders, and got used to handling hygiene with them, bathing particularly, and that changed my ability to deal with my brother. I learned to address issues simply, directly and promptly, with cheer and matter of factness, either doing the care myself if they could not, or being there and handing them the facecloth. I learned to speak in terms of things THEY could feel, not the impact on others which they could not remember. Like, "we need to get all the soap off, you don't want to have any itching later, if we leave any." And just move through the process. Fact is, when someone is clean and you can count on that, your attitude towards them changes. So much better than resentments and hints.

Empty the commode bucket, then rinse it daily with hot water and a smidgeon of bleach, keeps everything fresh, and more promptly with after bowel use.  And use the wipes as Rainmom says.

And - just replace any over-worn equipment. The Councils on Aging have many pieces of healthcare equipment for free, when people don't need them any longer. All sterilized, in good condition, wheelchairs, rollators.

I think once you get involved and not shy about making sure the situation meets your standards, stating it upfront and doing what is needed, not keep expecting your mother to notice, you'll find life more cheerful - it's a pleasure to deal with a clean person, and a misery to keep noticing smells and feeling defeated.

By now, my brother is living in a nursing home, and they do all  the laundry and care, and if I take him out, his clothes and person are clean.  He has always taken pride in dressing, he just didn't have the awareness, memory or skills to handle cleanliness himself.   I have him stay in a hotel sometimes,  and there, I am glad to have my elder care experience,  to just check and if any difficulties, handle issues right away, with good cheer, move right in, not expect permission and understanding - I learned to pause if there's an objection, don't move too far away, then give my cheerful reason again and assume they will be glad, then move back into the task and do it well.  Without resentments, works well,
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Sorry to say, but I think often clean and sanitized has to give way to clean enough. There is no way you are going to disassemble the commode chair or remove toilet risers (which are bolted on, after all) after every accident unless of course they are very infrequent. I've whined before that a lot of adaptive hardware lacks any insight into how it is actually used. Considering the exorbitant prices we have to pay for items you would expect someone could spend some time engineering in features that included ease of cleaning and actual comfort for the users.
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If it is the bottom of the commode you can get replacement bottoms. The adjustable portions can be removed and replaced or you could even remove them to soak and wash. (If this is the metal leg adjustable type)

If she is just using a commode to get the proper height you could do one of two things.
Replace the toilet with one that is a Tall, Elongated one that will make it easier for her and everyone for that matter. Just get a set of the arms that can be place on the toilet as well so that she can easily get up.
OR
You could get a riser for the toilet you have. It can be used by everyone but it could be removed if you do not wish to use it. And it can be removed for cleaning.

Now I have to ask....and this is totally off your subject....
Do you HAVE to move your Mom in with you?
I am sure if you have read many of the other posts her it is not easy. Going from a Daughter that visits her in her Assisted Living home to being a full time caregiver will be a HUGE change for her, you and your entire family. It will require a lot of time, effort, patience and all the minor problems will be magnified. And keep in mind she will need more care as time goes on.
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There is a paint that is used to dip tool handles in that forms a rubber coating - I wonder if all 4 legs are dipped then there will be no seam between the rubber foot & leg of commode to catch anything - maybe it could seal other areas as well? - if anyone tries this let us know

When I use vinegar I buy pickling vinegar as it double strength - we use for all sorts of things - my favourite is put it in a watering can & 'water' the weeds in front pathway then come back 3 days later to weep all the brown dried up 'bodies' away - so much easier on the knees & back - but then I crave French fries [here we sprinkle them with vinegar]
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I bought an inexpensive steamer from a consignment store to clean hard surfaces like this. It keeps kitchen and bath faucets and counters shiny without using chemicals. Made by Shark.
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My mother has all the elder appliances. The toilet frame and shower chair get the worst. I clean them the normal way usually, knowing that the next day the toilet frame will smell like it was never cleaned. I don't like it, but I've learned to accept that having everything perfectly clean would have me running like a hamster in a wheel. I do a more thorough job when needed by putting the toilet frame in the shower and giving it a simple vinegar wash and then a rinse. The vinegar neutralizes the urine smell, dissolves any salts, and sanitizes.

My worst problem is really the shower chair that grows black mold on all the crevices. I soak the feet of the chair in cups of a dilute Clorox solution and use a bleach spray, e.g. Tilex or a Clorox solution to kill the mold elsewhere and rinse thoroughly. Still I have to scrub at the stain left behind. I don't do this often, since bleach can corrode the materials with repeat use.

Don't you wish there was an elder supply service that would trade out appliances once a month? It would be wonderful to get fresh ones, instead of having to deep clean them repeatedly. I've often wished they would make them so they were totally smooth, with no where to collect salts and grow fungi. I'm sure they could do that, but they don't.
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If you go the route of chlorox wipes read the label about bleach to see if enough is in there. I also recommend a spray bottle with a 1 in 10 solution of bleach plus get a box of disposable gloves best bought in bulk on the internet. The gloves are great for big messes elsewhere
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