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Yesterday we had a bowel accident and he got it on his hands. He thought washing his hands was running it under warm water. He blew his top when I quietly mentioned he needed to use soap too. Told me I treat him like a baby. Yes, he is in the first stage of dementia. But this has been going on before this. It is grossing me out and can spread germs everywhere. I even put hand sanitizer in his room. He will not use it. Besides this and other mobile issues his son thinks it's time for a nursing home. But he wants to go to the one his lady friend is at. He can not afford it nor can we. Any ideas? I am tired of being yelled at. With him thinking I treat him like a baby, when I remind him about something.

I absolutely disagree with everyone saying ignore it. He had feces on his hands, this is dangerous to him and everyone that comes in contact with everything he touches.

I would just put liquid soap in his hands and help him wash them, if he yelled about being treated like a baby, I would say only a baby plays in shit then doesn't wash there hands. If you don't act like a baby you won't be treated like one.

His son is probably right,if you can't toilet yourself properly it is asking an awful lot to ask of someone. It's not like changing a baby diaper in the least. Non-compliance and inconsistent are really hard to care for at home.

You have every right to feel done with caregiving. It doesn't mean you stop loving and advocating for his wellbeing, it means you go back to being his ?family member?.
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ShenaD Feb 10, 2019
I agree with everything EXCEPT saying the ACT LIKE BABY comment. Borderline illegal if not illegal. Great ideas though for sure.
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Maybe instead of telling him about the soap if it annoys him is just to squirt some soap directly onto his hands. He won’t feel like he’s being treated like a child and you get to see him use soap. Might work or might not.

I know my mom sometimes becomes annoyed at me when I remind her of things. At first it bothered me until I realized that I too sometimes become annoyed at her for reminding me of things. Kind of built into our human nature and all of us have to check ourselves at times, like when we are stressed, not feeling well or overly tired.

I adored my grandmother and when I saw her knees were wearing out and she had trouble doing chores such as sweeping and mopping I offered to help. I thought she would readily accept my offer. She was a lovely woman but very independent and said back to me, “Do you think I can’t do my work?” I told her that I knew she could but I wanted to help. She wouldn’t hear of it. I knew grandma needed help so I waited until she left the room and then went to her and told her I accidentally spilled something and needed to mop it up. I casually mentioned I was going to mop up my spill. Then I quickly mopped the whole kitchen. She went for it!

You might have to get to a little creative. Good luck. I am a germaphobe too!
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Abf, you got a lot of stories for support! You’re looking for ideas. I guess you were right there, are you usually? I’d try getting right at the sink at the time, squirt soap in your own hands and quickly wash his with yours, say yours needed doing too? Say you really like that soap, anytime you can you want to enjoy that smell, it’s a nice part of washing hands. I get yelled at a lot too, the main thing I can think of is to ‘do’ whenever you can instead of talk/make a lesson out of it. Good luck. :)
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He could be tired from the trip to the bathroom. Trade out the sanitizer for diaper wipes. In fact those disposable moistened toilet paper things might help him keep his hands cleaner to begin with.
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NeedHelpWithMom Feb 10, 2019
I agree, sanitizers don’t clean hands well.
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Our client used to do that too, and he never cleaned his hands. It was totally gross and you’re right it gets on other things.

So, what we did is we gave him wipees or a soapy cloth for his hands ( do what works for your set up) and don’t say a word - just give him the tools. he can look and care for himself, and then take it away when he’s done. don’t say anything. Less is best. That helps preserve their dignity.

We also got into the habit, at the end of the day, of wiping down with Lysol wipes the things that we knew he would touch during the day to keep germs to a minimum.

Eventually We started taking over wiping him. And we’d have to keep all tissue paper paper out of reach or he would do it. He did not care for it, but fortunately he was not a yeller. I am so sorry about that. Both he and his wife had a period what I called “getting over the hump” of realizing they needed more care with their loss of independence. It wasn’t easy. it takes a while but they eventually get there. they can see for themselves.
Lots and lots of love!
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gdaughter Feb 10, 2019
Bless you for your compassion and being able to do the hands on you are. I pray I don't have to as the relationship with my mother was always antagonistic at best.
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Of course I agree with the need to wash hands but might suggest that caregivers use gloves like the nurses do when caring for their loved ones.
Also on the issue of a bar of soap I don't think this is the most hygienic tool either. I bet a lot of germ procreate on that delicious smalling bathroom staple.
Warm presoaped wipes seem the best idea. Just lie in wait outside the bathroom door armed with your wipes and gloves and pounce. once that task is finished keep your gloves on and wipe down everything in the bathroom he may have touched.
At mealtimes be ready with the soapy wipes before food is put in front of him. He won't like it but you may feel a little better.
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Good luck with that. Just be thankful that he's at least washing his hands without soap. Grandma won't even do that most of the time. If she washes her hands and uses soap, that's a mark the calendar day. At least I've gotten her to use hand sanitizer. It's taken years but she's pretty good about that.

It's just not the elderly with that problem. Being a germaphobe, it disgusts me how many people don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Just note what people do when you go to a public restroom. There's always some that go straight from a number 2 to out the door. Many people will just rinse briefly with water. Very few wash their hands properly. Oh how I miss Japan in that regard where everyone washes their hands properly.
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Rainmom Feb 7, 2019
Once I was out on a date. Dinner date.

Upon arriving at the restaurant I had to use the restroom - prior to being seated.

In my stall I could hear another person finishing up in another nearby stall - then immediately leave the restroom, not passing GO nor stopping to wash their hands.

I dont know if it if it was a premonition or what - but once I was out I asked my date if he noticed who exited the restroom right before me. Yes, he did. He pointed to a waitress.

We left - immediately. Ewww!
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Yes, my mother had a similar problem. She would want to handle the bowel. You will have to continue to remind him to use soap, supervise , and try to lay your emotions aside and not be offended by his words or reprimands. If he us not able to care for himself and there is no one to care for him in his home your best option may be some kind of facility. My mother went to a small board and care. It was close to my home and I went there everyday to check on her. You must think of yourself and how you can stay strong and healthy for him and your own family.
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You all are nicer than I would be. This is a major health hazard for everyone in the house. He either follows the rules of the house, or I would find some place else for him to be, and I would make that clear to him.
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With my FIL, hygiene was simply not on his radar. As long as his pompadour looked good, he was fine. Showers? Maybe couple a month. He just wasn't raised that way, and 42 years with an anal retentive germaphobe didn't leave a mark on him. ( ex-wife)

He also had fecal incontinence fairly frequently, and to add to the yuck of that, he insisted on wearing thong style underpants. Some memories are just too gross to even contemplate---I could NOT get DH on board with talking to him about BASIC hygiene...so he didn't.

He did NOT have dementia. So talking to him--was possible, everyone just tippy toed around the elephant in the room.

I was CG for him at this point in his life, he was slowly dying from Leukemia and I know he was tired and sick--but a LOT of the gut issues were from simply not being clean.

Finally, I had a sit down with him. It was humiliating for both of us. But he did start wearing underpants (not depends, but just full briefs, which helped with cleanup). I also told him he would shower 3 times a week and if he didn't shower himself I would climb in the shower with him. I'd actually CHECK to see if he'd showered--not that sneaky 'turn on the water and then off again'. I'd LOOK behind his ears and check his arms and legs. He allowed me to put CHUX under the seat of recliner and a blanket on top of those. I showed him how to wash his hands--at age 79 he really had no idea how to "surgeon scrub"--and I kept his nails short and clean. Gut issues settled down a bit.

"Dirtied pants" were double washed in super hot water and 2 rinses. A lot were simply thrown away, I wasn't up to scraping dried poop off his old khakis. All old thong style undies were thrown away, but he'd just buy more. (sigh).

Dad just reverted to being a kid when he got so sick. Even tho my MIL was a complete nutjob as far as cleanliness (throw rugs on every inch of carpet, cleans the house before the maid comes---you know the kind)--and I think he had been bossed for so many years that living alone, he simply reverted to being the messy, wild kid he'd once been.

I still had 2 kids at home, and I was also caring for my dying father at the same time I was taking care of FIL. I couldn't bring germs from one house to another--FIL simply had to meet basic standards of clean or I'd get crazy on him. (In a nice way).

Cleaning all the surfaces you can helps--my mom cannot clean anything. SO the light switches, handles, knobs, faucets--etc are all crusted with guck. She doesn't notice me cleaning and she would make me stop if she did know.

I think a lot has to do with the fact she cannot stand w/o her walker and so anything requiring "hands free" is impossible.

Also, she "thinks" my neice is her maid--and she pays her for cleaning and watering the plants. Guess what I am doing today? replacing all the dead plants. They haven't been watered in a year, at least. Mother cannot SEE them, as she is so bent over, her world of vision is everything below 4'.

Oh, how I wish I had free rein in that apartment with my sister for 2 days. It would be life changing.

Funny, my mother's mother ALWAYS had a maid. She didn't care for housework and had zero problem with getting help in. BTW, my 40 yo daughter has a maid. As does my 40 yo DIL. It's something of a status thing for them. I say good for them!

Sorry, went off topic. Just--basic cleanliness is often the first sign of mental slippage. A friend came to church couple of weeks ago with her mascara all over her face and her dress on backwards. Also had obviously let her manicure "go"--her always gorgeous nails were a chewed up mess.
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gdaughter Feb 10, 2019
I don't know how you do it. Please, look into your local area agency on aging and see if they have a caregiver support respite type program. If you are lucky they might allow use of the funds on an annual basis instead of just for 3 months and it might be of help to you...
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