Follow
Share

My 89 yo Mil is in a "memory support" group within a wonderful assisted living community near our home. She's been there 2 yrs. due to mild to moderate vascular dementia/alzheimers, but is otherwise in good health. As with many older people, when mil has to use the bathroom, she has to get there quickly. She has a supply of disposable underwear in her room. Last week, the staff called us and said that she has had some bowel accidents on outings for the past couple months and they want her to use Depends on all trips, or they will refuse to take her. They'll check that she has them on before leaving. My husband and I wholeheartedly support this decision. In fact, I want her to wear Depends when she visits our home and when I take her to a dr. appt. Feb. 19, because on a previous visit there was a bm accident in my car! (At the time, she mentioned she should have worn them.) We visited her this morning and brought the matter up but she refuses to wear them because 1) they make her look fat ( false-mil is slim and she has a slim-style depends) 2) she knows her own body and what right do we, or the staff, have to tell her to wear them?! 3) she is an independent woman and traveled all over the world with no problems (true- but that was over 20 years ago) 4) she's only had one or two accidents the whole time in assisted living (emphatically false!!--she just doesn't remember!) and 5) she just won't go on trips (fine with us and I'm sure with the staff, but trips to the dollar store, church, etc. are social outings and she'll miss out). Incidentally, the staff mentioned that they often see her washing underwear in her sink, so this is an issue even in her room. The dr. appt. is coming up, so what do I do? I told her I won't take her unless she has them on, and I'll have the staff check, and if she doesn't wear Depends, I'll just leave. She said she won't wear them and nobody is going to check. My husband and I think she is very selfish about this matter, and will certainly alienate the staff if she continues this behavior. When he mentioned this, she said, "I'm paying enough to be here, that's their job." (meaning to clean up after her). MIL was a school nurse, and has always been a spunky, stylish, independent woman, and I'm sure would be appalled if she didn't have dementia and saw this behavior in someone else. She has become increasingly belligerent the past few months, and even her son (my husband) who is the apple of her eye is now the subject of her ire and he is increasingly reluctant to visit or call her (partly because she refuses to wear her hearing aids, another sore topic which we gave up on). Okay, I'm going off track here, but what do I do about dr. appts. and also visits to our home? Thanks so much in advance for any advice you may have.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Just got home from my mom's favorite NFL team game. Big deal getting my parents there. Mom has bm accident before game begins. I didn't know she was having issues....now I need to have this conversation with her about depends....
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mother, who still lives in her home, was also extremely resistant to wearing Depends.
In her case, mom still lives at home and my sister, who lives nearby, does her care. Cleopatra (the queen of denial) put towels on chairs and claimed the dribble stains leading from her favorite chair to the bathroom were from the dog . LOL
My mom has a history of Narcissistic/Borderline Personality Disorder and has been manipulative and has my poor sister wrapped around her co-dependent finger. Her personality is so extreme that we had to come up with extreme measures to assure she would wear her Depends. So, while she was in hospital for a hip replacement, my sister confiscated all her panties. We really had no other choice.
If you mother isn't that extreme, you might "reward" her for wearing her Depends. When you visit, suggest a favorite outing and then ask if she's wearing her undergarment. If not, just say, "Oh, maybe next time, then." Perhaps you could work with the staff and provide a calendar so they can mark off the days she wears her undergarment. Tell her at the end of the week or month she'll get a surprise if she's worn them every day. Eventually, she'll become habituated to wearing them and won't need an incentive.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you, ladies, for your replies. I took mil to audiologist who gave her a "prescription" to wear hearing aids 4-6 hrs/day. ( I also have a copy, which I'll pull out if necessary when she complains hubby and I "mumble") Mil was receptive, although she said "I can hear you perfectly well" and aud. replied "THAT'S BECAUSE I'M TALKING VERY LOUD!" Then off to pcp, who reinforced the hearing aids and broached the depends issue (I type up a "progress report" which he reads beforehand). Well, she goes off on the "independent woman, I know my body, I'll wear what I want, when I think I need them, and I'll carry one with me" tirade. Yeah, like that's going to help. Dr. says to me "sometimes you just have to know when to give up". Okay, we tried, now it's up to alf to reinforce their decision. Incidentally, mil did not wear depends on this round of visits and all was okay and I let it go. All in all it was a pleasant afternoon. In the past we would stop a Target or Panera Bread, but I wasn't gonna push my luck!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Alzee, this is so hard - but at some point with my mom it just hit me that I had to quit expecting her to make sense, because she just no longer has the judgement to make sensible or logical decisions. People who have lost their critical thinking and judgement just decide things concretely and based on what is happening at the moment - e.g. my underwear drawer is empty, and I don't want to have to wear a Depends, so I need to buy more underwear. It is still sad but maybe less torturous to realize that you can no longer expect her to think in more complex and empathic ways.

Medical causes of bowel accidents are less common than urinary, but there are a couple things. Topamax has it listed as a side effect, for example, or maybe certain foods make her stools looser to where she can't control it as well.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

How about the Poise pads? They are a pad that sit in the panties like a feminine pad and would not be visible for anyone to know she has it on. They are large enough to at least help in some respect if she has an accident. She can't say they make her look fat?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you all for your replies. MIL can control her urine, but it's the loose bm and sphincter control that's problematic, and only sometimes. The staff just want her to be prepared on trips. The Depends I purchased are pull-up briefs, very unobtrusive. I purchased the style they recommended, but maybe there is something more suitable for bm accidents. If we take away her underwear and just leave the depends, she will just buy more underwear via mail order! I also read the whole thread regarding hearing aids, and the writer's problem is identical to ours! The social worker thinks her refusal to wear the hearing aids is a matter of pride (short hair, people can see it). What we don't get is that even at 89, mil is clean and always looks very nice and put together. The staff notices, too. So, why does she subject herself to the humiliation of bm accidents when they can be easily prevented by a protective undergarment that will give her the time to get the the bathroom? And, by not wearing the hearing aids she is isolating herself. She refuses to let the staff change the batteries, so that's not the problem. She just doesn't think she needs them! Don't know if this is dementia or being just plain stubborn, but she is missing out on so much. She is isolating herself and that is sad.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mom will wear these "undergarments, however, she is very particular as to which ones she will wear. I have tried different ones with her and she has 2 types that she likes. She doesn't like Depends. One is CVS brand and another Assurance. She isn't happy about wearing them but she understands that she is uncomfortable when she has an accident. I call them underwear or briefs as not to make her feel like a little kid. I also noticed everyone on here didn't mention diapers.

Maybe one not called Depends might be more comfortable or with a different name because she relates the name of Depends to an adult diaper???? Just a thought. Blessings
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I did not think of this at first, but sometimes incontinence even in elderly folks, might be due to something medical and/or treatable - diuretic medication, UTI, vaginitis, etc.; sometimes an anticholinergic in low dose to decrease uninhibited bladder contractions might be tolerable too, though side effects are of concern.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This is a daily problem here. My mother tries to hide how often she has accidents, but I know. It has gotten up to 3 or more times a day. She will not wear Depends. She said they are uncomfortable and she will never put another one on. It didn't surprise me when she said this, because (embarrassed here) she won't even wear underwear. She doesn't like the way it feels.

It has become a problem for me because no matter how often I clean the bathroom, it smells like a urinal by the end of the day. She doesn't clean up well after an accident. Whenever we go somewhere I have to add 20 minutes to the trip, so she can go to the bathroom when we get there and again before we leave. Yes, it takes her about 10 minutes to use the bathroom. I am sure it is preventative urinating to try to prevent accidents when out. Hanging out around bathrooms so much can be tiring when done so much.

Another less serious effect is that she does a load of laundry each day. She doesn't confess why she is doing laundry every day, but I know. I just wonder if she is so embarrassed she is hiding it from me, why isn't she embarrassed enough to at least wear underpants with a pad.

Sometimes I talk to my mother about the smell in the bathroom, and we conclude that the "gremlin" must have come by and did it, because she didn't. The gremlin does a lot of mischief around here, making bad stuff appear and good stuff disappear.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This is a difficult one. And the dementia just makes it worse. My MIL had this problem when she lived with us and prior to her moving in. She was a perfectionist and this problem didn't rest well with her.They are in denial to a certain extent and it is degrading to say the least. But, we would have to reiturate over and over to her that she had to wear them as she was constantly having accidents. And I would always remind her how embarrassed she has been in the past by an accident and that even though she forgets, it does still happen. She would agree for the moment, but then go back to not wanting them. We finally just took all the underwear away and then she was forced to wear these.

One thing that did kind of sink in was I told her she could get urinary tract infections if she did wear them; and for some reason, this she seemed to accept. It was a constant dilemma; but one that she just had to adjust to.

It is not easy, never will be - but after a while it did get better. Good luck and take care.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

See if she would be wiling to use a different style of incontinence product, probably something that looks more like underwear and pulls up, and call it something else, like "travel underwear" or "special pants for trips" or something. Lots of patients wear "hospital pants" until they can use the urinal and commode again, and my Mom wore "briefs." You could also use a Chux or other "blue pad" to protect your car seat, maybe covering it up with something washable so she won't object to that either.

There is a pretty good thread on here about the hearing aids thing too, called "Mom has a hearing loss of 47%, how do I get her to wear her hearing aid when she refuses?"
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.