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Mother has grown quite incontinent and despite having a supra pubic catheter placed, she still "leaks". She wears a pad, but doesn't change it often. It IS a hassle, I know. Also, she cleans out one catheter bag and doesn't get all the urine out. Then she hangs it up in the bathroom, with maybe a tablespoon or more of stale urine in it. She leaves the soaked pads in the bathroom also. She's had a couple of "overflows" on the carpeted areas, on her bed, though she does have a waterproof sheet, and also on her recliner. She just gets more and more of those "automatic" spray room fresheners in all different scents! They go off every 15 minutes to cover the smell, but upon walking into her apartment, you just get slammed with the stale urine smell.
I've cleaned the bathroom and carpet and recliner, but the smell just seems to seep into everything. Brother, whose home her apartment is in, refuses to replace the flooring with hardwood, so she has mostly carpet.
The smell is just gaggy. I've used pet cleaners, vinegar, organic cleaners and they all work for a few days, but then the smell comes back. Mother refuses to open windows, even on the nicest days. When I clean, I open them all and ignore her.
I'm sure her clothing now is all "soaked" to a point as well. She does her own laundry and is always immaculately groomed, but she smells, too.
She is aware of the smell, hence the room fresheners, but the root cause may be the incompletely emptied catheter bags combined with wet pads. She doesn't take her own trash out and the only thing I have ever said to her is "Mom, one of your room fresheners just spritzed me in the face."
I'm embarrassed for her, and the other siblings don't visit, so maybe this is just something I have to deal with? Oh, she also has 2 cocktails in the kitchen, adding their own special brand of funk and feathers. Gag. And occasionally, one of my brother's dogs will escape into mother's place and pee on the carpet and when I clean it, the water is sludgy black and thick. And holy moly does it stink!!

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I'm absolutely getting nowhere. I have tried and tried to clean this place and used to be allowed to do more--Mother is now just insistent that she's fine and to leave things be. Weekly she brings in more junk--- Brother is in complete denial.
It's not worth the energy to try to help either of them. I will still visit Mother and do the one or two things she *allows* me to do. This is the end. I can't bear the smell of her place, she doesn't care, obviously, and her beginnings of dementia are all too evident to expect anything to change for the better.
I agree, she is living in pretty filthy conditions, but it's by her choice. Brother, to be fair, is totally sick of her living there, and has a really twisted relationship with her. I am the only other sib who routinely visits. Lucky for me I have a very busy summer with many weeks of being out of state. I am going to clean the carpet and throw out some plants. Brother promised he'd wash the birds and power wash their cage. His word is as good as tissue paper.
Once again, I try to help, or fix a simple problem and once again I am shot down and told I am "butting in".
After next week, I will happily "butt out".
When mother begins to really go downhill, I will be there, I won't abandon her, but I truly give up trying to *help* her.

Hopefully, tho, all the comments and suggestions I received will help someone else.
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If you are getting nowhere, I would up and walk away and just go no contact with your family. That will be tough to do but you can do it, your mother and brother are not worth your health. Let them both pay for their actions or inactions. People are going to be PO'ed but that's not your concern. You say that your mother is safe but she isn't, she is living in filth and your brother isn't doing a damned thing about it and looking to you to deal with it.
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Friends--thanks for all the support.
Going to close this down now. Had 'the talk' with brother and mother (separately). He WILL NOT allow linoleum to be laid in his home. End of discussion. He also will not allow mother to have a new floor at all. He has the wood flooring ready to be laid after she dies. End of discussion.
Talking to mother, just a face to face sit down--she knows he place smells and that's why she has all the air fresheners going. She does not care if her birds and now crawling with mites and pooping all over the place as they are her "family". As I was talking to her about this, I caught a random tiny feather in my eye. Within minutes my eye was almost swollen shut.) I told her that I was willing to come clean, but she needed to be OK with me actually "touching" her stuff. She will allow the small length of carpet to be cleaned and she knows the dogs have peed there. I cannot touch her recliner. I cannot move anything. I can repot the dead plants (???) but I can't take anything out of her place. She has lost all trust in me.
I did try to point out that the health hazards to her of breathing in the room freshener spray all day and night is bad for her lungs and breathing in the stuff from the birds was also really bad for her and she said "I'm going to just die then, no one will care!" I sat there silently, because obviously she was trying to manipulate me into saying "Oh no! I don't want you to die!!" And I'm not falling for that.
So, I will take a giant step back and let her and brother enjoy their weirdly bound-together world.
And, after an hour with her--I REALLY began to see the dementia is taking hold. She told me a story about my dad really loving a nephews wife and how much he loved their reception, etc. I think my mouth was hanging open--I said "Mother, Ben got married 7 years ago, Daddy died almost 13 years ago, he was not there." She insisted he was. Since he was 100% bedbound the last 18 months of his life, he never even MET my last 3 in law kids. Yet Mother insists how much he enjoyed all their weddings.
Having not really dealt up close and personal with dementia--this is a new norm. She is sweeter, but only for a while. Then she'll get nasty and mean.
I care too much. I will do what I can (basically nothing) or I may actually DO nothing. Brother is impossible to work with and I cannot even get a straight answer out of mother any more, I see that.

So--thanks to all of you for your support and answers. Venting was helpful, now I am once again stepping back and out of the picture for a bit. My intentions are good, but unwelcome. Mother is safe, she is not in real danger and since none of the other sibs seem concerned, I'm going to let go of this.
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I've found odorxit products to be the best. The owner, goes beyond by listing every kind of problem and how to solve them. He even explains when no product will work and when things just need replacing and how! Those nasty urine crystals can hide everywhere. Since your problem is on going like mine, he helped with with how to keep things under control, so I could have friends over again. And how to do it spending the least amount of money. Best of all you can apply the principles to other products. I'm just do grateful, I found him.
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My mother has been in my home for nearly a year now and I must confess that the smell of stale urine in terrible. I use febreze stray to combat it. So far it's the best thing I can suggest. It really works just as advertised on TV. Try some and wash the whole area with cleaning solution and spray that on last. Keeping her mindful that it's important to bath and wash her clothes will help as well. Once a person has these issues it takes a strong individual to see and held all these things and make it happen. It's not easy!
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We use puppy pee pads on all the furniture and bedding.
Also use a dehumidifier to get the moisture out especially after each cleaning. This can be the cause of lingering odor - moisture that stays deep in the carpet, fabric or cushions. Also when possible, on a low humidity, (windy day even better) day - set things outside in the sun.
Whenever possible get vinyl covered furniture (we just bought a hospital recliner style chair at a yard sale).
Vinegar, pet urine removers, etc. keep using them all.
Powder carpet fresheners, allowed to sit on the fabric for a while can help sometimes.
And when all else fails, if company is coming - light some scented candles for the visit.

Also add white vinegar and baking soda to the laundry. (separately - it foams up)
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My favorite: Bac-Out by biokleen (I get it from my local natural food market but it is available online at biokleenhome).
Runner up: from Earth Friendly Products, Natural Pet Formuls Dtain and Odor Remover. Also from natural food market or online at ecos

These are great.
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Not sure how old your mom is but good for her she is cleaning the urine bag herself. Make sure you let her know she is doing a great job. You may want to try one of those baby diaper trash containers that have the odor blockers for the urine pads.
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Vinyl sheet goods is the answer. We are care givers to my mother-in-law and an uncle. After the leaks from urine and the trails of diarrhea in our new rugs at 4am, we had to find a better solution.
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Again--thanks.
Realistically-- and I DO have to be real about this problem--what I want implemented and what I can "maneuver" into being implemented are going to be 2 entirely different things.

Small steps. Mother would NEVER, and I mean NEVER allow her things to be stored for one day--everything will have to be moved into the adjacent communal living room. IF I can talk brother into replacing the floor, it will be the kitchen and hallway. Period. She has so much stuff packed into every nook and cranny. We just need to address the carpet and the birds and the cath bags not being cleaned.
Talked to mother today, she was in high spirits as she just got all her lab work done and she is evidently in great shape! Dr says she'll live 10 more years (oh, dear lord......) She does have some dementia, so I will wait to hear what the dr really said.
I told her "hey, it's time for Spring cleaning! I'm going to come do your windows and replace some potting soil and wash down the birdcage, OK?" She was so happy about the drs tests she was all "Sure, fine, whatever". So I will go up while she's away at Bingo this week and get a start.

I am going to go over brother's head and appeal to the older brother who is mother's POA--(which means not a whole lot right now)--and if he says we need to replace the floors, it will happen. I try not to get him too involved, he prefers to stay in the shadows and not make waves.

Will clean the floors and the recliner and try to purge stuff I know she doesn't even know she has. It's a tight rope I walk, her place is never clean--but it has to be hygienic..whether she likes it or not.

Without question his wife notices the smells. Mom's front door opens into their hallway. SIL NEVER goes into mother's place.
Will approach other issues as time allows--getting her outside help, Meals on Wheels, maybe, she loves people coming and going and fussing her. It's brother who stops the "party". (That's a discussion for a whole other forum--they have a very weird and kind of sick dynamic.)
Thanks again!! I hope all this has helped somebody else, besides me!
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....midkid58... besides my two other comments I totally dig ur sense of humor lol.. and your "I'm not gonna give up and leave her to wallo in the stench attitude. Sounds to me your bro needs to get a dose of reality when it comes to the healthier environment for his mom, and I hear ya about his being already edgy about having her there and he's easily angered, but you know him, so approach in a way that he will "actually hear (listen) you. And I totally get your "all other sibs are MIA" .. mine too. (But at least you have the one bro, now if he will only wake up and smell the roses (urine) ;) ... Ive got an idea, tell him unless he gets the old smells out and the vinyl laid and helps (or at least agrees) to hiring in-home cleaning (per week) his own property value is going to drop immensely if he ever goes to sell, reassuring him that if you guys work together and get a handle on the smell now it can be managible. Trying that rout with him, at least it may be worth a shot..I say "those who don't reason with common sense will reason with dollar cents;) .... common sense is what "you are offering and thinking, but he is probably thinking with "animosity because of the living arrangement as is, which makes one "deaf to reason . Anyway, sounds to me like you're going in with guns blazing ... I totally wish you good luck, and better smells ahead.
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You need a cleaning service to come in. Practically the only thing that gets urine (and other bad odors) is bleach. It sounds like this woman needs a facility, but I am not the person dictating that...just a thought.
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Sounds like carpet removal is the answer to solve mold and health issues. Hoarders present a whole other world of dealing with their stuff and space. It's stuff to us but something more important to them with lots of deep emotional issues. Been there - doing that. I also understand how daunting it can be to replace a carpet in a home with so much stuff that needs to be either gotten rid of or moved temporarily to allow carpet removal and installation. Perhaps think storage rental for a month or so while the all the work is being done. Your mom may even have to move out for the same amount of time in order to facilitate all your efforts. Good luck!
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I understand how daunting it can be to replace a carpet in a home with so much stuff that needs to be either gotten rid of or moved temporarily to allow removal and installation. Thinking storage rental for a month or two while the work is being done. Hoarders present a whole other world of dealing with stuff and space. Your mom may even have to move out for a week in order to facilitate all your efforts.
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WOW.
I opened a can of worms here.....
Yes, you are all so right--I can tell cyber friends all the gross nitty gritty, but when it comes to facing mother and brother, I quake in my tiny boots!

Brother has a temper--and I am more than aware I need to tip toe around that--LOTS of praise and gratitude for the work he does for Mother and the care he gives her. He really wishes he had not moved the folks in with him, but, well, the rest of us didn't get to weigh in on that decision, so he is living with it.

I am going up to clean this week. Minimally I will clean carpet and show brother the gunk I pull out. The aerosols are all going. I have ordered 2 diffusers from Amazon and my daughter is giving me some essential oils (lemon and one that simply eliminates ALL weird odors). The birdcage WILL be power washed (man, I hate those birds)...I will replace the bathroom garbage can with something else and make sure the liners are there for her. I will man up and have a talk with her about either getting more cath bags or letting me clean the ones she has better. (yuck)
Mother is NOT dotty--she had a hissy fit a year or so ago when I took all her rugs out--she is a HUGE fall risk and cannot have rugs anywhere. AS I stated, she cannot lift her feet. When I tried to purge and clean, even though I did it over several days, she ended up "dumpster diving" one night, brother thought he had a raccoon in the trash--nope, it was mother, practically falling in this huge bin to reclaim some treasure. Now I will take her trash back to my house.

I'm fully aware of the damage that has been done to the subfloors. My daughter moved from her condo with her (stupid) pet Pomeranian and that dog had peed all over the place. Some subfloor we just replaced, the rest I painted with KILZ. 4 gallons of the stuff. No smell or spots left.

Mom's bed seems OK. Brother changes it frequently.

I appreciate the comments--even the ones I KNOW I can't implement. Mother needs to "own" this problem, she's not incompetent, she's just old and tired. I don't want to steamroll her, and I won't. I WILL however, put as many of the ideas to use that I possibly can. Be aware, dear friends, that although I have 4 living sibs, only my brother and I care for mother. The other 3 are MIA. Only seen when drama occurs and not invested in the day to day.

Realizing I can only so much and no more, I will do what I can and let it be. I think it's time for mother to have in home care--bathing and light cleaning. I truly WISH we could just put down vinyl in her whole place (and then of she ever does pass, brother can put the wood floor down that he wants. Mother has actually been saving money for the vinyl!!!!) It would reduce the smell and make cleaning SO much easier, not to mention that we could actually get all her stuff out of the apt and some of the "hoard" can get lost in the shuffle.

I'm overwhelmed with the responses--thanks so much. I DO need to grow up and not be scared, Mother has told me to go to He$$ a few times before and it just grants me a couple weeks off. I imagine this may happen again :)
Wish me luck--I'm going to need it.
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my husband had the same problem with leakage. There were many times in bed, tossing and turning, the bag latch would come open. We had the best luck with bags that had a slide closure that went side to side, not the up and down kind or any of the others. All the others failed at some point, the side to side closure made a 99% difference. NO more accidents of that kind. Good luck
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Get rid of the carpeting and pads, chair and other furniture switch to vinyl. The mold odor adds too and causes respiratory illnesses.
Get in/outdoor squares with rubber backing. U can see the spots, take up the square and hose it outside with cleaner. vinegar.... Try to share the cost of carpet squares. If can't replace carpet at least get it steam cleaned each month ($99) 3 rooms. Someone take her OUT somewhere while things are being done. BAKI NG SODA and LOTS of it helps. The nursing homes and drug stores also have products for this. Call them.
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With the bird cages not being properly cleaned, mom not properly handling her catheter, mom not properly handling her laundry....I'd invest my focus on getting her the proper care to help with these things. Health overrides over issues. Once, that's done, the cleaning issue may be more manageable.
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Be sensitive to how you treat her pet cockatiels. These are her friends and family --- since your siblings do not visit, your Mom is getting her company any way she can. Birds do not stink. But cages that are not cleaned properly may.
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For clothing smells...use vinegar. I rinse the clothing first, then soak in vinegar water. Rinse and throw into the wash and wash on longest time. Another suggestion, after Mom does her wash, wipe down the washer with a bleach wipe. Leave the top up to let the tub air. I do recommend getting rid of the carpet. Not so much because of the smell but it's a health hazard. Replace with linoleum or Pergo. If Mom still wants a rug, buy a large area rug, lets say 6 x 9, and put a no slip pad underneath. When it can't be cleaned anymore, throw out and buy another one. Price range is $50 to $100. We did this in our family room where the kids spent most of their time. When Mom came to live with us, it was made up as a room for her. When she had her accident, we just rolled it up, bagged it and thru it away. Went out and bought another one. I agree in the approach to your brother. You also need to back up any suggested with offering to pay unless your Mom has the money. My Mom has been pretty "easy" in her travel thru Dememtia. Yes, I was told she didn't need to go to the bathroom or wash. But I told her she stank. I then had no problem with her doing what I needed her to do. With Dementia, there is really no reasoning with them. I hate it when the aides tell her they are showering her or taking her to the toilet. First thing out of her mouth is, no. I told them don't tell her, just say "come on" and take her.
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Any suggestions on how to talk to brother and also the mom...
1)Brother, whose home her apartment is in, refuses to replace the flooring with hardwood, so she has mostly carpet.
2) It's a slippery slope, talking to my brother. He is frustrated with mother, but also VERY sensitive to anything approaching criticism of his care of her.
3) Mother does her own laundry. I do not know how to gently approach the situation of her clothes smelling. ...any suggestions about any change just upset her. We're NOT close enough that I can tell her she smells bad. That her place stinks. That the birds are a health hazard.
4) I'm not POA, DPOA or MPOA .She does not share with me the details of her dr visits.

Again, all the suggestions are temporary fix till MidKid can soften her approach/relationship with her brother who is sensitive, who has POA,MPOA, and DPOA. He needs to feel he is appreciated for what he does do, he needs to know his sister is not trying to take over his care of the mom, he needs to know she is there to support both the mom and her brother...so help with how to help Midkid 58 with these statements from her....

I would do some of the temporary suggestions and then ask the brother,gently.."I appreciate all you do for mom, how can i help you with her care?" then let him talk....as you gain his respect and trust, then it might be a better time to suggest the maybe we could replace the carpet

As to talking to the mom about her clothes, i was not good at this with my dad. Any help on this....?
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Midkid58... I'm going to add a few things to my first comment to you. First of all, I probably don't have to tell you how unhealthy the amount of air freshners you say she has can be.... in those amounts they can be unhealthy for anyone let alone an aging individual with an immune system that is (according to you) most often being compromised by urinary infections. I get it, you're trying to reach out for suggestions here, but again, straight talk and then action should be exercised.   How bout the birds (her 2 cockatiels) ::: not only is bird bacteria etc very dangerous for anyone, again even more-so to an elderly person who's already compromised. ... not to mention the actual cruelty to the birds forced to live in their own filth. You say you're not close enough to tell her she smells, well you are telling the world here and you won't tell her ... then perhaps begin telling her that her own urin can make both her and others sick ..  (because I highly doubt she is using any cross contamination prevention methods such as washing hands often, or washing much of anything using cleaning products containing bleach)... She and others around her  need to know There are pathogens that live in urin, bacteria, etc... Meaning, cross contamination is highly possible with as much exposure as you're saying there is. Her trash needs to be removed daily, her trash containers need to be lined with plastic bags but first the containers themselves need to be sterilized with a bleach cleaner.. and her washing machine needs a bleach cycle once a week, and any clothing with pee on it should never be allowed to sit anywhere in that house but perhaps a dry bathtub (that can be easily cleaned) until laundry is done. You keep taking about placing wood floors... you think her house stinks now? Well it's my guess the entire subfloors under the carpet are soaked with what Evers going on in that place ... wood is not waterproof !!!! don't put new wood floors down, wood is pourous it will absorb and you will have the same issues you have now but will be far more expensive to replace... which is why I earlier suggested tile. By the way, I agree with you, that She already knows she stinks, problem is she's also trying to cover it rather than simply change her hygiene, change her house cleaning and change her proper trash disposal practices to change it. If I were you, I'd swallow any fear you have and tell her very firmly "if someone comes by or comes in and smells this place, we could be in some serious trouble here"... perhaps that will get her thinking differently, if not, then tell the ones who ""are"" in the position to direct her i.e.; her POA, etc ...doesn't matter, fact is it has to change.
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Somebody just posted about this on another caregiving site. 1 (0ne) Tablespoon of vanilla added to the wash. She said that is what the Red Cross uses to get the smoke smell out, she used it in her wash to get rid of urine smell. She said it worked! I'm going to try it soon.
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Get her Dreft laundry detergent for baby clothes. Tell her it is gentle on the clothes and leaves no scent that could irritate her skin. She may recognize the name but the truth is she is odor blind and doesn't smell the awful scent anymore. Ever walk into someone's house that had cats and hadn't changed the litter box in awhile? YOU can smell it but they don't. Both my parents are incontinent, mom has dementia and dad had a stroke several years ago and wears a cath but that leaks sometimes and he doesn't wear at night. There are times that the house is quite smelly but daily laundry doings and showers are fundamentals that help a lot. Two years later I have not been forgiven for removing the 35 year old carpet from the kitchen. She hates the linoleum in there so I put an area rug down that had a similar pattern and was more easily replaced.
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..., gonna get straight here for a sec... based on what you've said, it's never gonna change until she goes to an assisted or a new home ..or unless you and yours involved actually make some decisions before someone else does... meaning you start over with no carpets, no wood floors (preferably tile with sealed grout) plastic on all furniture she uses and someone else does her laundry or make sure the detergent she uses actually cleans the clothing. She's letting everyone live in it, smell it??? why? How could one person run a house to the point it smells...  Because you are all afraid of her "reaction? Then take her somewhere and keep her gone until you and others do a fast sweep of the entire living area, hording or not... she may not want you to touch her stuff and she may be difficult to deal with for a while, but I'll tell you what right now, if a county health official enters her space, or anyone in a position that could escalate things, and if they smell it, her life and those around her will change pretty da** fast. So stop trying to cover the situation (air freshness etc) and I'm sorry but you need to change it... tear out carpets and get rid of anything that smells like pee. Then replace what's gone with things able to be cleaned on a regular basis... end of story.
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Mom had an accident on the rug. It was shampooed but the smell lingered. A friend of mine suggested putting a dish of vinegar in her room. Not kidding that within the hour the smell started going away. Leaving it there for a couple of days....No smell. Try a dish in every room she spends time in.
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This is what worked for me: When my father's leaks saturated the couch, there was strong lingering urine smell after he passed, which made sitting on that end of the couch undesirable. I treated the couch by thoroughly spraying it with the enzyme pet urine remover AND covering the area with plastic bags as sheeting. After 24-36 hours I removed the sheeting and let the area finish drying. The first treatment reduced the smell significantly. (The enzymes need time to reach the source of the odors and time to eat the whatevers!) I repeated this time spraying more heavily so that the fabric was wet. Again covered with plastic sheeting (split garbage bags) tucked in tightly. I now sit on the couch, odor free. Be sure to "test" for lingering smell by applying the warmth of your hand to an area. There's nothing like a little heat to cause any odor to rise up and make itself known. And until the source, pets or people, has been resolved, it's an ongoing battle. Good luck!
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There have been several posts saying to use essential oils in a diffuser...but, no one said which oils to use! I have a diffuser, but have no idea which oil to use for the urine smell! My Mom (with dementia) has declined greatly in just the last two weeks. She has forgotten that she wears pads! :~( I'm very blessed to have two brothers who help me with her in visiting her as she is in Assisted Living. Yesterday, my brother told her to go put on a pad because she stinks (she has no sense of smell). She went into the bathroom, stayed about 20 minutes and came back holding a wrapped pad in her hand. At the prompt of my brother asking what it was and whose it was, she said she didn't know what it was, and had no idea of what it was! Needless to say, her room is horrible. She won't drink water and has diarrhea a lot, so naturally, she has UTI's constantly. I guess the smell has gotten so bad just this week because the doctor gave her something for depression, which did nothing but make her sleep...24 hours a day! We couldn't get her up to go eat her meals, so we know she didn't get up to go to the bathroom. We are coming to the realization that she is going to have to have more help than what she is getting. Sorry this has been so long! I'm sure all of you realize that when you finally can talk about it, your whole heart just pours out! Anyway...Essential oil? Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
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Hello MidKid! Sorry to say this but I do not recommend the hardwood floors. Reason being once that odor gets into the wood it will have to be completely sanded and refinished (at great expense). I had a renter that allowed pets to go inside, never letting them outside and had to have the floors refinished as a result. SO if the original flooring under the carpet won't suffice, I would perhaps go with a tile that had the appearance of wood without being porous and inexpensive room sized area rugs with edges taped or tacked down. The recliner should be replaced with one that is able to be wiped down rather than leather or cloth. For odors try trays of baking soda (under chair) and try sprinkling the chair and carpet with baking soda, let set and vacuum it off. If you find a wet spot pour salt on it to soak it up and either vacuum or sweep it up when it fully cakes.
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Midkid58 - Thanks for your detailed posts. I'm glad you have so many of us answering. I have few urinary suggestions, but brother can be sympathized with, and told what the results are, or could be, if nothing is done ( "I am sorry to have to mention this again, but ....Black water rug wash means the underpad is rotten and maybe there's black mold. It could soak into anything below the flooring for permanent damage. I don't know what the best solution is for you, but rotting carpet might be what's causing mom's chronic cough." )
Then let go of the topic. It is his responsibility.

As for the doctors, you are allowed to tell them what you observe. The doc can't tell you anything, but you could write him a letter, and make a copy for your brother. Give it to him after you mail the doc, then inform him of what you did. Good luck. You have a good heart.
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