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!!
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.
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.
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)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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....?
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.