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Unfortunately, I can not deal with the smell of fecal matter...either human or animal. I start to gag which can lead to vomit. In any case, I am not going to be of any help as a primary caretaker. Can anyone offer a solution to this issue?

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You can place a drop of peppermint or any other scented oil underneath your nose and breathe through your mouth instead of your nose. This is a technique nurses use and it is very effective. While it doesn't always block 100% of the smell, it makes it tolerable. To make it even more effective, place the oil on a surgical face mask.
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Vick's Vapo-Rub works well under the nose as well. It's very powerful and you won't smell anything else.
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Like the Vicks. Me, once Mom was done, I flushed the toilet then cleaned her up.
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Find the stuff that one places under one's nose to mask odors in the morgue.
It is doable with the right tools to mask the smell. Google it:)
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Can you afford to hire help to do it for you?
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cetude Dec 2018
Not a good reply..they would have to be around 24 hours a day and CNA cost about $35 to $40 an hour from an agency. You can't just let them lay in their own feces due to urinary tract infection risk and skin breakdown.
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You answered your own question. You’re not going to be any help as a primary caregiver. Horrible job anyway you look at it. Short-term doable. Long-term destroys your spirit. Best to you; it’s a hard situation to be in.
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I agree it's a very tuff job. We kept my aunt with us as long as we could. Sad part was we took care of her, but she has 4 children hmm see a problem here? My mother will be with me period. Anyway we had to place her in a nursing home, She had amazing care we went every single day to see her, she passed last month and we sure miss our daily visits. Am glad we kept her home as long as we did. Good luck and stay blessed.
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I don't have this problem as a caregiver yet. But perhaps the problem isn't only the odor. For me, just looking at it makes me gag. Don't know how I got thru having babies - maybe the answer is that I was younger, and the loads were quite a lot smaller, and much easier to get at. what to do about that problem as well as the odor?
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Riverdale Dec 2018
I believe we are able to tolerate more from our children and grandchildren. Have 3 young ones and no matter the size I can stomach it
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I totally understand how you feel. I do everything for bedridden hubby but feed him. I’ve often said if I wanted another baby, I would have birthed one. But it didn’t happen to work out that way.

I handle his fecal incontinence by simply holding my breath, breathing through my mouth. I’m assuming you wear rubber gloves? I also turn my mind off. I talk to him about our local sports teams, my job, the neighbors, etc. I use a plastic grocery bag and immediately stuff the briefs and wipes in there. I also use wet paper towels instead of wipes. They’re bigger. Before we know it, the job is finished. The problem with hiring someone is that bowel movements are unpredictable and health aides aren’t on call.

Doing things like this is a distasteful but necessary duty when you’re a caregiver.
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Riverdale Dec 2018
Perhaps you might try baby wipes. They are treated to assure that rashes don't occur. They have a mild scent and are quite durable
At my large discount store i buy packages that come in a set of three. Just a suggestion in the event you haven't tried them
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Get over it. And yours doesn't stink? What are you going to do when they become constipated and impacted? Nothing? they can get impacted as little as 2 days which would require an Emergency Room visit for enemas and possible finger decompaction. Maybe your loved one would be better off in the nursing home. Feces is actually quite dangerous since urinary tract infections can easily occur and skin breakdown as the feceal matter will break down delicate tissues and cause yet another infection, cellulities, and decubitus ulcers.
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Fergie Dec 2018
A little harsh, don't you think?
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I agree with using a mask. Breathing thru my mouth made me feel like I was taking even more of it in. You can put the scent on the mask and see if that works. I had the same problem dealing with vomit, but knew I had to get used to it. The mask helped and eventually I didn't have to use it anymore. Talking about something else, anything else, helps keep your mind focused elsewhere. Or, if you prefer to keep your mouth closed, hum a song (nursery rhymes are good and your patient may even join you!) Ultimately TIME will help; humans can get accustomed to almost anything when it's for a good cause. Blessings.
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Had the same issue. Small, overheated bathroom with no exhaust fan. In the summer, I tried opening the small window a crack. Used a small, battery operated fan. Mom would fuss with the "window being open" as soon as she took notice of it. Would shiver and fuss about it the whole time while I would be trying to get the whole personal care accomplished after her bowel movement (Sweat rolling down my neck and into my eyes and the overpowering smell!). Could not leave the door open because the bathroom is on the first floor with windows all around and a direct view from the outside into the bathroom. (I use the shades up, daylight all around and TV playing to get her up in the morning.) I started using Poo Pourri spray on the surface of the water. Have to get it on there before the BM. The trade off is the scent of the spray, but it does contain the smell. There are recipes for home made spray on the internet, it would be a matter of choosing an essential oil that might be acceptable to you. I used to use a vanilla spray in my MIL room. It seemed to blend with the bitter smell and to make it somewhat less offensive. BTW, there are many, many other aspects of care taking that do not require poop clean up duties. I have found that money or time volunteered solve most problems.
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I suffer from gluten intolerance, and although I try very hard to be gluten-free, some days I have diarrhea anyway. The dietician says a lot of older people develop food intolerances, and I only found out about mine after a colonoscopy revealed "microcolitis." My children know about this, but I still dread the day when I am no longer able to get up and head for the toilet in the early morning hours. It will be a huge mess! There is a company that will analyze stool samples for food intolerances, but Medicare doesn't cover it. They should, apparently inflammation of the gut is an issue with a lot of seniors.
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So...

You either need to alter your (perfectly normal) response to poo.

Or you need not to be the primary caretaker.

The second would seem to be easier to accomplish, because reflex responses take quite some suppressing if they're there.

But I don't want to give you a silly answer to a sensible question. Why might it become necessary for you to have to deal with faeces?
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I have a very active gag reflex, too. And I had 24 2 year olds in a daycare for several years. I could not stop gagging-not about my own kids, but others.
And mucus too-when a two year old sneezes and green slime explodes out of their nose-I just dry heave over and over.
I also worked as a therapist in nursing homes for years. Nursing homes used to smell a lot more than they do now, and I would gag and gag as soon as I walked into the building.

I would put drops of perfume on a Kleenex and put that under my nose.
But I could not clean them up without gagging. So I would look away and just wipe them off (wearing gloves) as fast as possible.

If you don’t want to be a caregiver of your parent, you don’t have to. We are not hostages or prisoners, there are many ways to love your parent.

There are many other things you can do for them-like visiting, playing music, holding their hand, reading to them, walking with them.

I know now it is a concern for you, but if you can’t do it, there are better placements than in your own home.
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Feces with mucous would be the worst as far as looks and smell.
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Put Vicks Vaporub under your nose. This is supposed to take care of it. I only found out about it too late AFTER I had been taking care of my mother. Phew!
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You do what you have to do. There are masks with filters that you can buy at Walgreens... Definitely have a supply of disposable gloves. Depending on the situation, there are installable bidets that can be attached to current toilets.
The elders MUST BE CLEAN. to prevent infection. If you are not able to do this, you must find someone who can. You cannot always do everything.
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Am the same way, I moved back home to help my mom take care of my aunt. We had to shower, dress and on many occasions clean up after her having accidents. I can not handle the smell period. I was left alone for 2 weeks to allow my mom to go on vacation to Texas to visit her bff , I was happy to do this for her. Well on one day my aunt pooped in her pants and it was all over the bathroom floor OMG what do I do now I lost it I was yelling and upset but had to clean up everything. I held my breath and sprayed bleach to cover the smell, then had to get her in the shower which was an ordeal as it was not shower day and I was not setup like we usually were. Not sure how I did it but I did. All I can say is to wear a super good mask so you can't smell it. I know it's hard that's the only thing that I truly couldn't do but had to on that day. Good luck and seriously try a store like military type that sell gas mask lol that will work for sure, your mom may think your crazy but got to do what we have to.
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I'm the same way. I put an Altoid or other strong mint or hard candy in my mouth to fill my nasal passages with a pleasant smell, then I would mouth breathe with a disposable face mask on (that covers the mouth and nose), while I cleaned mom up. It really works. Wishing you the best.
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