How do I introduce my 87 year old mother to adult diapers?

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My mother has started having incontinence problems and I'm thinking I need to introduce her to adult diapers. How do I do that? Mother is 87 years old and is living in AL. Her dementia has progressed this past year and I'm afraid that she just doesn't remember to "go" until it is too late. She understands that she needs to change her soiled or wet underpants, but she just refuses to use her pads or Depends that we've left out for her. Do you have any suggestions?

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Ok... not to be funny but my MIL used to wear girdles. In earlier days my husband would tell his mother not to go to the airport as it might set off all kinds of alarms through airport security!
We had to take away all of the girdles and replace the girdle drawer with the depends. We call them pull ups. We also have them in the bathroom drawer as well. In time, she forgot she even wore girdles. The depends which don't have tape tabs are much easier for someone who is ambulatory versus someone in bed. Sometimes at this stage, a person may need to reminded to wash hands as well.
Encourage her by saying you are not the only one who this happens to. It will keep her from leaking out in public.
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You don't need our forgiveness, mgcarter. You can call them whatever you want. We were just giving you advice (as you requested) about helping your mother accept this. I'm glad to hear that you don't call them diapers to your mother. But we didn't know that when we gave the advice.
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May I say something in my own defense? I would never call them diapers in front of my mother. I call them underpants. . .I just didn't know how to word the subject line and used the wrong term. Am I forgiven for using the incorrect terminology?
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It's a very difficult transition for our elderly loved ones. I agree with not saying the word 'diaper'. I never said the word 'diaper' with my dad.

Also with my dad he had to be shown time and again that Depends were necessary and unfortunately he had to go through several humiliating situations to get to the point where he would wear one. And I didn't stand over him waggling my finger and screeching, "I told you so!" I would let the dust settle and then ask him again if he would consider wearing an "undergarment" instead of boxers. I would talk about how much more hygienic they were, how easier they were when he had an accident, and how practical they were if he did have an accident. We just throw them away and put on a new one!

Finally my dad agreed and I know it was a little death for him. Our next issue popped up when I realized that he was hoarding soiled Depends to save money. But that's a whole other post.....
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As Jeanne mentioned, when my MIL lived with us and we had to switch over to the Depends, we never referred to them as diapers for the obvious reasons. What seemed to work with my MIL was I told her that her "new undies" helped prevent infections and that urinary tract infections could be quite serious. I had to reinforce this day in and day out with the dementia, but it made sense to her and she did not want an infection or to be in the hospital.

Also, I told her that so many people wear them now. Even friends of hers who were quite active had told me they did and this made her feel better and not "different". She was ever the proper lady, pearls and all every day, so these new undies were an adjustment. She did have a sense of humor though, so this helped and we used humor whenever we could; it truly helps. Hope your mother can adjust well. Take care.
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First, don't ever call them diapers in front of her. They are disposable undies or special undies.

Next, alizee is right about not giving a choice. All the undies in the drawer are special, or all the panties have a pad attached when they are put in the drawer.

Also, realize that this is not a matter of remembering to go ... the brain really isn't receiving signals of the need in enough time for a slow-moving body to reach the bathroom. This was extremely frustrating for my husband. When his day program did some remodeling he was really worried there might not be enough bathrooms close enough to every activity station. He was relieved to see they'd even added some! The inability to get to a bathroom in time is distressing and not the person's fault.

Make sure she doesn't think you consider this her fault and that you are not treating her like a baby (no "diapers") but this is just a sensible precaution since her body is not playing fair with her.
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If you type "my mil refuses to wear depends" in the search box you will see that many people asked this question- including me about a year ago- and there's lots of good answers. In the ALF that my 90 yr. old mil lives in, the staff removes all cloth underwear and stock the drawers with depends. They do this with the permission of family (they called us) for residents who have multiple accidents and are resistant to wearing depends. They simply give them no choice in the matter because the resident who has dementia cannot make good choices. The staff and I have spoken to her about this situation, but mil insists she "knows her body" and can decide for herself whether or not to wear depends, plus depends make her "look fat". Yeah, right--we're talking about a 110 lb. woman here! When she has to "go" (and I'm talking fecal incontinence) she has to move fast, and she can't. She has had accidents in public places. My mil must wear depends on all outings and the staff checks that she does. When I bring her to our home, I check. In the case of mil, her meds were tweaked a bit and her dr. told her to lay off the icecream and go easy on dairy, and this helped somewhat. They have not confiscated her underwear yet, but it remains an option should the situation worsen. I should add that when mil has an accident in her room, she does her best to clean it up herself, and hand washes her own undies. This is a difficult situation, and I hope you can find the right solution.
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