Mom is in assisted living with dementia. We have a bad incontinence issue. Any ideas?

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She is 81, poor mobility (very slow) so she can't make it to the bathroom in time. She uses all the necessary products. How can you tell if they are being "lazy" (as stated by a DCW at her facility) or if she really can't sense if she has to go, and then can't make it in time. Medication is not an option because it worsens the dementia. Any ideas or suggestions? Any help would be appreciated.

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Top Answer
People don't soil themselves because they are "lazy", it just. doesn't. happen. Perhaps your mother needs to be somewhere that there is a higher level of care?
I would ask if a portable commode can be placed next to her bedside. The bed can be changed around so commode can be between bed and a wall. I use pull ups with my mother. In the daytime, she has on pj bottoms but not at night to keep urine off as much skin as possible. As far as the dementia have her listen to music of her era or church whatever is her preference. I did this with my Mother and it wakes them up inside. Saw a video
"Alive Inside" on Youtube... brings tears to your eyes, but its good to see.
My dad started having more incontinence issues when he moved to memory care. I think part of the reason is dementia and that he is slow moving .. but the other part is that he is farther away from his bathroom then he would have been in a regular home environment. By the time he gets there its too late. Or.. they would have activities that would keep him in one place for a while so he would hold it till too late.

Ideally, they would take them to the bathroom on a schedule to help alleviate some of the issues.. and they did that for a while with my Dad... but I don't see them doing this on a regular basis. I would think keeping him continent as long as possible would make him much easier to care for .... and preserve his dignity.

When I go visit I always prompt him to go to the bathroom to avoid any accidents while I am there at least.. which would really embarrass him.

Most residents wear depends even if they know to go to the bathroom because it does take them a while to get there ... and most are somewhat slow moving.
helpmom12, as we age this does become an issue that is totally out of our control.

For myself, if I sit in front of the computer without taking a break, when I stand up all the sudden I need to make a mad dash to the bathroom. Now, many elders can no longer do that mad dash so there will be bathroom accidents. Again, no fault of their own.

My Dad had mobility issues, and he had refused to wear Depend type garments. Until Mom decided to hand him the spray cleaner and paper towels to clean up the mess. Before I knew it, Mom had Depends type garments on her shopping list for Dad.
Often timest the urge comes on suddenly for both pee and poop and there is no way of stopping the avalanche.
Agree Mom needs a higher level of care and regular visits to the bathroom.
If your mom will wear maxi-pads, I'm a firm believer in them. We had started Mom wearing Depends but she wanted her own underwear, plus I had to take off her pants and the soiled Depends a couple times a day. With a blinding flash of inspiration I switched to the maxi-pads. They're cheaper, effective (they hold A LOT of urine), she can wear her own underwear, and easy to remove and replace.
Maxi pads usually refers to menstrual products, I'm sure you mean the ones designed for incontinence MountainMoose? I think they are great for the early stages of urinary incontinence, but fecal incontinence is a whole 'nother thing.
cwillie: Yes, I use the thick pads for urine (can't recall the name off the top of my cold-addled brain). Thankfully, Mom doesn't yet have a problem with feces, only urine. I feel for caregivers who have that to deal with.

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