Mom wears depends but she started ripping them apart. She rips everything apart. How can we stop this?

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If you ever tried to clean up a ripped up wet depends you know how bad it is. Does anyone have an idea how to stop this? She flushes the toilet but doesn't use it. She takes toilet paper, napkins, Kleenex and even empty toilet paper rolls and puts them down her pants. She is driving me crazy! any suggestions?

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Unfortunately, this is not unusual for people with dementia. If she hasn't been diagnosed, she needs to see a doctor. Skin picking, tissue ripping and yes, tearing at her briefs, could be a sign of anxiety and/or frustration, both of which are part of many types of dementia. Her other behaviors are variations of "normal" for the disease, as well.

I'd have a chat with her doctor about this because her behavior seems to indicate that she is very anxious. He or she may say that this is just part of the disease and not much can be done, but there's a chance that a medication adjustment may help.

Good luck with this. If nothing improves, you may want to consider either in-home help or assisted living/nursing home options. You, understandably, sound like you are hitting your limit, which, too, is normal.

Take care,
Carol
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We started putting regular underwear over dad's depends. Helped the depend fit better too because it kept it close to the body.
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OMG, my mother is not yet on depends but she is constantly taking reams of tissue paper, kleenex, etc and stuffing them in her underwear. I buy about 9 rolls of toilet paper every two weeks. In any event, I put pantyliners or sometimes a kotex in her underwear and this has worked but she rips at it if it feels uncomfortable in her underwear. I see my mother as being very sensitive now to anything against her skin. Nevertheless with the panty liner she still insists on putting tissue in her underwear. It is driving me crazy, I find tissues everywhere and have to vacuum very often to pick up the bits from tissues. It looks like it is snowing when we undress her, she has tissues spewing forth from her pants, tops, etc. Arggh, thanks for letting me vent, I don't have a solution.
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My daughter had the same problem with her young son so she found clothes that kept him from getting at his diaper.
Try this google, silverts
"Women's Special Needs One Piece Jumpsuits can help solve Alzheimer's disrobing problems. They feature a strong weave and long heavy duty back zipper to provide even more protection against disrobing. Ties at the back of the neck are secured through a ring-tab which ensures that the wearer is unable to disrobe. The zipper has a protective plaquet to protect the back. The dolman sleeves and elasticized waist ensure fit and comfort. Anti-Strip suits are available in daywear and nightwear."
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Similar to the expert's answer, our family has found this type of misbehavior (ripping, tearing, shredding) is typically connected to anxiety, frustration, etc. When we relocated my mother-in-law from another part of the country four years ago (after a two-month "trial run" a few months earlier to assess her), she came to live with us (her son/my husband and our three sons). She was diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer's disease, severe depression and a host of physical health issues. At 79 years of age, Mom experienced some bladder leakage, but was still aware enough to change her regular panties and clothes when an "accident" occurred. As the Alzheimer's progressed and accidents spilled over to the floor, furniture and vehicles, bladder control issues became an "opportunity" to require a higher level of protection. We were confident Depends would be so helpful - until Mom began shredding them (wet or dry, soiled or clean, worn or unused)! Although we frequently entered her bathroom and bedroom and caught her shredding Depends (with tiny, absorbent beads and lining in her hand), she absolutely denied shredding them. We tried using different phrases with her and then tried sanitary napkins, but that wasn't successful, with her ripping the napkins out within minutes. Because she still understood written instructions to a certain degree, we posted multiple, easy-to-see signs in her bathroom and bedroom, as well as at adult daycare, instructing her not to shred, but this didn't help either. Once Mom began shredding, she literally couldn't stop - a lot probably tied to her obsessive-compulsive disorder in light of other misbehaviors we've observed over the years. She actually pre-shredded Depends, getting them ready ahead of time and refolding them, neatly tucking them back in her bathroom or bedroom drawer to be used later. After months of constantly cleaning up these messes, trying to live in the midst of this and seeking help from every imaginable resource, I was grateful for two bits of "help" with our ordeal since most everyone never heard of this! The first suggestion was to have a dietician thoroughly assess Mom's diet and make necessary changes; the dietician worked on two similar cases with good success. The other suggestion was for Mom to stop using Depends and begin wearing HealthDri absorbent underwear that come in mild, moderate and super absorbency - super holds almost a cup of liquid. HealthDri underwear are very durable, have a varied selection and can be washed up to 200-250 times. They can be found on the Web, as well as at local medical supply businesses. Initially, I bleached the life out of our first order of Mom's HealthDri underwear, so they wore down quicker than they should! Since then, I've adjusted how to care for them and they hold up very nicely now, all things considered. A primary factor with Mom's success in adjusting to these underwear was that she had no other choices. We removed ALL regular panties, Depends and pantyhose - even when she "borrowed" some from another lady at adult daycare (in the bathroom where extra clothes were located in a chest of drawers for each participant). When Mom refused to wear her new HealthDri underwear, we calmly, politely told her that was okay, but she would be the one without underwear, not us. She was upset for a day or two, but has settled in to wearing them, usually without comment or complaint, for the past two years. Ideally, it would be helpful if she would wear a Depends and then a larger HealthDri underwear over that, so the Depends could be torn away once it is wet/soiled, leaving the HealthDri underwear. If she lingers further and/or incontinence worsens, the time will come when Depends are used again and she will probably be unable to shred them. Her geriatric psychiatrist changed her meds over the past couple years and that has left her calmer, more compliant, etc. We encourage you to pursue information resources, as tiring and challenging as it is, until you find what works for your loved one on this journey!
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I just have to add this ... My mom asked me yesterday whether I toss out her Depends or wash them every night and put them in the dryer! Just last week, my dear friend Debbie, who cares visits an elderly lady with dementia, told me that every Wednesday she enters the lady's house equipped with a black plastic bag to pick the washed Depends that are hung up to dry all over the house -- on chairs, lamps, faucets! She has to do it when the lady isn't looking or she'll get "a talkin' to!" (BTW, I just bought the CVS brand instead of Depends and they seem softer and less bulky. Mom is complaining less!)
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I have to say that my husband has been stuffing tissues or toilet tissue in his underwear for the last two years. I have tried to get him to wear Depends but he refuses. Says he doesn't need them. Even though I frequently find yellow or brown streaked underwear laying around! How can I get him to start using Depends. He says he isn't wearing diapers!
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My mom rips her Depends too when she's sitting on the toilet and I've finally figured out it's because she thinks that's how you get them off. She has forgotton how to pull them over her feet. Also, for years before her dementia set in, she started using pads with the Depends because of her leaky bladder. Nowadays, with the mid-to-late stage dementia that she has, she insists on using two pads with the Depends and then she is constantly changing them out, even when they are not wet. She always thinks they're wet. So now we ration out the pads and the Depends. Gotta keep an eye on her when she's on the toilet, though, to make sure she doesn't start ripping them apart.
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LindaLee5, I was wondering if anyone had tried cloth incontinence supplies. My husband preferred them when the problem was just "leakage". (He didn't have shredding behavior, though.)

Has anyone tried giving them something else to shred? I get a gazillion magazines in the mail, and it would be easy to supply a "shredder" with a job. "Mom, I need to recycle this material, but it needs to be torn to bits first, could you help me?" I don't know if that would make it any easier to make the Depends off-limits.

If this behavior is anxiety-related, the best solution would be to reduce the anxiety -- that is obvious, but HOW to do it isn't so obvious. Something to talk to the doctor about, to see if medication adjustment might be called for.
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I gave up, I don't bother with the pantyliners anymore, I just buy loads of toilet paper, the pantyliners get to be expensive, well more than the toilet paper when you work it out.
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