My mom with dementia won't clean/wipe herself after a BM. Advice? - AgingCare.com

My mom with dementia won't clean/wipe herself after a BM. Advice?

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I'm at my wit's end...They way I figured it out (besides the fact that she is stinky a lot) was that she wasn't wiping post BMs because she never flushes and there is no TP in there. Hoping for some good ideas on how to deal with this. First let me start by telling you what I have already tried: I put those flushable wet wipes next to the toilet....they never get used...even when I put a note near the toilet to USE AFTER BMs. I stand by the door if I hear her go in there and gently remind her to "wipe after you go," to which she gets furious..."why are you hovering over the door...I'm not 2 years old....of COURSE I'm going to wipe!!!" Then I realize that no she did NOT wipe. She will adamantly insist that she did but I see no evidence of that AND I'm starting to find her undies all messy. She will hide them under her bed!!!! I have started making her wear Depends (that was NO easy task) but she finally is resigned to that. I make her take baths more often (which she also hates to do) but it's hard to know if she is really even getting herself clean down there. She will not let me do anything other than run the bath and then she insists I leave (frankly I do not want to stay in there anyway!) She does get in the tub and she does soak for a long time so I'm hoping this is enough to keep her clean. I'm open to any opinions on if you think what I'm doing is fine enough or ??? TIA.

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Watch out for the way they wipe after a BM though. For some totally inexplicable reason Mum started to wipe from back to front rather than from front to back and I could not understand for ages why she had 3 UTIs in a month - then when I took her for a shower I noticed that she did this and so I now do it for her. Very matter of fact but initially I said the doctor said I need to wash and use barrier cream after you poop Mum just to stop any infections. So I do wash her and cream her after she has a poop and all is well. Do I go through a lot of barrier cream? Yep but its better than the alternative (usually)
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Yes, on second thought - I know she won't use it on her own; it will just hang there. She will not let me do it, either. And cold? Jeesh even I wouldn't want to spray cold water on myself. Well, I found these wipes that are larger than normal baby wipes. I put them right next to the toilet. While I know she will not just go ahead and use them on her own, what I am doing is when I see her go in the bathroom, stand by the door and when I think it's just the right time I'll say, "use those wipes in the blue box." I've been telling her the "doctor" told her she had to use them before her "appointment" -- I think she's more likely to use them if it's not ME telling her to do so. By the way, she will be having an "appointment" 3 times a day if necessary! There's one way memory loss actually comes in handy!

Just started doing this....I hope it works!
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A sprayer may indeed be worth trying. Would your mother let you help her with it? If she won't remember to use toilet paper she is not going to remember this new-fangled thing. And keep in mind the water is cold. (My mother hollers bloody murder that the wipes the aides use in the nursing home are "too cold".)

If you do try it (or anything you try, really) let us now the outcome. Yours is a very common problem.
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Thanks to everyone who commented. I got a lot of good ideas/advice, especially the hand bidet. I know an automatic one would be a disaster, but I think I'll try the hand bidet.
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Amen Sunnygirl1!
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People with dementia can become incontinent rapidly. My cousin became double incontinent is a very short time period. Cleaning them or cleaning patients who don't wipe properly has to be a priority. You are passed the embarrassment stage. You don't have the luxury of waiting to see what happens or hoping things get better. If you are the one in charge, you have to take actions immediately to protect their health.

I don't see how a bidet would help, since it would only put water on the situation and wouldn't promise to clean it. She would then have a wet environment that would be ripe for fungus and bacterial growth.

If you can't jump in and take charge, you might contact an outside agency to help, but they would have to be available around the clock or teach you how to do it when they are not at home. You can't allow the patient to refuse to be cleaned when they are not competent to make that decision.

When people are not able to be cared for in their own home, placement should be considered as an option. Most people in Memory Care facilities are incontinent and the staff handle it quite well without much resistance. I wish you the best of luck.
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Laughs are free!

New toileting issues are so difficult not just for the hygiene factor. It's such an obvious indicator things are not right. You can't ignore incontinence or someone of any age who previously did this for themselves but now can't. It's quite a rude event. It's very "real". Nobody gets a video in health class during high school on how to handle this. There is a safe way to do it, and an unsafe way.

Nobody teaches us what the signs are to ask for more help, or to change how things are being done. We wait until it's totally unmanageable and things are a mess (literally) to even contemplate asking for help.

Several years ago - before I had to deal with any of my mom issues - my MIL became gravely ill from multiple myeloma. She had been in the hospital, in another state far away. My husband went down to see about her and the hospital discharged her to his care. We had no idea you can or should refuse that.

He ended up taking her back to her house and discovered he had a 24/7 skilled nursing situation on his hands. His sister was there for a few days - she's a nurse - which really helped. She had run out of time off and had to fly back for work, leaving him all alone.

It took no time for this situation to devolve into a holy nightmare. The woman became 100% incontinent. My husband had to figure out what to do on his own. It was shocking, alarming, awkward, uncomfortable, weird, gross....you name it. Every time she tried to stand up, poop everywhere. Who is prepared for that?

He had only ever changed our babies, not a fully grown woman who was definitely a 2-person assist. Neither one of us knew that she should have been in a nursing home. Those are for old people, right? He fought the good fight around the clock for almost 2 weeks. He ran out of time off too, and out of sheer desperation called his aunts to come down. There was no way this woman could be left alone for a moment she was so ill.

There was nobody there to say "honey, put her in a care facility!", or to explain how you even do that. The discharge people at the hospital never mentioned one thing about that as an option, even when he explained that he lived out of state and she lived alone.

It was heartbreaking and she ended up passing not too long after that. The person taking care of her at the time was completely incapable and refused assistance from hospice or anyone. That story is a whole other soap opera though....
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Sandwich - a poop soak? Lol, thanks for my first giggle of the day! I mean, I know this actually isn't a humorous topic but sometimes you just gotta laugh.
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She is not getting clean simply by sitting in a tub of fecal matter contaminated water. Don't be fooled into thinking this gets her clean. Not even with soap.
Would you feel clean after a poop soak? I wouldn't. This can infect any open cuts, scrapes, sores on other parts of her body.

I strongly suggest getting an in-home personal attendant to come do showers on her 2-3 times a week. If you have to bathe her, just focus on the really smelly parts: pits, privates, feet. Skin cleanliness is the first step in maintaining skin integrity.

She *will* develop open sores from exposure to urine and feces. And then you really will have a fight on your hands over bathing and changing because it hurts.

This is also one factor in determining if someone needs 24/7 supervision. If they are beyond toileting themselves properly, then in a care center, they will be put in disposables and changed by staff every two-three hours to avoid open sores.

If you are willing to take this on, watch some of the tutorials on youtube for safety precautions when working with someone lying on a bed so you don't strain your back, neck, & shoulders. Especially if they can't roll from side to side for you.
My mom is totally incapacitated and it takes two people to change her, and use of the draw sheet to move her up/down/side to side.

If she won't cooperate for you, she may behave for a "professional" dressed in medical clothes (scrubs). This is really common. My mom thought everybody in scrubs was a nurse.

Good luck out there!
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As with other key moments in life, maybe the first time is always going to be branded on our memories. My great aunt, aged 96, had been an awfully long time in the bathroom and we were waiting for her before going out for lunch. I knocked timidly at the door, heard her say "I'm a bit stuck," poked my head into the room and saw that she'd got her trousers twisted round and couldn't pull them up. I was a frozen rabbit for a full five seconds, but there was nothing for it - I said oh dear, went over to her, adjusted the trousers, and off we all went.

Laying hands on my elderly relative was not a thing I had ever imagined I would need to do and I will never forget the initial panic I felt. Thank God she had the presence of mind to speak up rather than struggle on and fall. Thank God she was a cheerful, laid-back woman who never made dramas out of crises. We should all have someone like her to practise on.
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