My Mother has Alzheimer's and it's so hard not to vomit when I have to clean her and her poop. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

My Mother has Alzheimer's and it's so hard not to vomit when I have to clean her and her poop. Any advice?

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I took care of my mother and this was a big hurdle for me as well. I did get over it as she was embarrassed and so was I! I took on the job of caring for my mother until she passed away. There were many hurdles and this was a big one! The bible says "once a man and twice a child," so I reminded myself that she was on her way to dying and I chose to care for her! Although it was not a pleasant job, cleaning her up, it was even worse when she became at one point "impacted" and the nurse had to "depact" her which was very painful. I began giving her the daily laxative to keep her going. This was only a couple of hurdles. There were many throughout my caregiving experience. This reply is to give you encouragement. Caregiving is not a nice, clean job. It is hard and sometimes messy! Like life! But be encouraged, taking care of my Mom until she died was an accomplishment that I will be forever grateful for. It made me into a better, more understanding and patient person. Caregiving doesn't last forever but it seems like it will, when
you are in the process. You will get over the cleaning her up hurdle and there will be more hurdles to jump, I promise, but God Bless you for loving service to your Mom.
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I used a little electric fan to blow the smell away from me. I put vicks vaporrub under my nose. I learned a lot from watching various aides change her diaper, and learned techniques for wrapping it into the diaper so it got covered up right away. I put it directly into a plastic handle-bag and tied it up immediately, so the smell was gone while I was doing the rest of her cleaning-up. Truthfully it was easier once she was bedridden, than it had been all those years bending and contorting myself to help her over toilets and then the bedside commode. I had to learn the nursing technique of rolling the drawsheet with the diaper in it, then tucking it under the old rolled drawsheet, then rolling her towards me and pulling out the old one and unrolling the new one at the same time on the other side. Oh yes, the Low Air Loss bed was awesomely wonderful too! It is so easy to clean and the drawsheet slides under so easily. Having the right bed made a world of difference, and saved my back. I remember walking into a barn and gagging, while my sister beside me said, "Ahhh, Horses! Horse Manure! I LOVE the smell of a barn because it means horses!" So try to consciously switch your thinking, as you approach each diaper change, from "it's so gross" to "Let's get you all cleaned up and smelling sweet again!" and then you put on a demeanor of matter-of-fact efficient impassive nurse. One more idea -- if it's really gaggy then there might be something wrong. Of course feces stinks, but it is only really terrible when it has been in there too long, or if there is infection or lack of probiotics. See if she will eat more applesauce and fruit cups. See if you can slip some probiotics into her yogurt or pudding. (You can open the capsules.) Alfalfa pills can be powdered into pudding. They really help sweeten everybody up, inside. Bless you for taking this on. It will get, not "easier" but more routine, as you gain mastery, you'll be proud of your efficiency.
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I sympathize. There are light face masks available at the pharmacy. Try saturating a Kleenex with perfume or Vicks or Mentholatum and see how that works. Might help.
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Katie222, I approached cleaning my father up exactly the same way. I'm also a nurse that must do this as part of my job and I can assure you, patients are so grateful to be cleaned up. It's such an embarrassing thing for them and my heart always goes out to them. I put myself in their position; how would I feel? Just remember to validate their feelings. Try not to say it's no big deal because it is for them. Just say you understand, but their skin had to stay clean or they could get terrible sores. It doesn't take long.
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If she is able to get onto a shower chair or stand in the shower, you can let the water do most of your work, then use soap and washcloth. Sure beats doing the whole process by hand.
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Maggie, we just had a huge conversation about being grossed-out last month. I think it would help you to read that information in the past discussion forum. It's really hard, we are not all cut out for caregiving, but it is thrown on our laps whether we want to do it or not. What you're feelin is very common! Can your mother afford a helper to come help?
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I have done in-home care, worked at an adult day health center, and a skilled nursing facility- each where I had to help people with toileting. It was strange, but most of the time it wouldn't faze me at all--and sometimes, every once in a while, I'd get really grossed out. No clue as to why. One of the tricks my mom (veteran RN) taught me was to press my tongue to the roof of my mouth and breath through my mouth instead of my nose. I also chewed gum a lot, and would push the gum to the roof of my mouth and breathe through my mouth.
Most of the time at the skilled nursing facility, I was so busy that helping clean someone up was just another task to get through and get 'er done so I could move on to the next 20 things I needed to be doing at that minute.
Another thing I did was to constantly remind myself that I was honoring these people by helping keep them clean, smelling nice, and healthy--just like I would want for myself. It is an honor for someone to allow you to help them with something so intimate. And by letting them know that I was happy to help them, made them feel better in letting me help them with so intimate a task. I tried putting myself in their "shoes," so to speak, and thinking of how I would like to be treated if I needed someone to wipe me. Sometimes I would get very emotional while helping someone! There were several very special moments I shared with the people I was taking care of.
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It is hard to always know how to handle each step of care giving in the most acceptable way to all concerned. Hopefully this may help to care for the mother with Alzheimers and the feces cleanups. Some times it is good to talk positive to one's self, WHILE PERFORMING the necessary cleanup task. Example, " well she had to clean my "poop" when I was a baby. "She's a good mother, she deserves the best!", "I'm just glad she is not constipated!". "I know if she had things better and her way, she would care for all of this herself." "If and when she can think at all, it must be humiliating to her to have to rely on others to help her in this matter! "I really feel for her, having to accept help like this, I wonder if it will happen to me when I get old?" " I love her so I can do it! " " I will just breath through my mouth, so I cannot smell it, and I'll have it done before we know it!". And THINK thankful when bowls are basically on a normal pattern (if they are).
Now let me share a PERSONAL experience with you. My husband went down bed fast , going on two years now. Many complications, diabetes, congestive
heart failure. sleep apnae, groin hernia, swollen prostate with catheter inserted to release the urine, incontinent runny feces (probably due to the medication or other complication we are not aware of). He has memory problems, but is aware that he has this condition, and it is very very hard on him, but he never complains..
I have to have help come in at least one hour in a.m. and one hour in p.m. per day to actually roll him from side to side in order to keep his skin clean and well. One must constantly guard against bed sores and infections from lying in the bed continually. Mentally I try to talk to myself while caring for the matter, wiping the soupy feces from all areas it chooses to creep in. " Saying to myself, he doesn't deserve to be in this condition, he was and is a good man, I feel for him, it must be humiliating t o him, but he is so good, not to complain and make it worse. sometimes I even speak directly to him, and explain how I understand it must be hard to deal with this, but not much we can do except, do what we have to do, right? He may say something like, "I guess so." I relate this to you and anyone else that must deal with these matters. From experience, dealing with care centers in the past with family and friends, I have come to know that the care centers in most cases, do not have enough time to care for persons on a one on one individual basis.. So someone who loves and cares for them as family members many times find it necessary to do, and be in a position to keep on top of things, giving the best care possible. I have not tried this yet, but I have thought about putting on some enjoyable music or songs while cleaning, to keep mind off of the messy stuff, it may be worth while to try different avenues. Keep on keeping on and hang in there. May you be blessed for your kind and generous care you are giving to your loved one. A hug your way. joylee
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you might want to ask some nurses or aides on how they first handled the situation. I don't see too many in the NH wearing masks when changing so they must know another trick. good luck and God bless
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There are face mask available.I find them difficult to use over all these years
.
For myself, I breathe through my mouth & not my nose or I do vomit.
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