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I feel that this is unfair to myself, my husband, our 5 year old daughter and my mother, who also lives with us! When I confront her about it (nicely) she cries and says this is so embarrassing to her, yet she does not change. It is ruining my carpet, furniture and mental health! My husband will not intervene as he made a deathbed promise to his father that his mom would not go to a home! I am 33, own two businesses and am at my wits end! Any advice is appreciated!

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As a Gerontologist I am concerned that your MIL is cognitively impaired and then giving her an ultimatum will do absolutely no good. Replacing her underwear with incontinence products is a wonderful idea, but do not be surprised if she comes in wearing no underwear! Possibly assisting her to get dressed or hiring an aide from a home care agency that would help her, and encourage her to wear a product would do the trick. If she is memory impaired, remember fear is her driving agent, and anything new is a cause to be afraid. I would also say as you are helping her to dress, I have been wearing these new underwear and I would like you to try these and see what you think. Protective waterproof sheets should be on your chairs, the bed and on the floor around where she sits. You are doing a true labor of love, but there are limits and just so you and your husband know, the number one reason for placement is incontinence! No one's home should smell of human waste - if she moved to a facility they would have her wearing the product immediately - !!!! If she is not memory impaired, then it is time to set the limits about the conditions under which she can remain in your home.
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I am going through the exact same thing with my FIL.My Husband and I are his caregivers.We have 2 children 10 and 9 and we find it hard to even leave the house.He has had the urine problem for awhile but has started to mess on himself and the floor(fecal) in the last 2 weeks and says hes never hungry.I promised I would never put anyone in a nursing home or assisted living faciltiy but I feel like we have to live too.Of his 11 children we are the only ones that do anything.I feel for you and hope you can find a solution to your problem.
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My idiot grandfather actually said once something about an old guy from like 70 years ago being taken care of by a woman who was "Full Blooded Cherokee Squaw..." The way he said it, as I rolled him down to get his hair cut....Forget it old man, when you start living like an infant you are going to a Nursing Home, a Hoya lift won't fit in your bedroom and I am not gonna watch you make my mother sick with you Nursing Level care needs! She loves him she took him in four years ago, but there is no rule that says you have to kill yourself to care for an elderly family member!
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I am having the same issue with my Dad who is 82. I decided that I have cleaned up the last trail of poop from him today. Tomorrow we are having a serious discussion. He will either wear the depends or move to a skilled nursing facility. He is very selfish and thinks that women should cater to his every whim. I am not my mother, I am doing the best I can and he can make this small sacrafice or move on. I don't mean to sound cruel, but sometimes enough is just enough. Good Luck
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(1) Next time she poops or pees all over the place, LEAVE IT THERE, show it to your husband and tell hiim that HE can clean up the mess if he refuses to allow her to go into a "home." I bet if he had to clean up the poop himself, he'd change his tune. After all it's HIS mother - not yours! As long as you keep enabling him by cleaning up after HIS mother, the situation will never change.

(2) in the meantime, get rid of all of her underpants, replace ALL of her underwear with Depends and refer to them as "briefs." This is what she will have to wear - end of story.
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Times have changed, these situations are what Nursing Homes and Assisted Care Centers are for. You have enough to do without this huge stress on you and your family. Even without the problem of her urinating all over your house, she shouldn't be living with you. Elderly people are way too much care and it's way to hard on the family especially if you have kids. I couldn't do it. No way. It's just not expected of you. You should never be made to feel guilty either. If my son doesn't put me in assisted living or a nursing home at about age 70, I'll have his head! He know's that there is no way he is to take care of his parents. He can come visit and bring me cookies once in a while, but that's it. He won't be changing my poo poo pads that's for sure!
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yucka and my Pug just had bladder surgery...man no more stress please....
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Ha, good one. No, its the same stuff as Deflux, that is used to prevent urinary reflux (urine going back up towards the kidneys instead of out of the baaldder) by injecting it around where the ureter goes into the bladder. Now, just to avoid potneial confusion at the doctors office on future visits - because I have had to correct my husband on the same thing- a diuretic does not cause diarrhea, it causes increased urine output to help get excess fluid out.
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Most be the opposite of Olestra...that wonder oil for potato chips low call and a diuretic...
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Hey - if we can take a break from the male versus female stuff here (and I personaly know men who fit the stereortype and men who are WONDERFUL caregivers...) - there is apparently some breaking news - there is an injectable called Solesta that may significantly help fecal incontinence - see http://www.aboutincontinence.org/site/news-events/news/industry-news/solesta
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I think the emotionalism is key too. With a lot of men I think they are freaked out by emotions, as we are all encouraged to be but more so. I have seen guys literally run away from an emotional situation, and they were not even a part of it. We all have strengths and deficits I guess. But I would say in general women are the care takers and nurturers, for a lot of reasons. I also agree it is sad that when men do it they are lauded, while a woman care taker is________________________?so? That says something there. That it is not even expected of them and any looking after others selflessly is regarded as heroic for a man and just to be expected from a woman.
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DILinOK,

Sit down with her and be firm that she has to wear throwaway underwear now, because she has an incontinence problem that cannot be ignored. Buy them before you talk to her, so you can hand her one to try. If she still refuses, ask her dr. to ask her about her incontinence situation. Have her explain that it is NOT sanitary to have poop and pee in the washer where it is used for everyone in the household. Also, Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is good for helping to keep odors at bay with pee and poop. I used it for my MIL's clothes, bedding and usually that was it, but it can be used in the washer, along with detergent, non-chlorine bleach (safe for colors), & liquid softener. You only need a tsp. or two, but it depends on how big the load is (I usually pour it around once or twice, depending on how big the load is). It is a real help to have the disposable underwear, though. Good luck!
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I have known a few exceptional men during my life time, who took care of their wives. One was my uncle (by marriage) who took care of my dad's sister for almost 30 years after she was paralyzed in a car accident. He died from colon cancer 7 years before she died. Their youngest son has been caregiver who also cared for this mother now has cared for to his wife for several years. Right now they are facing her death from cancer that has spread to the brain and lungs. Another man I know, took care of his wive for over 20 years after she had a stroke. She died a couple years ago. I also had a cousin who helped me take care of my mom who was bed bound and dying of cancer as well as my elderly father and guess what? He was also dying of Non-Hodgkin's, too. He was not yet 30 when he died. All of these men are wonderful examples to other men and does prove to us that men are capable of being good caregivers. The only problem I have with giving them praise is that it can set them on a higher plane than women just because they are men since it is exceptional and women are expected to be like this. It is as if when men rise to taking care of someone, it is something more special. That is just not fair to all of the women who get no recognition.


I used to be an EMT-Paramedic and I can tell you that children are the most difficult calls to make even for the best of us. If it is your own child, it can be even harder. And though most of us rise to the occasion when it is our own child (I did when my daughter had a febrile seizure or when I had to work with my mom until paramedics responded for chest pain - I was cool, calm and collected), some do freeze. That is why doctors are taught not to treat their own family members. It does not mean they are a wuss by any means.

One last story, I knew a man on the rescue squad who was one of the best at using the jaws-of-life in the region. He was called to a wreck where he had to cut out several patients - one being his own sister who died on the scene. He completed his job for all of the patients and walked away. Can you imagine what it took for him to do this?
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Many people are in facilities primarily or even exclusively because of incontinence, and that's sad but sometimes just an inescapable reality. But first, make sure there is nothing that can be done medically. Way too many people are too embarrassed to bring it up with the doctor. If there is nothing fixable going on, then possibly a timed toileting/bowel program can work to decrease accidents. This involves toilet sitting after a meal or at some relatively predictable time when a bowel movement is likely, perhaps helped along by a suppository or other medicaitons. This is a lot of work and effort at least initiallly, and a lot of people just prefer usign incontinence products. TALK about it with a doctor or nurse.

Also, remember that people typically do not smell their own odors as pungently as that of others, and that plus even subtle cognitive/judgement limitations may be preventing your mom from realizing what the severity of the problem and how intolerable the status quo really is. YOU know, though, that you can't let someone continue to poop all over the house. There are some enzyme-based products such as Nature's Miracle designed for pets that will at least partially remove stains and odors, but they can only go so far. If you had one accident a week, you could probably keep everything clean and odor free, but not if it is a daily occurrence. Explaining that to mom gently and supportively may be a huge challenge depending on her judgement and thinking skills, but getting rid of the regular underwear and maybe using a pull-up style rather than a diaper-style could work out. Maybe you can even call it someth9ing else - my mom wears "briefs" and for soem kids who are embarrassed in the hospital they are "hospital pants." YMMV...I hope there is a decent solution for you and your mom.
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Hi, Jsomebody: In addition to being the "family glue," women are generally in charge of their family's health matters - from keeping vaccination records to scheduling medical appointments. I rarely see a man in a physician's office who has brought his infant child ALONE for a check-up, but I see plenty of women who are there alone with a sick child.

Bottom line, really, is that overall women are MUCH stronger emotionally than men - I've seen it time and time again. Men are wimps, in general, when it comes to matters of illness. They are complete babies when they are sick and they cannot deal with the sickness of others. Women just pitch in and clean up the vomit, end of discussion. Even some male physicians are completely grossed out if a patient vomits or poops all over the place.....and they call the nearest FEMALE CNA to clean it up.

When I was a very little child, I used to actually clean up my OWN vomit or feces (per my parent's report) whereas my older brother would just puke and lie in it, expecting somebody else to clean up after him. I really think we come out of the womb differently, acculturation notwithstanding.

I "read the riot act" once to an EMT CPR instructor who told me that when his 4-year-old fell and broke his arm, he "freaked" and was incapable of providing first aid to the child because he was "too upset." This guy is an EMT trainer, mind you. It was his non-medical WIFE who took the bull by the horns and did the proper first aid and ran the kid to the hospital ER. I told the guy he was a "poor excuse for an EMT if he could not even render basic first aid to his own child for something as simple as a broken arm." The man was obviously a complete WUSS!
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Nataly1 and Dragonflower seem to have said it spot on for both the literals and emotional-s of the situation. I will do the political-s...It is sexism plain and simple. Society decided long ago who does what and gets upset when anyone challenges that. First there is "woman's work", then it is devalued (until a man does it then it is a paid position). If women complain they are tired of doing it all themselves, esp when both people work outside the home as well...then it is "no big deal" till she stops doing it. Then she is a selfish bitch for not doing it.
Here's a fun one: Traditional woman's job typist? It turns out men squarer wrists are more well suited to it and less likely to get carpel tunnel syndrome...
Women tend to be more hygienic and more nurturing and are the family glue, so it just usually falls on them to handle these care giving tasks from child rearing to elder care. Not always but commonly so. And as these are not valued paid positions in society, there may be a real song and dance about them but really very little in the way of legitimate support.
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Take all her underpants away and replace with the depends. Say "sorry but all your panties were soiled, this is all we have for now", you will probably hear "I need panties 50 x's a day, just say "okay" we will get the larger ones that fit over the depends". Or Hand her the mop and broom and the roll of toilet paper and have her pick it up. and cover all your furniture. Been there done that. good luck.
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As a daughter who has recently (a year ago) had to admit her father into a nursing home I can understand a lot of this discussion. My dad fell a year ago, fractured his pelvis, split his head open (24 staples) and became incontinent afterwards. He has dementia - I had taken his car keys away a year and a half earlier after he didn't make it home one night (too much vodka). My mother was his primary care giver but couldn't acknowledge there was a problem except how much trouble he was giving her. She is 87 and he is 85. The incontinence was it for her. She decided to control it by restricting any fluids he had. 4 days later he is hallucinating and unable to even feed himself ( he had also not eaten in 4 days). My dad also refused to wear the Depends at first. My mother finally bullied him into it or he gave up and put them on. As much as I hate that he is not at home (which he worked so hard to provide) for his later years, he is receiving such better care now. Just because we love them, it doesn't mean we are their best care alternative. My mother didn't want "anyone in her house". I live 4 hours away and have no siblings. My mother is now worrying ( and being extremely agitated) about what will happen to her since "I have done this to my dad". We all have to learn to stay the adults we are, even when dealing with our parents in their later years. It rips me apart when she and I have disagreements for weeks. But I also know neither of them are able to handle the decisions that are needed to be made. I want to tell her to make her own arrangements for care but know that is useless. She doesn't accept that she is older and may not be able to be independent for the rest of her life. She would rather blame me for whatever she is "not happy about".
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It seems to me that women have always been in the traditional role of caregiver and the man was the breadwinner. I know in this day and age that is not always the norm now. In my case, I was injured on the job a year ago and during that time we had been building a home for my mil that is attached to our home. As a medic/firefighter I could no longer do my job duties so I was put on disability, then retired. It didn't mean I was totally disabled from working outside the home but after 25 yrs there wasn't a lot more I was trained to do so my husband and I made a deal......I take care of his mother and I can stay retired. He has involvement but only with having to remind her that what I say is what he says and vice versa. I felt that was fair as he is an er physician and his income is more significant than I could ever make. The biggest problem I have now is getting her to bathe and wear her depends......after stripping her down and putting her in the bath she got the message....although I bathe her twice a week now and she has no say in it. She is in the middle stages of dementia and I am gearing myself up for the later stages, because I don't know that I will be able to do the lifting etc that may be needed. Hubby will have to pitch in then or be willing to hire someone to come in and help me. I just hope when the time comes that mil will go quietly into the light during the night and not have to suffer.
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I should mention that if it were MY husband who had made the "deathbed promise," I would put my foot down and tell him that HE can clean up her feces and her urine - and I would stop cleaning up after her. Once the odor of feces and urine began to permeate the house as well as obvious "puddles" of excrement/urine visible on floors or furniture, I suspect that husband would be much more willing to consider AL or a NH for her. He may not even realize the scope of the problem, because, after all, his wife is running around cleaning up the mess!

This actually raises another important issue. Why is it that women are the ones STUCK with excrement/urine duties, even if it's the husband's parent and not ours? Why do we allow ourselves to be coerced into performing this service? We should put our collective feet down and tell the men that "it's your parent, not mine, and you are responsible for their care, not me" - and then stick to our guns. While I am sure there are exceptions, I have yet to know of any man who has agreed to be the one to diaper & clean up his elderly parent - yet many of them will diaper their infant children without reservation.

What do the rest of you think about this issue?

There is definitely an unfair double standard at play......and we women are guilty of allowing it to be imposed upon us.
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Many people have these well-intentioned starry-eyed notions that their elderly parent "will never be placed in a nursing home." But they do not understand that when a parent with dementia develops uncontrolled incontinence, becomes a danger to themselves or others, turns violent, etc., that they CANNOT remain in the home any longer for everyone's sake. It reminds me of an acquaintance who made the same "promise" to which I responded....."don't worry, you WILL end up putting her in a home when she becomes incontinent or starts doing socially inappropriate things." Sure enough, within a year or two the inevitable happened when she suddenly could not remember how to dress herself....

None of us like to think that our parent will end up like this, but it happens more and more often as people are living much longer than mother nature had intended. I actually loved Nataly1's technique of "grounding her." With the role reversal that happens with aging, we sometimes have to treat our parent in a similar fashion to how we would treat a family member who is a young child - because that's what actually works.
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Does she have dimenia? Alot of times dimenia patients forget they need to go. It was really hard to get my dad to wear depends. Then he started and all was fine, then the day comes when they stop using the toilet at all and won't change the pads. We have had major standoffs about my dad changing his pad. Also alot of older people can't smell...my nose is bad but boy can I smell urine & feces. Good luck & Be strong and tell your husband to start acting like a husband, Father and son and that he needs to help instead of acting like a 2 yr old. I would be so angry at my husband.........
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Our mother is 88.5 years old and has incontinence. We have been using a cotton panty that has a gel pack that does absorb a given amount of urine. Enough that if she slow getting to the bathroom they are helpful but do need to be changed for clean ones anywhere from 2-6 times a day. Our mother also does not want to use depends but we have ordered a protective underware that we got a sample while surfing the internet. They are Tena "Women" protection underware; super aborbant. They sample was very effective over 4 hour period when we had to take her in for a Dr. appt and blood workup.
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Have you tried Poise, they are a super absorbent pad. They ae mainly for the elderly. They really help with urine and feces. This way she does not feel like she is wearing diapers. They are a lifesaver in my home.
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Bless your heart DIL...I have to agree with Jean. NO ONE has to live like that and I would not put up with it for one more minute. My mil was told depends or nursing home......no other options. She wears depends now.....she may need help changing them everyday but at least she wears them and doesn't walk around with the backside of her clothing dripping wet, as well as soaking furniture and carpets. Is your husband helping you with HIS mother? You do not have to live in these kind of conditions and it sounds like you already have your hands full. I wish you luck with this....it's not easy but you can get her into them by being firm.
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This is a tough one to give any advice on with out knowing the family or how they have all gotten along before the "accidents". Okay, so hubby made a promise, in good faith that he'd never put mom in an ALF- a good promise but unrealistic. That's like saying that no matter what your children do they will always live with you- so even if they steal, rob, do drugs, become abusive...they will always have a room? I didn't think so. Same with mom- when the promise was made, Dad didn't realize that mom would have this problem....do you think if she did Dad would think it's ok? If the answer is yes, then you need to sit down and negotiate (or renegotiate) with your husband. Take out the "fair" part and state the facts: Mom and her "accidents" have become an emotional and financial burden for the entire family. This is something that neither you or I could have foreseen and as a family we need to approach this together. I know that you made a promise to your Dad and I love that you want to keep this promise however you also made a promise to me when we got married. Now that we have children we need to put their health and emotional well being ahead of our needs or wants. I'd like us to come up with a solution. I love your mother but not her accidents. Some solutions would be to install a new washer and dryer for us and the kids and mom will have her own. Pull up the carpets and lay down a vinyl or easy to clean floor. Have the chairs mom uses covered with chalks etc. Above all, work with your husband to find solutions. He may feel that since your mom is there too his mom should be too! When my mom went through this phase was I grounded her. She loved TV and I took the TV out of her room and told her that until she put her diapers on (I too removed her underwear and put depends in the drawer) no moreTV. She stayed in her room for most the day and eventually came out wearing diapers because she got bored. Let mom know that you understand how embarrassed she is to have accidents and that now with wearing her "new undies" she won't have that problem anymore. I'd also check with her doc because some medications could add to her problem. Hope this helps.
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I think probably kind but firm ultimatums it is embarrassing but not with out a solution. Say it simply has to be done for everyone's sake. Make your husband get involved...It was HIS promise! Make him keep it !
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I also do agree with Dragonflower. as sometimes you have to be firm and stand your ground-This is not being mean, but (to my thinking) it is preventing a health hazard. Since you are the person in charge- GO WITH YOUR GUT. As most likely it will be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Good luck in this situation~
Hap
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Sorry, I did not add: these directions are for your husband until he can either get her into depends or into an ALF. It may have been a deathbed promise, but it was HIS promise to his father. You were not apart of it. It is not fair to you.
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Ask her doctor to "prescribe" the depends (or simply tell her that s/he did). The elders often will do whatever the doctor says. Then do what Pidkuy did and replace her underwear with depends. As others have said it can be a health issue for your family and it's unfair to you.
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