Sometimes carries poop in Kleenex and puts in waste basket

It is VERY common.
First of all, many of our elders came from other countries where plumbing was unreliable, and this was (and by the way STILL IS) the proper way of disposing of tissue after going to the bathroom.
Secondly, many lived in areas where they had septic and some portion of their minds still remembers what could happen with septic.
Thirdly many have engrained in their minds the status of years of poor plumbing where the plunger was a member of the family.
All of those things together make (especially women) elders hesitant to dispose of lots of toilet paper into the toilet.
The "tissue-issue" is often only the beginning of it. In my own city of SF we have had droughts and water saving programs that since the 60s have come up with cute ads that remind us "If it's yellow it's mellow; if it's brown flush it down", and we seniors OFTEN do not flush urine down until there's company at the door (hee hee). So imagine that habit coming with us when the mind's slipping? Just sayin..............

I hope you have luck with retraining, but you may not.
Just know this is VERY common.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Isthisrealyreal May 19, 2024
Plungers should always be part of the family. I can not even imagine not having one in a home, because you can't run out and grab one when you are in need of one, not without a giant mess.
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Accompany your mom to the bathroom now to ensure she's not leaving toxic messes behind. Nothing is normal with dementia and everything odd becomes common. It's never safe or wise to leave an elder with dementia alone or unaccompanied in the bathroom where eating soap or wrapping up feces to carry around in her pocket is the new norm.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to lealonnie1

Your profile says your mother has dementia ……..yes it’s common to put things in different places than usual .

At least it’s going in the waste basket and not in the cabinets or drawers, or refrigerator .
Maybe leave a waste basket right next to the toilet for her , so she doesn’t start putting it in worse places, hopefully .

Mom may need more supervision in the bathroom soon if she puts her waste anywhere else .
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to waytomisery

Other than the answers that have been given I wonder.....
Where did your mom grow up?
It is very common in some areas in this country, and others, where there is poor or no plumbing (septic or sanitary) systems to put used toilet paper in a waste basket. Some plumbing systems can not handle the paper.
So if she grew up doing that it is easy to see how she could be reverting back to doing the same thing.

You need to supervise her more directly in the bathroom.
make sure paper products are disposed of properly and that she is cleaning herself properly (including handwashing)

If you read a lot of posts here this is the reverse of the questions I have seen where a parent is flushing everything, clogging toilet and causing overflows. Solution to both is supervision.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Grandma1954
Kwiemer May 19, 2024
Yes, I agree. I know many people still that do not flush... the ummm, no so messy toilet paper. They toss those not messy ones in the garbage can. Especially if they grew up not having city plumbing
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My very elderly Aunt with advanced dementia would chew her food then spit it into a napkin and put back on her plate. One napkin per mouthful. The only thing "common" about dementia behavior is doing uncommon things, and it's different for everyone.
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Reply to Geaton777

I remember on a cruise and visiting the government center of Ensenada and looking at the murals. I unfortunately had to use the facilities, and as I delicately bent over to "hover", my face was in a trash can full of poopy tissues. Yay.

Anyway, at home, when my mom fell, I started going over every day to help her, as we realized how bad things were getting. Some days she was completely obsessed with pulling out a kleenex, dabbing her nose, and throwing it down.. She would go through boxes of kleenex and all I would do is pick up her tissues and throw them away, because she would completely cover her TV tray with them.

The other thing she did is what you described. She refused to flush any paper down and usually wouldn't flush at all. When I would first come in the morning, the bathroom floor and bathtub were a sea of wads of toilet paper.

The thing we discovered soon after is that her toilet barely flushed anymore. She was aware, but did care enough to call a plumber. We wound up spending over $10K getting her sewer line cleaned out and the yard dug up to replace the tar paper pipes she had. (They had lived there close to 60 years, and tree roots, etc.) The inside of the toilet was solid grey brown with stuff. Not dirt, but limescale from the hard water sitting for so many years.

Anyway, after 3 months of all this, she was evaluated and determined to be on the line between moderate and severe dementia. She was stuck in a holding pattern of just existing in that house. It was a nightmare. We decided it was time for her to be in memory care because she was just nonlonger present in her own life. She couldn't afford in-home 24 hr care, and her home was not suitable for employees to have as a workplace.

When she was accepted into the memory care facility, which is gorgeous, I was so worried and warned them about how she is with kleenexes, and the bathroom. They assured me they would take it under consideration.

When she got there, she never did those behaviors again. That place was wonderful for her. It was a shock at first, but all the activities and the daily schedule keep her mind so busy, and the supervision and help in the bathroom pushed all these behaviors out of her head. She is like a different person and alive again! It was such a hard decision, but it has been like night and day. She doesn't even hardly use kleenex anymore!

My long a** point is that maybe your loved one needs to get out of their rut. Then you can stop beating your head against the wall too. If their behavior is new and odd, there is something going on and it is serious. My mom was a housewife, and her real self would be shocked and saddened to he her current self as she is, and she would hate to see me suffering through cleaning up her mess like I am. But she's my mom and I the only child. This is not what we planned, but here we are. It's not her fault.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Bunnymomjulie
Onthehill May 26, 2024
My mother does similar. She obsessively dabs and blows her nose. Tissues everywhere that I pick up and dispose of throughout the day. She will fill her purse up with used scraps of toilet paper she’s used for blowing her nose. I redirect her to handkerchiefs I purchased for her but that doesn’t always work. I had to think of something given how expensive toilet paper is. No pun intended but she blows right through a roll in 2 days.
In many countries it is common to put toilet paper in a waste basket. The reason is the sewer in many countries can not handle the paper. In many cases the system is old.
in an odd twist I had to explain to some visiting contractors not to put paper on the floor and to put it in the toilet.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Sample
Isthisrealyreal May 23, 2024
The floor?!?!? That is gross!
Your mothers brain is broken, so nothing she does should surprise you at this point. Like already said, at least she's throwing it away in the "waste basket" and not just throwing it on the floor.
But in all reality, what this should be telling you is that your mother can no longer be unsupervised when she goes to the bathroom.
It's time for someone to be with her 24/7 if they're not already.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to funkygrandma59

I didn't read the comment, so this may have already been said. But I imagine that some point in your moms life she lived in a house with plumbing issues, and had to do that or was told to by a parent when she was a kid.

My mom always put her peanut butter in the fridge, my whole life. I hate cold peanut butter. Every so often I can't find the peanut butter, I know to look in the fridge because i put it in there without thinking.

Old habits stay with us forever
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Anxietynacy
waytomisery May 23, 2024
Same here with the peanut butter as a kid .Hated it cold . I had the only mother I knew that did that .
When we had RVs, trailers, and boats, we only put obviously poop paper down the toilet because the holding tank, if it wasn't full, would turn damp toilet paper into cement. I (because it was my job) emptied the trash can several times a day, I tied the liners tight and if we were not near a trash bin area put the little trash bags into a larger one with the top tight until I could dump it. Was your mother a full time RVer?
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to MaryKathleen
Isthisrealyreal May 24, 2024
That is a really good catch and point.

The stories I have heard about the cement in the black tank. Oh my, they are not something you want to deal with.

Thankful for all the products that can help alleviate that particular ch!show, punn intended. :-)

Always good to see you posting MaryKathleen.
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