Mother's obsession, she thinks she's wetting herself and she's not. Any advice?

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Mom (87 yrs. old) wears Depends undergarment style panties. She continually thinks she's wetting herself and everything in contact with her. She's not. Because it takes her a long time to get to the bathroom, a little premature drip sets her off thinking her clothes are soiled. She doesn't understand. She thinks the Depends should "fix" her leaking issue.

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So sorry, this is one reason I feel I wasn't a good caregiver. Never knew how to handle these linds of situations. My Mom always wore a pad. Her problem started in her 30s. When the rehab put her in pullups she loved them. Telling Mom they don't fix the problem probably goes on deaf ears. And the potty thing just tires you and them out. I put a pad in Moms depends. If she felt she went and did, I just removed the pad for small leaks and messes. Wasn't so much saving a depends as it was not having to take her slacks and shoes off. Saved my back. Hope someone has a good idea.
My first reaction is that you should be glad it's not the other way around - that she thinks she is dry all the time even when she has wet and is sitting in wet without others aware! That's what my disabled brother does - with his balance and size issues it is so hard for him to change himself, remove suspenders, stay upright.... Once up and moving, he can walk with his rollator and my battle is to get the nursing home to work to keep him active, continuing to attend his brain injury program, and walking to church and library weekly.

And good for Joanne29 - your solution sounds perfect, and that you'd make a good caregiver! For caregivers also worry when new issues arise, and we sit with the problem for a bit and try things, seeking solutions that will keep them healthy even when they cannot remember whatever solutions we told them about. I might often explain reasons to elders, but I don't do this expecting them to remember. Recently though, I did have a good breakthrough with a 90 year old living at home alone, who would never keep her heat at 72, and she would get coughs and colds, be at risk for immune issues like the flu. I'm old school: timely responses, in all directions.

I got her heat to 72 instead of 69 or 70, gave her juice, soup, a good supper, got her to buy a cashmere or merino sweater second hand, for lightweight/warm keeps out the drafts. And bought her knee socks, since she always wore ankle socks. She went along with these things when she felt sick, and I noted she was getting better, ithen my days off, and I'd arrive back and the heat was low, no sweater on, and she was telling me it didn't matter. And I had to have a small resentment episode, which caught her attention, and it took another two weeks - but by now, I love it, she wears the knee socks daily, heat is always 72, doesn't object to wearing the sweater, and has had no cold symptoms since. So many people do one thing, like soup - I do 4-5 things and keep at it - and it works, and I'm delighted that finallly after lots of repetitions, she's on that wavelength - for she does appreciate not getting sick for a very long time with my attention. She has other caregivers too, but I'm the one who notices something that's not working, and looks for small, timely actions to add care, for you have to keep it up, sleep, food and keep an old body's temperature constantly warm enough, mine as well.
Just to be on the safe side, have her tested for a UTI. Having a UTI can really make a person feel like they have to go all the time—even when there's nothing to pee out. That may be making her think she wet herself. Also, if she's staying dry all the time you may want to try cloth pads or padded underwear that's washable versus the plastic disposable kinds. You can find some like that on Etsy or Amazon. Disposable products don't breath as well as cloth ones and sometimes there's chemicals that are irritating in them as well. This can make a person feel like they always have to pee.
Maybe when she is anxious about being wet because she can no longer control it or feel the need to go so any sensation down there is ringing her alarms as if she is soaked. Be sure to remind her she can always change if she feels as though it is needed. Better to have her in the habit of changing to prevent infections. It's hard to keep my gma on a healthier bathroom routine because she likes to stuff tissues and viva napkins in her pants, under and/or on top her incontinence pad. She couldn't get lost with all the paper bits on the floor😂 but no matter how much you try to put any reason to their behavior they will only deny you or get more upset. At least that is what happens when I tell her to not stuff her chonies because it's not healthy. And Every time she responds with "Really?!?!?" Like it's totally new info for her. She got upset this morning and said we lived like poor people because we don't have tp. Had told her because it's no longer in your room. It's in mine. (Had taken control of all paper goods in the house) but she manages to leave evidence throughout the house.
I have found that people with dementia often get fixated on certain things. It may be something that does not really exist. No amount of convincing will help dissuade them. I know that my LO at one stage of her dementia was obsessed with her cat. She constantly thought the cat might get hurt or escape. She wanted to feed it constantly. There was no calming her fears about the cat. I found that anxiety meds really helped cut down on her obsessions. I'd discuss it with her doctor and see what they advise. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is to constantly explain, that she's okay and no change is needed. It's tough to do this all day long, but, I'm not aware of any other option. They can't process any explanation and if they did, they would forget it immediately, so it's a continuing thing.
My Grandmother experienced something very similar. I couldn’t tell if she was obsessing or just confused about her urination signals. Her anxiety level was pretty high. I thought it was a combo of Dementia and incontinence but Grandmother’s Dr. put her on Myrbetriq. It’s a medication to treat overactive bladder and it’s helped so much. The medication has taken away the constant feeling of urgency. It might be worth mentioning to your Mother’s Doctor.
Sunnygirl1 is right - dementia patients and even people just on too many medications - often fixate on different things. Some constantly rearrange their weekly medicine boxes.

My DH doesn't want to wear Depends and sometimes he heads to the bathroom instead of using his urinal - sometimes he doesn't quite make it but leaves a puddle on the floor. I don't mind the puddle but I hate finding it in my bare feet :)

I figured this is a very small price to pay to be able to keep him home with me.

BTW, you know how the urinals start to smell and stain? I found a solution, accidentally. I use a bit of Hibiclens and some Perineal soap. First rinse out the urinal, then it only takes a few drops and a little water and voila!, no smell and it even removed the awful stain and smell from one of his oldest and better made urinals!
His was stained about 1" in awful, smelly, yellowish-brown. I let it soak with the soap and was shocked that it now looks brand new. He's now been using this old urinal for better than 6 months and no smell or staining anymore. (the new ones have an opening to the handle and pee gets into the handle - AARGH! The older ones, the handle is sealed off from the rest of the urinal.)

BTW, I use the same soaps to get poop out of his washrags. And a little dish detergent! Then I just bleach/wash a load at a time. My 96 year old's "diaper-bucket" doesn't smell either.
Good advice RayLin. BTW, what is "DH" in your message? Does that mean "dear husband"? I see this acronym again and again in various posts but don't know for sure what it means.
My mom has the opposite problem, to an extent, she doesn't have enough sensation to know when she has to go or that she's wet but not to the extent that she doesn't change and the main issue is at night when she can have leakage because it doesn't wake her up. Anyway, the obsessive anxious fixation is something I can relate to and I can tell you there is no reasoning with her most of the time when she get's fixated. I have more success finding some little thing I can do to "fix" the problem going along with the fantasy they are fixed on. For instance like someone suggested putting a panty liner in the depends that you can then remove when she insists she's wet. It's actually an interesting sensation given that the depends is designed to keep her dry even when she pees in it but again there is often no rationale. The UTI or some other infection (bladder?) possibility is a good one too. Some of the extreams you might go to (if it isn't an infection) depend of course on how able she is, if she dresses herself let her change and then rotate the clean clothes and even depends perhaps, back in rather than putting them through the wash each time. I had a teenage girl living with me who tried a dozen shirts on to choose the right one and put everything she decided not to wear today in the laundry, she used 5 towels every time she showered too (ok maybe an exaggeration but you get my drift, lol) eventually I got smart and simply refolded the clean clothes and put them in her room with the clean laundry, she never knew they hadn't actually been washed again. Understand they had not been worn, just tried on and sometimes just held up in front of the mirror!

Anyway perhaps something that makes her feel you are in her world rather than telling her she is wrong and living in a delusion, the fight just isn't worth it for you or them, they can get so agitated and spirals, the "pick your battles" approach. Maybe it is something about the sensation from the depends and a cotton pad or powder would help. She likely wont remember at least for a while (sometimes when it becomes habit it either sinks in or sounds familiar when you mention it eventually) but you could try a panty liner and say something like you leak a little when you cough or laugh and these liners do the trick because they catch the little leaks and protect your clothes...then remind her she has that liner to just change "oh thank goodness you have that liner like me and we can just change that" "Aren't those liners great? They catch that leak and you don't have to change the whole under pant and clothes" something like that. If she's in bed and that's where this is happening maybe use a bed pad so she can feel that and see it isn't wet so the pad did it's job. Sorry these are just ideas, I don't have a good definitive answer for you I just have commiseration.
Good Luck!
I agree with Castle that, on the whole scheme of things, you should count your blessings that it is not the other way around. Can you imagine the stress you'd have to deal with if your mom soiled her pants and did not want to change it because she didn't think it was soiled? The mess, filth, and odor - who can deal with that day in, day out?

I'm curious about one thing, though: Do ALL dementia patients lose their ability to pee and poop properly once they are in their advanced stage? My husband has urinary incontinence and wears Depends. I can deal with that, but when it comes to Number 2, I am unsure. I am scared to think about it.

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