She has had dementia for 7 years. She is being taken care of by her family and a caregiver who has been helping her more than 10 years. She is a happy person and lives in her own house.

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Babies do this quite often when potty training and while we don't encourage it, we don't freak out over it---

Dementia patients are like babies in many ways--as they regress. Yes, this is "gross" to us, but to her it may seem like something she's never experienced before.

If you are there when she toilets, just roll with it--but DO NOT support the behavior. I hope she is getting help in that area.

Handwashing among the elderly is tough--my mother is "with it" pretty much, but her nails are sometimes just blackened with--well, I don't know what. We don't eat at her house and I wouldn't eat anything she's cooked anymore. I've tried to get her to use nail brushes and such and sometimes she does, mostly she just slathers on sanitizer.

Don't shame them, help them as best you can.

IF your mom can't handle this, I wouldn't blame her, Maybe time for in home aides or a move to a facility in which this kind of occurence is daily and "common".
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Thank you very much dear Ahmijoy. It is a very helpful answer. Her husband and caretaker live with her. Me and my mom are usually there, too. Now we spoke to the caretaker to do as you say and not leave her alone in the bathroom. One thing my mother explored was that when my grandmother touches "it" she also cries.
But I assume it could also be because of my mother's wrong reaction to what she sees. In where we live it is hard to accept dementia as a childlike illness. Thank you once again.
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Ahmijoy Aug 2018
You’re welcome, ulkusu. It is hard for loved ones to accept dementia no matter where you live. The person we have always admired and loved is gone and there is an older adult acting like a young child left in their place. I have been through this 3 times—watching a loved one disappear before my eyes.

Please take your mother aside and speak with her. Ask her to please not yell or have a bad reaction to Grandma’s bodily functions. Grandma may be afraid she will get yelled at for “it” and is trying to hide it. If Mom cannot handle this part of caring for Grandma, perhaps someone else can go into the bathroom with her.

Its a very difficult situation. I understand.
People with dementia are very childlike. Who hasn’t heard of the child that takes a full diaper and fingerpaints all over the nursery walls with it. It’s gross and disgusting to us, but to them it’s a creation to be proud of. Obsession is also a part of dementia and obsession with bowel movements is one of the most popular. Like the “Star Spangled Banner” at the beginning of an event, I always had to listen to my mom’s description of her BM’s when I’d come into her room. She always claimed she “filled the bowl” which seriously, would have been about 4 gallons of poop.

Does someone live in her house with her? If she is doing this in the bathroom, she needs to be supervised constantly. Fingers can go in mouth, hair, etc. Someone needs to redirect her away from this particular obesssion as it can be unhealthy as well as distasteful. If she’s putting her hands “back there”,someone needs to redirect her, even to holding her hands. Tell a story, sing a song, and flush immediately. She’ll be upset but will soon discover something else more interesting. Don’t leave wipes in the trash where she can get to them. Don’t flush them but put them out of her sight and out of her mind.
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