My grandmother keeps peeing herself and trying to hide it when she comes over for visits. Once she had an accident and I had to really harass her to go have a shower, when she finally did I heard her turn on the water for the tub and turn it off after a few seconds. She came out and said she had had a shower. I tried to talk to my grandfather about it and he has said she is just being lazy...I don't agree...she was never like this before she had so much pride in herself. He has made her feel embarassed about it so she came over a few times and made it pretty obvious she was placing her coat under herself before she sat down. I don't want her to start to hate me but it hard with a new baby and having to clean up after her...messes. With that said she raised me and cleaned up my mess when I was a child so I know I owe her. But her peeing herself or doing other things in her pants and then wearing it the whole visit refusing to change is sad and not at all like her. I don't know what to do to help her. Talking to her always feels awkward, I feel mean...what should I do? Am I complaining too much? Is this normal when people get older or is this something more serious?

No this is not normal when people get older!

But... Why would you talk to your grandfather about it, rather than your grandmother?

If your grandmother is wetting and soiling herself and making impractical attempts to prevent its being a problem, then it seems clear that she *knows* there is a problem but doesn't know what to do about it. It must be very embarrassing and worrying for her.

You don't say how old she is, but at any age fecal incontinence is unusual and serious (whereas stress incontinence leading to urine leaks, for example, is very common indeed, especially in women). How long has this been going on? Can you gently ask her whether she has seen her doctor recently, as an ice breaker?

The thing is. She could have chronic diarrhoea, she could have a uti, she could have all kinds of treatable things that are causing the problem. She could have a neurological issue that means she doesn't feel "urgency" - she doesn't realise it's happening until it's too late, that is. It could be anything! But what is certain is that a LOT can be done to help her, but not unless she tells someone about it.

So don't feel mean, show her that you're concerned - not about your furniture or about whether she showers enough, but about her health and wellbeing.

You have a baby of your own. You're not just her granddaughter any more, you're an adult woman taking an intelligent interest in your loved one's health. It *is* awkward, I agree, but remember that the less embarrassment you show, the less she'll feel. It's a practical matter with practical answers, so stick tight to that and talk to her in private.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to Countrymouse
shad250 Apr 24, 2019
Husband makes her feel bad when she has these acidents so she tries to cover this.
My mother was having a new problem with incontinence after surgery. She was mortified and was thrilled with the panty like products. They aren’t like diapers. If she’s trying to cover it up she realizes it’s a problem. I’d get her a few of “a great new product “ you just saw “ to try” , give her them discreetly along with a hug, “ in case she ever wants to try them” .
its an embarrassing issue and her husband isn’t helping.
I don’t know what her issues are but I can tell you showering is scary once your mobility and balance aren’t great. Mine aren’t and I fell once and it took me about 1/2 an hour to get out. It sounds humorous but it was really frightening. Maybe make sure she has a shower chair etc. if she’s been hygienic her entire life, something else is up
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Reply to Jannner

I had to explain to my dad that I know it is embarrassing to wear adult briefs for incontinence, but it would be and is more embarrassing to actually have wet britches. I told him it was very common and no one would even know he didn't have regular underwear on.

He wasn't happy but he was way more comfortable not running around all day in wet clothes or waking up in a wet bed.

Acknowledge that it sucks, but that is what women face because of child birth, really no big deal when you get over the initial shock. Of course get her checked to make sure she is healthy and this is not a symptom of something treatable.

Tell grandfather that his behavior is ignorant and very unkind. What a clod for treating her demeaningly.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Treat all this as much like “pampering” as you can. Accompany the products with a small bottle of her favorite perfume or lotion.

Trll her not to be embarrassed or worried, this is a common problem.

Many doctors recommend kegel exercises (in early stages) for this problem.

Tell her her how much these products helped you after the baby was born. Tell her to change them every time and not to add wads of toilet paper on top (that also makes them leak sometimes). Wads of TP will also give her a rash and they will not prolong use of the pads like she may think.

Tell her (gently) that if she doesn’t change frequently and wash, others can detect the odor.

Move the fancy upholstered items. Find alternate seating at your house so you don’t feel upset if there is a problem. Use chairs that are easy to wipe clean in areas where she may likely sit. You will miss her someday more than you miss the chair now.

It is clear she is panicked about the situation, so be gentle with her emotions.

Tell her you you love her, and this is no big deal!
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Reply to ACaringDaughter

Maybe you could sit down with her and assure her you understand and plan a few ways to "take care of business." Have her leave a change of clothes at your house so that if something happens, she can have clean garments to wear. You might even suggest she keep a change in her car. Maybe if she tries a couple of the newer underwear-like products, she'll appreciate their convenience and they can be delivered right to her house if she is embarrassed to purchase them. My mom keeps an extra Depends in her purse for emergencies and uses feminine or baby wipes for clean ups. She also wears dark colored pants (navy, black, brown) so that if she does have an accident, it won't be so obvious. Maybe investing in a package of disposable chux pads to put on chairs or in her bed would help her feel better about sitting or lying down without worry that she might damage furniture or linens. As long as she understands that your concern for her health, comfort and dignity are the reason for you discussing her incontinence issues with her, I'd bet she'll be receptive.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to lablover64

SummerEvening, the situation you describe sounds so familiar. It is a warning sign when a normally well groomed person who has had good hygiene previously, starts with outrageous behavior, like urinating or defecating in inappropriate places and denying there is a problem. PRETENDING to bathe is also a red flag. Your grandfather is likely embarrassed, confused and/or in denial. but, eventually, he will have to attend to it, as if she is cognitively impaired, no amount of talking, convincing or begging her to fix the problem will help. If grandmother could do better ,she would. I wouldn't take it as her being unreasonable or defiant, but, helpless to fix it on her own.

Have you visited in their home and stayed for a day or two? I'd try to do that, so you can really see how she's functioning. She may put on a good show for a couple of hours, but, in the home for longer periods, you might get more of an idea how she really is functioning. I suspect that her lack of hygiene will lead to some UTI's and/or skin rashes and that it will come to the attention of her doctor. Her Healthcare POA, should report what's happening to her doctor, so he can properly diagnose her.

I wish you the best. Please post back with what you find out.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Sunnygirl1

I am having this same issue with my mom. She has increasingly had more incidents of incontinence over the past 1 1/2 years.. She also refuses to wear pads or adult pants. Her laundry has doubled and she had a couple accidents sitting up in bed. I have just been persistent in letting her know it's not unusual and it's time to wear protection. Last night was a win, she willing wore some adult diaper to bed. But it's been an up hill battle all the way.
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Reply to Ann2710

Incontinence products have changed so much from the ones your grandmother may remember, I would pick up couple of different kinds - pads and pull ups - as well as some wipes, and bring them to her, then sit down and have a conversation. Keep it matter of fact, woman to woman - be brief and discrete and no arguing! If she prefers to continue as she was rather than embrace the solution then in my opinion there is more going on than stubbornness.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to cwillie
shad250 Apr 24, 2019
Brief and discrete Lol. Nice to put some humor in what is a sad situation.
Where are her children? Maybe coming from a daughter/DIL instead of a granddaugher would be better. And you need to slap that husband. How disrespectful from a person 1/3 her age.

My Mom had 4 kids and had "leaking" problems since her 30s. Which worsened as she got older. It was a physical problem that could have been corrected but she was in her early 80s when it was found out and chose not to do anything.

There are lots of reasons why this could be happening. Like said a UTI. Her muscles have weakened. There are meds that can help. Also Poise pads. Depends and brands like them come in pull ups that fit like panties.

Your Grandma needs compassion.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to JoAnn29

We did finally get my Mom to start wearing Depends in her 90’s, but only if we continued talking about them as her underwear or her panties — NOT if there were any hint we thought of them as diapers. The pull-ups are now a pretty color and not too bulky. However, there is another option as well and it’s one I am using for myself at age 70. Icon Undies at makes nice underwear with a high tech combination of moisture wicking, absorbency, odor elimination, and leak prevention built into the panty. They are no bulkier than the panties we are all used to. They have two levels - one holds 6 tsp of liquid without leaking; the other holds 8 tsp. Then you wash, rinse, repeat. I suffer mostly from unexpected surges, and I find that when I wear these, I can get through a day (or night) with total confidence that I will not be embarrassing myself with urinary surprises. Here’s the downside: they are quite expensive - about $35-39 per pair. But then again, that is about the equivalent of 2-3 large bags of Depends, and you’re not adding to the landfill with these. I am building my collection up a pair or two at a time, taking advantage of sales, until I have a week’s worth and I’m almost there. They are worth budgeting for. Wish I’d known about them with Mom, but I’m really glad I know about them now for myself. If your grandmother is having surges, just gradually replace her regular underwear with Icon Undies and see if it will see her through until she gets to an incontinence level that does require Depends.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to lindabf
Arleeda Apr 28, 2019
I am 81 and so glad I discovered the Icon undies! Well worth the added expense, I now have 5 pair. But remember that you can't put those dryer sheets in when drying as that affects the absorbability.
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