My mom lives with me. She has dementia. I am her caregiver. She has been having both urine and stool incontinence but hates wearing her depends. I have bought her pads but they don't work very well. I had her doctor tell her she needs them but she forgets or just refuses, I'm not always sure. She's being prideful, but soiling your pants can't be a good feeling. I have to inspect the toilet area every time she goes to the bathroom to make sure there is no poop on the seat and the floor. Any suggestions?

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Reply to bouvluvr

patriciawatrak: Perhaps she can wear depends that can't be removed by her, else she may require managed care facility living.
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Reply to Llamalover47

Just to go through the same thing so I threw all her underwear out and I don’t them diapers, I just say underpants.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Dconrad

Incontinence means nursing home. Line in the sand.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to ZippyZee
BurntCaregiver Apr 26, 2023
Time for a home
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to elmer1

I ended up taking away the underwear. Mom wouldn't use the Depends, so I bought the Poise-type pads. She wouldn't use them all the time because she said she didn't need them. Her carpet now reeks of urine because, by the time she realizes she needs to go, she wets the floor all the way to the bathroom. Now we have her using Depends and an absorbent pad in her chairs and on the bed in case she decides to go commando in which case I then have to deal with urine-soaked pants. Always a struggle, but the underwear will never come back. Good luck to you.
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Reply to dixiegirlnc

My mom forgets..I removed all regular underwear from her the drawer are pretty pink pull-ups. She puts those on!! Problem solved..I did not discuss it.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Sadinroanokeva

What does she wear if she is not wearing the Depends?
If she is wearing her regular underwear I have to ask why it is still available for her to get?
Remove all her old underwear and replace with the incontinence product.
Get more than one kind. They come in a variety of colors so she can pick what color she wants to wear.

If the size is an issue maybe try the men's ones. Look at the size of waist that the men's and women's list and see what one might fit better. I realize the padding might be different but it beats nothing.
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Reply to Grandma1954

I operate a homecare agency. Before this I was an in-home caregiver (mostly to the elderly) for 25 years.
The two main reasons why families "place" an elderly LO are stubbornness and incontinence.
Here is how you handle your mother. She wears the Depends or she goes into care. It is not her decision. If she is not too advanced in her dementia make her understand in plain terms that pridefulness will be tolerated in your house.
So it's the Depends or the nursing home.
If you have to tape them on her, do it. She'll get used to it. Then have a toileting schedule too. I've had clients where we had to tape their diapers on with duct tape because they'd get out of them. Easily and safely removed with a pair of rounded-tip bandage scissors. These kinds of scissors are used in hospitals and care facilities to cut dressings from wounds. They are safe. Get some.
You will always have to inspect the bathroom after she uses it. That's not going to change. You can make her use the Depends though.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to BurntCaregiver
Mckeez1 Apr 26, 2023
Taping diapers on anyone is beyond unacceptable! It is cruel! I found some jumpers on Amazon that zip and snap in the back and they have zippers on the legs for easy changes or restroom visits. Wishing you all the best!!
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I told my Mother her choice was between;
1. the nice soft pullups or
2. Huge bulky Nursing Home style incontinence pads.

Look & feel (+ independance/pride) was important to her. Cost too, so explaining 1 was cheaper & looked nicer than 2 has worked.

Be conscious that 'forgetting or refusing' can also be *faulty memory* eg can't actually remember the sequence of dressing, or work out tops from bottoms or how to put on. Also mobility, bending, placing legs in the holes etc due to pain, stiffness, loss of balance, fear or falling.

My guess is your Mom is on the edge of needing assistance with this now - either supervision, prompting, or hands-on help.

YES to hide those scissors!
And remove all other underwear options.

If she chooses to go 'commando' then I would cover my house, all furniture & beds with incontinence mats.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Beatty

Take away scissors and cutting instruments, first of all, so an elder w dementia has no access to sharp tools with which to wreak bloody havoc with. Lock up chemicals too. It doesn't take courage as much as a plan of firm action to care for a loved one at home w dementia. Including a 2 hr toilet schedule where you accompany her to the bathroom to help with clean up if she has to void. If briefs are an ongoing issue, dress her in Alzheimer's anti strip clothing you can find on Amazon. Put the brief on first, then she can't take it off and make a mess. The clothing looks nice and serves a useful purpose at the same time.

If things continue to progress to where life becomes unmanageable for you, look into Memory Care Assisted Living. My mother lived in MC for the last 3 years of her life w advanced dementia bc there was no way on earth I'd have been able or willing to handle her myriad issues.

I suggest you read this 33 of booklet online about managing dementia and what to expect with an elder who's been diagnosed with it.

Understanding the Dementia Experience, by Jennifer Ghent-Fuller

Jennifer is a nurse who worked for many years as an educator and counsellor for people with dementia and their families, as well as others in caring roles. She addresses the emotional and grief issues in the contexts in which they arise for families living with dementia. The reviews for her books are phenomenal b/c they are written in plain English & very easy to read/understand. Her writings have been VERY helpful for me.

The full copy of her book is available here:

Best of luck to you
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to lealonnie1

Your mom's ability to make good choices is not really all there. It's probably time to remove her regular underwear from the home and leave no option but the Depends. I did switch my mom to the 'Dry Direct' brand, which are a little more expensive, but seem more comfortable because the fabric used for the sides is softer. Maybe try some samples of different brands?
At some point the need to keep them healthy trumps their preferences, though taking away their freedom of choice always feels rotten.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to ElizabethY
patriciawatrak Apr 20, 2023
Yes, I've been trying to get the courage to take away her regular underwear. I say courage because she has a temper and is still my mother. It's a hard road to travel. She says the depends are too tight around the edges, but she is 4.9 ft and weighs 113 lb. I'm afraid if I go any bigger, they'll fall off. I think you're right, I have to get rid of her underwear and just tell her it has to be this way. :/
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Sometimes its just the word Depends... I know Depends or other companies make some that look like underwear. Maybe that would be better.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Ohwow323
patriciawatrak Apr 20, 2023
I usually call them special panties. She cuts them up and I find them hidden in her drawers or bags.
Are there other ways also now that your mother simply doesn't understand, isn't able to retain? Cannot comply?

Do you ever now consider whether it may soon be time for in-facility care? Without your constant monitoring now I am afraid this is going to not be controllable. Do you still feel capable of such close and continuous care?

I wish I had an answer to the depends thing? I think it does become a bit like a toddler who removes things--they don't like the "feeling of it" and their automatic response is to get rid of it. And they cannot really be reasoned with about it.
I certainly don't mean like a toddler in the sense of cleanup, because it is so much worse.

I am really sorry, and wish I had a good answer for you, and I hope someone else does. We in nursing sometimes used tapes that were not removable unless cut apart, but it was by no means a foolproof solution, and we really had none but cleanup.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to AlvaDeer
patriciawatrak Apr 20, 2023
Thank you, Alva. It is comforting just the read helpful and thoughtful replies.
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