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Ok, I’ll try to make this as short and simple as possible. My dad is 83 and has bowel incontinence and my wife and I end up having to clean him up and change him all the time, which is pretty disgusting most of the time. He cannot stand or walk, but can sit-up, roll over, and do board transfers to and from his bed. My question is this: If he can operate a television remote control then why can’t he wipe his own butt and spare us of having to do it all the time? He’s been diagnosed as having some early onset dementia, but I don’t see how that is preventing him from feeding himself, operating his wheelchair, etc. please explain if I’m just not comprehending the reason as to why he would be incapable.

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Your profile says that your dad has dementia. I'd read a lot about how that works. Something, whether it's Alzheimers, Parkinson's, Lewy Bodies, etc. causes the brain damage that results in dementia. Parts of the brain are damaged that prevent the patient from having their full faculties, so, they may act different. They may lose inhibitions, forget how to walk, lose the ability to control their bladder or bowels, forget how to chew or swallow. There is something that is called Loss of initiative. So, that the person may see a sign and be able to read, but, just doesn't get the idea to read. They may see plate of food, be hungry, but, just not have the initiative to pick up the food and eat it. It sound illogical, but, I've read about it and seen it myself.

When my LO became incontinent, she didn't even realize when she was going in her pants. She was completely oblivious to it. Also, the coordination may be off on some things and not on others. My LO could not put one foot in front of the other to walk, but, she could use her feet to propel her in a wheelchair. The brain works is odd ways.

I'd accept that your dad is not capable of doing better or he would and explore alternate care for him. Changing diapers and clean up would be very difficult things to do for a parent. I know that I would not be able to do it. Bless you.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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You don’t have to continue changing your dad. It’s ok to make that your limit. I myself will NOT change a grown adult who has popped themselves. If you & your wife refuse to clean his butt the next time it happens & just leave him with the cleaning supplies and clean clothes, just see what happens. Maybe he will clean himself up. Well wait....now that I see he is 97, I am not so sure he will clean himself. I think if you and your wife are at your limit and cannot continue to clean him, you need to place him in a facility.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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Ask his doctor for some occupational therapy for dad. I have no idea if that will help but I would have his behind on a commode at regular times of the day. Maybe keep a poop chart. Record when he eats and when he poops. Might not work every time but worth a try. A bidet might be a good thing to spend his income on?
As to why, a young child will call for cleaning after the age where they could handle the job. Perhaps your dad has gone there mentally?
You are fortunate to have a wife who is willing to help you. I’m afraid I would not. An accident is one thing but not as a way of life.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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BobBobTheDog Oct 28, 2019
Thanks 97, Dad has become harder to communicate with over the last 6 months or so. It’s a real challenge sometimes! He’s had occupational therapy but finding a hired caregiver that will work on this with him has been an ongoing struggle.
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Hard to say, sometimes people just get lazy and feel entitled. I couldn't do it, would never consider doing this. I would have to place him in a facility as I am not clinically trained and do not want to be.

Why should he do these things if you are going to do them for him, sounds like there is some enabling going on. An enabler does for others what they can do themselves, is that you and your wife?

Have a talk with him, tell him what is on your mind, if he refuses to comply or cannot comply find a AL home for him, they are trained to handle the elderly who are in need of assistance.
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BobBobTheDog Oct 28, 2019
Dad was basically “handed off” to us when his last wife died of cancer. She was his primary caregiver and that is what they provided him with. I have no desire to continue down this path. I’m trying to determine if what I’m expecting is possible, or is he acting helpless so others do the “dirty work”...
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Early onset is dementia that occurs before the age of 65; dad has early stage late onset.

The way that dementia effects each person is unique. Guidelines that you read are just that, guidelines. There is no set way how the disease will progress, it is different for each person, unique set of symptom onset and the progression of them.

Why? He may be able to use a remote, but not able to change himself. Doesn't make sense to him, he is unsure of the steps to take, may not even realise changing needs to be done.

Changing was my line in the sand. My mom had chronic diarrhea as long as I can remember, back to her 40's. That was the thing I would not be able to do on a 2-3 time a day basis. When that happened she would have to go to a facility. Maybe it is time for dad so that you can once again become just the son that advocates for him. And there is nothing wrong with that. We all have our limits.
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