My 77 year old mom has been living with us for the past 4 years. She had a stroke in 2014 and can't drive or really manage her finances, so I do both those things for her. The past six weeks she's had two episodes that I don't know how to deal with. First, she didn't want to eat at all on a Sunday and Monday I realized that there was quite a stench coming out of her bedroom. I went in to find that she was laying naked from the waist down on her bed, poop on her, her bed, floor and a massive amount of it on the chair she uses to watch TV. I told her if she didn't get up and into the bathroom to clean up, I'd have to call 911, I finally got her in there, although I had to do the cleaning up of her. My husband came home and helped me - between her bathroom and bedroom, we spend about 4 hours cleaning. She was too weak to do anything. We talked to her several days later, when she was feeling better, and told her we need her to let us know when there is a problem. Don't just sit there or lay there, crapping, for who knows how long. Let us know and we can help! When we mentioned that the mess in both bedroom and bathroom was horrific, she said she planned to clean up the mess - there was no way she could have done it very well. She can't smell (that sense has been gone for a while because of a car accident) so she couldn't tell what she was really subjecting us to. Well...

Weekend before last, she did it again. This time she stayed in the bathroom (I think because of our conversation previously) and apparently her legs started bothering her, so she got on the floor and just laid there for nearly 8 hours. She refused any offers I made of helping her and just wanted to lay there, half naked, on the floor. I was finally able to get her up and get her cleaned and into bed... but OMG, what a mess.

She does NOT want to go to a doctor to find out what is going on. Now that she's feeling better, she says that she's never had this kind of thing happen before. She does usually take care of herself, keep her bedroom and bathroom neat and makes her own lunch. She's resumed that now. I'm concerned this will happen again. She's strong willed, stubborn and getting more difficult to deal with when she's sick.

I want her to go to a doctor - I don't want to have to deal with her crapping all over the place (the memories of her bedroom the first time are just horrific). Any suggestions?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
I can sympathize :(

Seek medical help. Might be constipation (with overflow) or a symptom of something else.

If Mum could clean up herself and your house, then I suppose this would be her own business & choice to not seek advice BUT as you have had to be involved, I feel you have a say to seek help. If Mum still refuses to go (even after explaining it is because you care etc) can you go see her Doctor yourself for advice?

My sister (disabled, similar issue to elder) has emptied her bowels twice in public & at my house leaving scenes (walls, floor, clothes, body, shoes, taps etc). Also refused to see Doctor. I made an appointment myself & was given a referal to a specialist incontinence clinic. A home visit (sisters) is booked - even better. Basically I blackmailed her & am refusing to take her anywhere in my car, or meet her anywhere except her house until she gets advice. She may be unable to follow it, or unable to change pads/clean up. If so, I have a decision to make whether this is a deal-breaker & AL or nursing home is now required.

I found humour to look back on those incidents has helped some. Now referred as the 'big brown bear days'.
Helpful Answer (2)

My mom had several blow-outs of her ostomy bag. My brother would get mad and say it was just laziness on her part (while we were both cleaning it up). I bit my tongue but tried to encourage mom to change it in a timely manner. I understand the cleaning part. Uhg!
Helpful Answer (2)

Absolutely! Sometimes I wonder how well I'd be coping if it weren't for him. He makes my life so much better. I'm sure yours does the same for you!
Helpful Answer (1)

Thank you! I thought the doctor was the right answer but she was so against it, I started to wonder if this was something that just happened. I hate that she's having problems. but I have to deal with it, I know. The damage done by her stroke was to her right side, affecting her arm and leg and she had aphasia and received therapy. There are many things she wants to do but can't (like ride a bike). The things I'm doing for her (driving and financial stuff) I'm doing because she really can't.

She was living in West Virginia when the stroke(s) happened and now she's with us in Chicago, IL. The doctors there were not talking to each other and she was on medications she didn't need. Now, all of her medical care is coordinated, but the doctors are different than what she had.

Adult diapers are an awesome suggestion but she was offended that we suggested them. If this happens a third time, I think that I'll make a demand that she wear them. Unfortunately, she messed multiple pairs of panties during both "occurrences". As to whether she'd grab them and put them on, I don't know. She resents me helping her during her mostly good days so I don't know if the adult diapers would work.

She's very different and difficult now that she's had her stroke. She barely talks us,, although she does talk to a cousin of my fathers that lives close to where they lived. She treats me pretty badly or ignores me unless I talk to her first. Until now I've not reached our for help; I've just been trying to deal with it. I think that this situation is beyond normal behavior by any definition though.

Well, I've made the appointment. Now, I'll see how difficult she is when I tell her that I'm taking her. She told me the first time this all happened (once she was cleaned up and in bed) that I was "being mean" by stating that I'd call 911 if she didn't get up and into the shower. I guess I'll just have to be mean.

Oh, btw, yeah, I have an awesome DH. For him to come home early from work to help me clean up and sterilize the mess was awesome. I know I can't pull him out of work often, but he chose to come home to help me and I couldn't have been more grateful.

Thank you all... I needed to vent and make sure I was on the right track.
Helpful Answer (3)
You are very welcome. I can relate to the hubby part. My husband is very supportive as well. Certainly helps. I have been supportive of his needs also. I am sure that you support your husband. We married the right guys, didn’t we? 😊

My dad had a stroke after his heart surgery. It’s a challenge to stay on top of caregiving. I took care of dad too. My mom lives with us. So, I get what you’re going through.

Vent anytime. Perfectly normal to get frustrated and even overwhelmed at times.

We are here for you. Sorry you are going through this. Sorry she is going through this. You know she doesn’t want this anymore than you do. Nevertheless, it must be terribly frustrating for you.

Read the very last paragraph of your post. There is your answer. You know she needs to see a doctor. You answered your own question perfectly. She has some type of medical concern. The sooner she gets to the doctor, the sooner she will get some answers and hopefully help.

One thing that jumped off the page to me was that you got her to comply by saying that you would call 911. That’s brilliant!

I understand wanting input from others, can be helpful but you seem to have a handle on things. Do not doubt yourself. You are doing great with a challenging situation.

Make her appointment. Canceling is not an option. If she doesn’t comply, try the 911 thing again. It worked the first time with her. Best of luck to you. I hope you will get help for her soon and that you and husband can get much needed rest. Hugs!
Helpful Answer (2)

My gosh--of course she needs to see a DR.! By no means is this 'normal' behavior! To CHOOSE to lay half naked on a cold bathroom floor for 8 hours and poop all over--and somehow thinking she is going to get up from that and somehow clean it up??

Once would be bad. Twice is a pattern and a real problem.

First off call for a drs appt whether she wants to go or not. Don't even give her an option on that.

Second, until you have an idea why this is happening, get some really good quality adult diapers for her. I have little experience with these, so I hope others pipe in with brand name, etc. I would get the kind that rip down the sides, or are an adult version of diapers. Then if she has another of these can get her in the shower before you take this off.

Third, put CHUX pads under her in her bed and wherever she sits. I assume you threw that chair out?? My mom's recliner has been peed in so many times, it's beyond disgusting. She also cannot smell, but common sense should tell you that poop and pee can in fact have quite an odor.

She might have and impaction (they are miserable) when stool gets old and dry and 'sticks' in the rectum....nothing can go past, then suddenly, diarrhea hits and it blows PAST the impaction. Things settle down, appetite returns..and then it happens again. (This happens in kids when they get playing and don't want to take time to go potty and they'll get backed up---then it HURTS to go).

Hopefully it's nothing more serious than that and you can get her cleaned out and things moving smoothly.

I hope you are bleaching the bejeebers out of everything she's pooped on. If there are 'bad' bacteria in there it could start a real nasty downward spiral of gut issues, in you guys, too.

Sadly, this isn't one of those 'aging' moments where we can choose to be super sweet and gentle. This is a cleanliness/health issue for the entire household.

And God bless your DH!! Mine can't even clean up after HIMSELF when he's been sick.
Helpful Answer (3)

Have her doctors said anything more about the damage to her brain other than she can't drive or handle her own finances? I'd discuss what's happening with her doctor. They can check to see if she has had further decline or if something else is going on with her. I would be concerned that she has suffered from the strokes and that it is causing these issues. I would just inform her doctor, because, she may not be able to properly understand why it's important.

I know quite a few people, whose family members who have dementia began having terrible times with toileting issues. A friend of mine returned home from being out of town and discovered feces all over his mother's quarters. She had smeared it all over walls, appliances, floors, etc. He had to get professional cleaners in to sanitize the place. My own LO insisted on wearing depends and staying in soiled ones even when she seemed perfectly able to go to bathroom. She could not provide me with an answer why she did this. There is something about it, where the mind just goes there. I know that it's so frustrating.

The only thing I know is to provide her 24/7 supervision, to prevent her from doing it.
Helpful Answer (2)

Tell her you want her to consult her doctor, and no nonsense. Tell her this is NOT about two embarrassing* bathroom accidents, it is about what *caused* them, which could be really serious and nothing at all do with her personal hygiene, and nobody is blaming her for it. Tell her that unless she wants this to start happening more and more often, she needs to do the sensible thing and SEE HER DOCTOR.

Be kind but be a rock! Best of luck, hope you can change her mind.

* And for you and DH horrendous!!! Aaaarrrgggh!!! - but don't say that to her, poor love.
Helpful Answer (3)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter