Possible for mom to change her own diapers, on her way to toileting herself with PT? - AgingCare.com

Possible for mom to change her own diapers, on her way to toileting herself with PT?

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I'm especially interested in anyone who has tried this! I'm 61 with an auto-immune disease myself, taking care of mom, 96, in my home with 63 hours of theoretical aide help. I have 3 aides. One is reliable, others have been absent for 5 weeks since Thanksgiving. I'm beyond the end of my rope and getting sicker. There is severe aide shortage in my area so new aides immediately is not a possibility. I'm working closely with all three agencies on improving situation. In the meantime something's gotta change!! My mom's muscles are also atrophying from too much helplessness when she was in short-term rehab for 6 months last year -- it seems clear to me that doing more for herself is healthier for both of us. She has always been very active and definitely enjoys doing things. Please don't post making me wrong for not wanting to wait on my mother. Any suggestions based on your own successful experience of improving elder autonomy especially welcome. (Moving her into a nursing home is not an option either, as my disability income is not enough for me to live anywhere but subsidized housing, and I'm on the waiting list of 1-2 years.) Thank you!

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Lots of people do it, there are many, many who run into urinary incontinence early - I'm sure you've seen the ads! The only barriers would be if she isn't able to stand long enough to get her pants down or if she was too confused to understand the process. Fecal incontinence is more of a problem because it is messier and unless she can jump into the shower or has a bidet cleaning up can get it everywhere, as so many on the forum have discovered. A good strategy is to create a toileting schedule, have her sit on the toilet several times a day, especially after meals, so that the depends are more of a just in case than the only option. If you can figure out when to catch her bowel movements it is so much easier!!
As for changing herself, as long as she is cognitively able I sees no reason she can't do it. She will need something sturdy to hold, ask your landlord about installing grab bars or look into something like a SuperPole which is held in place without permanent screws. Do you have a toilet extension so it's easier for her to sit and rise? And have everything she needs within reach - baby wipes, diaper pail, clean Depends and dry pants.
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Going to also post this question as a broader topic about Caregiver Burnout. Still open to any experience about more autonomous toileting or diapers here.
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GoodEnergy, so sorry to hear of this situation. You sound like a very loving, resourceful daughter! Your mom is lucky to have you. Coping with your not-great health along with the AWOL aides sounds so trying.

Just thinking aloud here: so both the aide availability situation and the subsidized housing situation are not great in your area. Could you possibly move? Hoping for some ideas for you...
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We don't own the home, it's a rental.... Thinking this through, i see maybe I'm grasping at straws in desperation... She was able to stand and use the commode next to her bed until her last fall, broken ankle, last spring. She was and is very good at standing with steadiness by leaning against the commode.., She probably could again now, except some days her cognitive impairments have become quite worse. And, having been confined to bed 6 months in the rehab, her ability to know when she has to go is diminished, tho maybe that might come back.

So you've never heard of anyone changing their own Depends as a means of greater autonomy...? Too bad. It would be so helpful on the bad days.
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If your Mom moves to a nursing home and you are disabled, you should be able to stay in the home where you are now. Even if Medicaid puts a lien on your house, you should be able to stay.
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It's unclear from your post just what your mom is capable of now. At her age I wouldn't count on her being able to regain much physical ability that she has lost, especially if her muscles have atrophied from long time disuse. She may be capable of doing more than she is now though, as long as she is motivated to try and isn't suffering from any cognitive impairments. They key is to figure out how to work with what she can do, and then look for solutions to specific difficulties she is having. So what exactly keeps her from toileting? For example if she can't stand on her own that is a big problem that may not have a simple solution. Can you tell us more?
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