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It is amazing how that particular topic suddenly seems to be okay to bring up with anyone at anytime. On one level, it is funny, especially when it's someone else talking about their family member. On another level, this is the sort of thing that makes old age scary! I just hate the idea that the highlight of my day is going to be about whether or not I was able to go to the bathroom!
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A bit of humor here--years ago I saw a list comparing wishes and goals of the young versus those of the elderly. One of them was "wishing for a BMW" for the young but "wishing for a BM" for the elderly! I know I'm getting older because the term "senior" makes me think of SS, AARP, etc. instead of cap and gown!
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This is what the medical community calls "Bowel Fixation". It is more common in the elderly, but can be seen in any age group. I have seen it in teens, young adults, patients with Chron's disease, following bowel surgeries etc etc.
My father used to suffer from bowel fixation. He has dementia and is now conviced that he never urinates and/or deficates. Even if you show him the evidence. So if he flushes the toilet and we don't get to see the stool--he cannot tell us if he has had one. So, although the bowel fixation could be annoying, I knew that it is a very common fixation for the elderly. Now, however, we are often left wondering if his bowels are working correctly. Since he was hospitalized for 3 months due to a bowel impaction, ileus, c.diff--knowing how often he has a bowel movement is essential. I tell you this long tail so that we can all know that many of us are in the same boat. However, sometimes the bowel fixation isn't alway the worst thing in the world. Our code phrase is "OH CRAP" when we realize that had has passed stool and all systems are GO!! :-)
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I've been dealing with similar BM stories from my mom. She's constipated, things are too hard, nothing the doctor gives her helps. I finally started giving her a constipation recipe recommended by the local university digestive care center. Equal parts of prune juice, oat or wheat bran, and applesauce. Start with 2 tbsp per day and go up to 4 or 5 if needed. It tastes quite good, seems to help her, and has cut down on the BM discussions.
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Hopefully I wont come across as disrespectful because all of our issues here are real and being a caregiver is an all encompassing job. My MIL cannot walk. We have a commode next to her bed and she is still able to get up to pivot over and sit on the commode to go,then I get her back in bed and remove the commode pan and clean it. Not only does she talk about it constantly I have to clean it...so when she is so joyous about going I say "Oh I'm so jealous,I wish this was me!!!You must feel great" etc and then complain about my own problems and thats the end of it! I also draw a happy face with "BM" on her calander. I guess it could be worse...at least for now she can still sit up on th commode.......
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Thanks everyone for the helpful suggestions. I've decided to be happy for her and let her ramble on. You're right.....I may be here one day myself!!
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My father is 86 and just moved in with me (now two weeks today). He talks about bowl movements everyday. But I think he forgets that he went. Hmmm. The happy face on the calendar sounds like a great tool we can use together. I have enough to worry about after checking blood sugar, blood pressure and administering 9 pills a day. Thanks for the tip.
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Hello Marie unfortunately this is normal for some elders, they go back to a childlike exsistance, so just go along with her as hard as it maybe, make a joke of it with her, tell her yes Mom I have to go too but could you tell me about it a little later, and just laugh when she says it sometime. When it gets to be too much maybe just leave for awhile. It maybe hard for you to understand, but she does'nt think anything is wrong with this. Good Luck.
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This used to bother me too, when I first moved my mom in. I have learned after 3 years of living with her that she is going to talk about her BMs no matter what. She has always tended to be constipated, so when she has a good bowel movement it is a great source of happiness for her, but more than that her mind is eased over the issue. Because she can't go much, she is mentally relieved when she does go. I have found that my mom will instigate inappropriate conversations about a vast array of topics--not just poop. I have learned to be thankful that these conversations are usually just with me or her daytime caregiver, and not with my friends, other family or the public at large!!! LOL!
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oh what a relief to read others experiences...I was just thinking if I have to have one more deep and involved discussion about her bowels I will never get the images out of my head. I find if I will get into it, let her discuss it, several times during the day I can at least keep it from becoming a subject at mealtimes.
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ange02 is right on the mark. It is expected of geriatric patients. I also think the suggestion about making a game of it is also good. I find the lalalalalala method rather disrespectful.

I can't understand why a caregiver would be bothered by this really harmless discussion. Listening to what the person has to say and even participating in the discussion seems to me, at any rate, to be a very normal part of caregiving.
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Very, very common.
I worked as a nurse for many years & this concern was frequent & expected of our geriatric patients.
Perhaps she has a legit reason & maybe not but she does require others' patience.
Perhaps a daily stool softener would be helpful.
I realize this can be stressful for a caregiver but not intended by the patient.
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Here is an idea that might stop her talking about it completely! Start talking about yours!!! Yeah, and make it sound like yours are better than hers!

This may sound crazy but ya never know she just might stop and find another topic that will bug you because I think the reason she continues is because she knows it gets under your skin. Once you level the "playing" field I'll bet she'll quit.
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I love the lalalalala method. LOL I don't dare use it because it wouldn't go over well with my 97 yr old father. Yes, he is obsessed with his bowels. God forbid he doesn't go every day. I tried to tell him it's ok for one day. I told him to eat fruits, veg. drink water. I guess it is a common thing for the elderly. I know he strains because I can hear him. Like so many other things he doesn't listen. I buy him prune juice with pulp in it. OK enough of this sh-------y subject. :-)
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Lol, my mil does the same thing!!!!!!! I have told her I only want to know if you can not go but still sometimes she will go into detail. I have no idea how to stop this insane sharing, I love treatmenttime's answer! My mil is obssesed with not being able to go to the point where she wants you to give her laxatives all the time. I really have to word my questions in the right manner because if she can lie and get a laxative she will. Here is one better: I always check the bathroom out before I go in to shower, no telling what mil has left laying around-used depends, toilet paper, etc (nope, she doesn't have any mental problems just is that way and has been all the years I have been married to her son) so I was in the shower one day and as I am getting out what do you think I saw on the bathroom floor...............a piece of POOP!!!!!!!! I was horrified. I then go in and asked her if she had an accident or something, nope, much to my ever growing horror, SHE PICKED IT OUT WITH HER FINGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I call my husband and tell him he needs to come home and have a talk with his mother about digging poop out of her butt and then I bleached everything. We have to tell her frequently not to pick poop. My mil and I are not in the same book when it comes to hygeine, etc, I am pretty sure we are not in the same bookcase! So just he glad she is only talking about it and not picking it out in your house, in your main/guest bathroom and then going around touching things.
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My mother's doctor says this is very common in my mother's age group. We started tracking BMs on the calendar with happy faces so she wouldn't forget that she went that day (and to avoid unnecessary laxatives). My mom has been talking about it for years. I only set one boundary about when it's inappropriate to talk about it (and she never crosses it): when we are eating dinner with the whole family. At her age, it's a very important part of the day and key to her comfort and happiness. It's such a little concession to make because she's happy when she can talk about it. We make a little game out of it and always laugh when we can - give it nicknames "boom boom chat," the "poo chart," etc. Hey, join in the fun and talk about yours too! We'll all be there one day.
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This used to drive me insane too until I found a friend who's father constantly did the same thing and we began to "compare notes" and found lots to laugh about. Now I search for BM situations in life just to tell her about it and it's become an ongoing source of humor. There's nothing like a good "BM story"!
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When my MIL insists on doing the same after I have asked her not to - I have used the "oh so adult" tactic of putting my fingers in my ears and repeating lalalalalalalalalalalala until her lips stopped moving. She stopped talking bathroom, began badmouthing family members and guess what? I have created a multi-use lalalalalala, but you must put both fingers in your ears for the full effect! I FINALLY have a tool that will work every time. GOOD LUCK!
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