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I am caring for my 82 yr old grandma. She has a colostomy bag which is disposable and needs frequent changing. The problem I am having is that she no longer lets me change the bag for her. She went to stay with a relative for a couple weeks and during her visit she got little to no help with the changing of the stoma bag. She was left to her own devices and by the time she returned to my house, she insisted on doing the bag herself (in spite of her lack of ability) She ruined a whole box of stoma bags by over cutting them in an attempt to size the hole. She has some age related mental decline and is not the neatest person. She is forgetful and often careless. She puts the dirty stoma bagsx back in with the clean ones. I try to help her but she doesn't let me. She is also very sensitive so it is difficult for me to address these hygiene issues to her. I always speak softly and try to word things as gently as possible. Im worried about her stoma as it has become infected. She tells me "I changed the bag just now" but when i ask to check...I find the stoma naked with nothing but a paper towel covering the feces that's bulging out. I try to help her and let her know that she needs to accept the help or she will get and infection. She is very resistant. She isn't nasty verbally and she never gets an attitude, but she simply does not comply. She lies about changing the bag. When i get near her to hug her, she smells like feces really bad. She is constantly making a mess on the toilet. Everyday I have to scrub feces off of the toilet and surrounding areas. My dad (her son) makes excuses for her and never wants to sit down and talk to her about her hygiene for fear of embarassing her. It's understandable, but I also know that leaving a stoma exposed or without a CLEAN bag can lead to infection (which she has already had to go to the hospital for.) I am getting tired of cleaning up the same feces mess everyday, because this is something that can be avoided if she would only start letting me care for the bag again. She lets me do everything else for her. Sometimes I feel like she is taking advantage because she throws food/dirty toilet paper all over the house. I know part of this is related to her mental decline and age, but i still get frustrated and even more frustrated knowing that I can't express myself because I don't want to hurt anyones feelings. I'm starting to go through a lot of guilt because after I tell her "You need to change the bag, no butts about it" ...she get's upset and I feel so bad. I don't know what to do. I have grown accustomed to cleaning up all the messes she makes everywhere, but this thing with the bag and the feces on the toilet is just beginning to wear on my. Not just having to clean up the feces, but the stress of knowing she isn't caring for herself. Nobody understands and everytime i try to address it to my dad, he just thinks I'm complaining. I don't know what to do...I've tried talking to her but she doesn't listen. This is really having a significant effect on my daily life and emotional wellbeing. What can I do to get her to be more accepting of my help. I truly love her and only want the best for her. Any help or suggestions/insight would be greatly aprreciated.

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Terry512 and 1RareFind someone added a post in April 2016, and that was "new post" as far as the automated notifier is concerned. I've gotten caught more than once, but now the first thing I do is notice the date. If it is very old I go to end to see what the recent posts are. Sometimes a person has found it in a search and added to it. If it a reply to the OP, I ignore the whole thing. If it is a "new" topic, I answer the latest poster, not the original.

It is not "AgingCare" that is causing these to come up as new posts -- it is posters added new comments.
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Dear Christa, thank God for caring granddaughters like you! I hope since starting this thread you have been able to benefit from everybody's great suggestions. Does Grandma enjoy music? If so, maybe she'll let you play some while you're taking care of her bag and personal needs. Frank Sinatra may be a good place to start, old Blue Eyes! Wishing you much luck!
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I didn't even realize it was that old, it came in my inbox, and anything that comes to my inbox I assume is recent. I didn't know it was old either until you guys just brought it to my attention
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I read all the comments and then went to the top comment where I saw that the original question was from October 17, 2012. This is almost 4 years ago! Surely, the situation is not the same as then. Why are we commenting to something that is 4 years old? If this had been a current comment, I and many others on this site would be glad to spend the time giving advice and help but I don't think gramalilhelper is still going thru the same situation as before. Is this really going on still?
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I would like to ask AgingCare.com why we are answering questions for a comment that is 4 years old!! The original comment was written on October 17, 2012 and people come on this site to help others and answer questions about some very personal experiences they have been thru and I'm sure this original letter from 4 years ago is not in the same situation today. Is the patient still having trouble with her grandma 4 years later? Has no one yet offered to help from her family? surely, the doctor or hospital has done something about the stoma. What I'm saying is, are we wasting our time and energy writing help comments for something that is not even happening today? Some of you wrote comments 4 hrs ago up to 12 hours ago but this is 4 years old!!! Nothing was answered between 2012 and 2015 that is showing. Did the patient die? Why are we even writing answers to something that may not even be a problem any longer?
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Oh how I hate AutoCorrect today! I was trying to explain that sometimes grandparents may not want to leave an inheritance for their grandkids who were not there for them when the grandparents most needed help, my last post above has a typo and this site has no edit button. Sorry for the typo
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After going through all of the replies here, I think I may have a better understanding for you as to why grandkids often avoid their grandparents. Do you remember when you were that age? We were all that age, and when were young we just don't know how to handle some situations. Therefore, we tend to run from what we don't understand (when we're young). When you're young and healthy, another thing to consider is just not wanting to be tied down with extra responsibility, especially if your life is going very well during your younger years. No young person wants that kind of responsibility, and they probably fear being called upon to help with eldercare. In fact, there are various other young age groups that tend to shy away from being called upon to help with eldercare, especially when the work turns out to be "dirty" work as you describe. Of course they may love their grandparents, but when faced with the strong possibility they may be called upon to help, that's when they all run for the hills. That's when our grandparents may do some serious soul searching to see whether or not they really want to leave their grandparents and inheritance later. This has actually happened because if you weren't there for them when they most needed you, chances are you probably won't get anything later. I'm not saying this is true in all cases, but it's definitely true in many other cases. In such cases, it's usually the people who were actually there, because they usually get rewarded. Again, not true in every case, but definitely many others
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OK, something really sounds familiar here. Right toward the end of my elderly friends life, he was also getting feces all over the bathroom. He also wore a colostomy bag like you're describing, but he had someone changing it for him, and he often had this done at either the local hospital or the VA hospital. I don't know the situation behind how the feces got all over the bathroom, but you may want to be very careful since you're always having to clean it up. You can actually become infected with h.pylori if you're not careful. Make sure to always scrub your hands very well or better yet wear rubber gloves and always clean them. You always want to use some kind of antibacterial cleaner to kill all possible germs left by the feces, because you can become infected. If you do, h.pylori is very hard to get rid of because it buries itself deep into your stomach lining, marking it very hard to get rid of. Symptoms often include excess gas, heartburn and acid reflux. Anyone can infect you in the type of situation you're describing, especially if they happen to not keep their hands as clean as you think. If not addressed and treated, h.pylori will definitely spread, and it thrives on sugar or anything that converts to sugar in your diet.

What I can suggest is that it would probably be a very good idea to get your mom some in-home healthcare to come in and help her because this is definitely an emergency that can lead to life-threatening illness. Even if you have to get her to the hospital, do so and do so quickly. If she gets plugged up with feces, this will definitely cause various life-threatening health problems, including appendicitis. If the appendix becomes inflamed and actually ruptures, it will most likely kill you. I would definitely have medical personnel step in on this one
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hi my grandmother was operated for a tumour last month and doc had put a colostomy bag..she cries a lot as she feels pain in stoma i guess. now doctor is saying that we cannot put it back as it has cancer in it and has spreaded all over..but my grandmother is recovering day by day..can this be happen..??or i think doctor is making fool out of us.pleae soebody let me know it this can be trated as i cannot see her in pain any more..please help..pleasee..
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find someone who is private - doesn't even have to be cnas.....they can be trained and do for you - expect to pay $13-15/hr
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Can cnas come to the house to help? My mom is in the same situation and no agency will come to the house so we had to put her in a nursing home which is awful!! Any advice on finding a person to come to the house to help?????
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I just want to say how lucky your Grandma is to have such a loving caring granddaughter. More often than not, grandchildren don't want to have too much to do with the grandparents when they become sick and senile. It's sad, because it means so much to the grandparent to retain that closeness. I am speaking from experience, as I see my own adult children keeping their distance from my Mom, who has always been the most loving and caring mother and grandmother. It's sad to see that her grandchildren have little patience, compassion, and understanding regarding her declining mental state. I give you tremendous kudos for the kind person you obviously are. Graceterry gave you excellent advice about being consistent and persistent in enforcing the proper care of the stoma. It is no small thing, and cannot go on being done in a haphazard manner. The lack of help from your Dad is not good at all, but sometimes men (and sons) are like this, especially in these delicate sensitive areas with women. So it's in your hands to say and think, "I'm sorry if this makes you feel embarrassed or uncomforable, but if it's not done properly you will feel much worse than embarrassed and uncomfortable!!" (Not to mention that it is entirely unfair for you to have the burden of the constant clean up of messes around the house, which could lead to unhealthy conditions for you all.) Maybe your Dad would change is attitude a bit if HE had to start cleaning up the messes around the house!! ;-) Best of luck to you, and hold your ground. Grandma has a saint for a granddaughter!
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Christa, so glad if something I have shared is helpful. And so glad you are getting some respite! You've earned it! You're right, just because you make some changes, the problem will not be solved overnight....it hasn't developed overnight and won't be solved overnight. In fact, Grandma's resistance may actually escalate to test your boundaries...Your also right about the importance of patience and consistency. Don't let her get away with pushing your "guilt" button! And if your dad is not willing or able to give any practical "hands-on" support or even any moral/emotional support, let him pay for the professional assistance from a home health agency (if grandma doesn't qualify for home health under a community service program of some kind).Remember to take good care of you so that you will be able to continue to take good care of grandma without being miserable/depressed/resentful. Even the most devoted and loving of daughters, grand-daughters, and daughters-in-law are all human and therefore it's good even for the most devoted and caring among us to be realistic in what we expect of ourselves. Thanks for the feedback. hugs and blessings, G~
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Thanks for all the great suggestions! I feel a whole lot better knowing that I'm not just crazy and that someone out there understands our situation! Your reply brought up some good points that I hadn't thought of myself. I'm going to try the reward/consequences system and see if that helps her to be more willing. After reading your advice I feel more confident/less guilty about taking a firm (but kind) approach. My grandmother is spending the weekend at my aunt's house right now. This has given me a couple days to find the time to reach out for help, as well as to have some "me-time" to reflect and regroup. When she returns Monday I am going to employ some of the above-mentioned skills and give it my best shot. But I also know that I can't just expect things to change overnight and I'm aware that this may take some time and I must remain patient & consistent. Thanks again, -Christa
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Oh, my dear, I admire your compassion, patience, and caring. I don't think I could do as well as you in this circumstance. Here are my thoughts, in no particular order.
(1) When dealing with children and some others, like your grandma perhaps, a good guideline sometimes is, "kind but firm."
(2) DON'T let her manipulate you with "hurt feelings." Better that you "hurt her feelings" than that she goes to the hospital with an infection.
(3) Sometimes you can shape someone's behavior with a system of rewards and consequences (not punishments). What are your grandma's favorite activities or "treats?" Whatever they are, use them as rewards for desirable behavior (e.g., allowing you to change her bag) or withdraw them until she exhibits the desired behavior. Always point out that she has a choice, as in, "Grandma, I love you and I don't want you to get sick. You can let me change your bag and (get a reward) or you can change it yourself and I will take away (whatever) until you allow me to change your bag. The choice is yours." This may sound harsh or cruel, but it's not. From what you have said, your grandma is very dependent on your care, which puts you in a position to use leverage (rewards/consequences) for her good. At this point, your grandma is "driving the bus" and grandma is in no shape to do so. (4) I hear that you get no practical or moral support from your dad. Think about having a visiting home health nurse or even a good CNA come and have a "kind but firm" straightforward talk with grandma about allowing you to help with the bag. Ideally, the health professional will be a LARGE person with a good balance of compassion and no-nonsense authoritarianism. If you have to pay out-of-pocket to get this kind of back-up, it would be money well-spent if you, grandma, or the family can possibly afford it.
(5) Get to a caregivers' support group ASAP and attend regularly.
(6) If you cannot imagine setting up some rewards & consequences for grandma so that YOU are driving the bus instead of her, go see a good professional therapist for support and coaching.
You write, "This is really having a significant effect on my daily life and emotional wellbeing." This situation - and your wellbeing - will only deteriorate further if something doesn't happen that hasn't happened before. "If nothing changes, nothing changes." It takes two to play and one to quit. Quit letting grandma manipulate you with guilt and passive-aggressive non-compliance. I do believe that you truly love her and want the best for her. Someone once said that if parents do their jobs well, their children will sometimes hate them. I'm thinking that the same may be true for the caregivers of mentally declining mentally declining octogenarians. Hope something I've suggested is helpful. Blessings to you and to your very fortunate grandmother.
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