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I have been caring for my father for the last 20 years since my Mom passed away. He is 82 now. Recently he's been having "accidents" in his pants. He changes his clothes but doesn't clean himself very well and leaves the toilet seat a mess. He doesn't say anything, just leaves the clothes near the washer. Since I'm his daughter I find it hard to talk to him about things that are so personal and probably embarrassing. Looking for some advice.

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Ive had several talks with my 84 year old Dad. I always just blurt out whatever needs to be said. My Dad has a catheter in right now, so peeing isnt the problem, but yesterday he made a doozy of a mess, and i still cant figure out how he managed it. The bathroom was unsoiled, but the trail of destruction started just outside the bathroom door.... I found what appeared to be mud, on this walker ski, (i wish it had been mud), tracked through my parents bedroom, down the hall, out on the front porch, (to get the paper), and across the kitchen floor, ending at his recliner. There were a couple "chunks" in the bedroom.... I still dont know how he managed to poop on the floor, and then drag his walker through it...
The worst part is that home health care nursing was coming and i couldn't get him to the shower, before they got here, or until i cleaned up the trail. His attitude and answer when i asked "what's up with the trail of nasty Dad?" Was kind of smug, and "it was dark, i couldn't see". Dad gets up when he wakes up, sometimes 2 AM, rarely as late as 8.
I have basically moved in with my parents, and because he fell recently, im sleeping in the livingroom so i can hear his morning travels, (i also got him a whistle)....

The poop thing is frustrating, i can only assume he pooped his pants. Its happened a couple times, (this was the first time for the trail). He NEVER says anything, so you find it all by accident. I get so tired of one way conversations. He has not been cleaning himself well, and im wondering if hes wiping at all. I got him some wipes, and broke it down for him, on how to wipe, look, and continue this process until its clean.
I pray for all of you dealing with similar situations.... I use a lot of laughter to get through it... And wine... Theres always wine!
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time to hire caregivers if that becomes regular and you feel if it's too much work for you.
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It sounds as though he has dementia, and in my experience, Dad doesn't realize what is happening and probably thinks he's doing okay with cleaning up. It certainly isn't pleasant for you but he is probably doing the best he can. I hope you have a copy of the poem, "don't ask me to remember" . It makes life so much easier for both the caregiver and the patient. God bless you both.
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Has he been on antibiotics lately? My husband had fecal incontinence, turned out to be C-diff from the antibiotics. Again, recently, it was sterile diarrhea from the antibiotics. Doctor put him on a round of Flagyl (and probiotics for the first one) and that took care of it. So far he's cleaning up the area pretty well, but I have to remind him about cleaning himself up well. I keep the antibacterial wipes handy for this, also to prevent UTI's for myself, but have to remind him not to flush them, as we have a septic tank.
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I cared for my mom for three years in my home. She did not have dementia. She came to live with me with many health issues and she was incontinent as well. I put her on a schedule and took her to the bathroom regularly. She'd tell me she didn't have to go but I asked her to try anyway and also used the excuse that it was good to walk a little after sitting for a while. She got to the point where only rarely had an accident. The doctor told me the bladder can be trained and that seems to be what we were able to accomplish by this regular routine of trips to the bathroom. So much easier to help her to the bathroom than clean up messes.
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Found another bidet manufacturer besides the Bio-Bidet. You can check out brondell for more choices.
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Some of things my mom did makeme laugh. One day she had to go to bathroom we put her in her potty chair rolling her across floor to bath rm. She didn't make it ,poop mess everywhere I stepped right into it..My 90 yr old Mother couldn't stop laughing. .one day I was pushing her in her wheel chair ran accidentally into large circle of cloths flipped her out onto the middle of rack & then I fell on top of her I was laughing so hard .I accidentally peed my pants on her..She said get off of me. You peed on me!! Then she said to me your going to smash me! I weighed 248lbs mom weight 110 lbs After that she didn't trust me anymore..I would give anything just to be with her again. I have lots of funny stories to tell about mom..
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Matt383- thanks for mentioning the BioBidet- saved me a bit of research. Also some people don't know about this- there is an inexpensive wand that holds (and then releases) toilet tissue for people struggling with reach issues. May be a solution for some people but the BioBidet could be a mini-shower in regards to smells, hand contamination, embarrassment, etc.
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Incontinence is not "having accidents". Incontinence is a losing of the ability to have the sensation of having to eliminate on the toilet and/or losing the muscle function to control the flow, so to speak. If a person is sitting up, in a chair and eliminating right there, I wonder if he/she thinks they are on the toilet.
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Those of you who said that the parent sits up straight on the edge of the chair then relaxes back after the "deed is done" might try calling the elder on this one. When (s)he sits up and assumes that posture, say something like don't you think it's time to visit the bathroom. I'm lucky, my mother does have accidents, but at this point they are really accidents sounds like those who sit up straight and poop are doing it on purpose.
we caregivers have enough on us without a parent/loved one making it harder.
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Moms66angel, I suppose you could be right. But there's a lot to be said about following your gut. Yes, my parents both cleaned up after me; I'll always be grateful for that. However, we're talking about something like childhood, a finite period of time during which such things would eventually cease under normal circumstances.

Doing the same for a grown adult for an interminable amount of time, with a full-time job and obligations of my own, is not something I signed up for, as parents do when they decide to have children.

Of course, I would see to it that Dad would receive the best care possible, even if it isn't rendered by me personally.
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What's funny, too, is I know darned well my aunt would NEVER have adjusted her life to take care of HER mother when she became dependent. No, MY mother, the youngest of her four siblings did, with seven of us kids still at home. So, you see the track record of a selfish life lead by my aunt. She rarely came to visit any of us. When she did, my dad couldn't stand it! Those days are gone now and she's just as nice as nice can be. Funny, her neighbor where she lived for years told me when I flew there to get her, "She used to yell at us all of the time about us not parking our cars in front of her house and this and that. It seems since she got D, she's forgotten she doesn't like us and now she's really nice!' Weird. I'm lucky to have it that way and not the other way around as a lot of you do. I'm praying for everyone that has a not so pleasant elder!! This D is like H*ll on Earth.
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It's nice to hear when people say they are taking care of someone they feel is like a "best friend". I am taking care of a woman that was so opinionated with cutting remarks her whole life, no one else in the family, including her siblings, wanted anything to do with her. I, for some reason, as a kid, I was always intrigued by her, the hippie teacher that she was. I did, though, as I matured, learn to deal with her insults to my family members. I shut her down at all points when she would bring up, say, my father, or say something nasty about my mother, her sister. No, there is no love fest going on here. I DO love my aunt, I am not in love with her. She is fortunate that I have chosen to save her from herself. Yes, she gives me her SS, $1K per month. By God, I deserve it! How's that for admitting some personal stuff? D*mn it, it feels good to have someone who is there at it, listening to me. Thank you, God, for this forum. Amen. In fact, I'm near Tarpon Springs, Florida if anyone would like to do lunch!
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Drummergirl, I suppose you don't know if you can do it until it happens? Truthfully, I didn't know if I could. But then came the stroke and Dad had died. What helps me is that she's my Mom -- and my best friend. I think of the times when she had to clean up after me or one of her other children when we were sick or couldn't clean up after ourselves. I'll bet she wasn't thrilled to clean up the dirty diapers of 5 children -- and there weren't disposable ones then! :-) When we got sick to our stomachs or wet the bed, she'd just do it. Oh, I may gag at times, but I think of all the times she'd clean up after us. But it's a good time for you to think of it and make plans before things worsen.
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I'm sorry to hear that, tooyoung. I can't imagine how it must be caring for your husband under those circumstances. Thank you though.

It's difficult enough trying to stay on top of things as they occur and attempt at keeping life as balanced as possible. What a complicated situation to anticipate, and it just isn't as simple as "having finances in order" et al. Being DPOA, health care proxy and a loving daughter (with an unfailingly supportive husband) has already presented many challenges (and yes, rewards), but fortunately things are still very manageable in the grooming/hygiene department.

I have found that worrying myself needlessly about what the future may bring introduces unproductive worry, but it has also enabled me to realize just what I most likely can and cannot withstand in my home environment. I've been pretty resilient so far, give or take a crying spell or two. However, the 24/7 aspect of that sort of care is out of my scope. It isn't easy admitting to this in a forum of outstanding caregivers who have dealt with so much more, though.
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"Not for lack of love, but more an acceptance of personal limitations." Well said Drummergirl! I often wonder where my personal limitations will be. Much like dirtydemensia01, I think it might be when he "starts throwing sh*t at me." Never thought I'd be dealing with this at the at of 61, with my husband who is 62. Hate this disease (Lewy Body Demenia AND early onset) more than I can express!!!
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Thanks for your reply, dirtydimensia01. I am not equipped emotionally *or* financially for that kind of arrangement. That's where practical caveats of Dad living with us would arise.

He covers his own (occasional) non-VA care expenses, and where that ends, I would summon the counsel of his VA doc and related resources. This is not for lack of love, but more an acceptance of personal limitations.
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I am assuming your dad has some form of dementia or alz too and unfortunately with those diseases it is only going to get worse. When my grandfather started with these issues my mom got a portable toilet for is bedroom so if he had to go it wasn't a long trip to the bathroom if they "forgot" they had to go. I was a teen then and all I can remember is it too was a mess to clean up. I remember my mom and dad going to him when he had an accident and telling him if he had an accident that he needed to shower every time it happens. Of course he denied he had the accident and tried to blame the dog for going on the floor. (dog was trained). The best thing my parents did was realize that the best thing for him was to go to a nursing home where he could get the care he deserved to get. It was a very hard decision for them as they wanted to keep him home but I the end they knew the care that they were giving just wasn't enough and as his mental issues got worse they knew they just couldn't do it. Now I have my Mother In Law at home she too has Dementia and Psychosis along with some other minor mental issues and has just been diagnosed with CHF. Every day I get the "Oh I forgot" excuse. Right now she isn't having accidents but my husband and I have had that discussion and we both know that once that starts happening I just can continue to care for her the way she deserves to be cared for and still care for my own family and have a life of my own too (which we all deserve too). With the Dementia getting worse I will predict maybe a max of 3 years more here at my home before she will need nursing home care.

Just remember its ok to put yourself and your family first too and realize when no matter how much we want to care for our aging parents sometimes that isn't the best choice.
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One of the things I do is purchase wipes for my father to use. This helps with clean up. I always check the toilet and use a Lysol wipe for clean up if needed, and with soiled underwear I spray with Oxy-Laundry solution and add some bleach to my water and they clean up fine. My father is not as flexible as he used to be and he has had some shoulder issues so he has some difficulty with cleaning himself-the wipes really help so there is less mess for me to clean. When my father had surgery on his shoulder and couldn't take care of himself, I just did it without talking about it. I don't hesitate to speak of any issues I'm seeing for I feel it's best to just get it out there, discuss it then leave it alone. It saves embarrassment and the issues has been discussed with solutions.
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Drummergirl, if it's coming your way, you had better make well laid plans, and have the finances to do so, if you are dead set that you feel you "would not be able to handle this stage of aging...". My own sister tells me, "I don't know how you do it. How much longer are you going to do this?" I suppose I will until she starts throwing crap at me!
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These are all great responses. However, am I the only one who feels as if I would not be able to handle this stage of aging ... at all? There is no way I could even imagine dealing with this sort of thing on an indefinite basis.
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My mother is 86 with an intestinal disease, and I'm just so glad I found this site! It's so great to read advice from others who are going thru the same thing. My mom's on Depends, has been for a few years. Thank you for the suggestion of the Diaper Genie. That is going to make her feel better, and do wonders for the smell. She's been putting her used ones in plastic shopping bags and leaving them in her room. Cleaned them out and had to use a double trash bag. Now she's on a clear liquid diet and I hope that will help. Today was the most I've cleaned up the bathroom and I was feeling down. When I saw the topic and read the various answers, it made me feel so much better and we've had frank discussions. I've brought up the toddler comparison as well. Luckily she's got a great sense of humor and only a bit of vascular dementia, which we're dealing with via medications. So again, thank you for the advice and suggestions!
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I have recently had the same problem with my father in law who is 82. I had to remove all of this regular underwear and replace it with depends. It was an adjustment at first, but now he doesn't know the difference.
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I think this has to be the worst thing for them to suffer. i feel guilty now as a few years ago i would really snap at mum as i couldnt understand why she was flinging her colostomy bags out the bedroom window and it just made me so angry and then if friends called id die with embarrassment as shed leave one in the toilet and my friends would see it but now i tell them, well one friend as she looked after her mum and had to clean her up alot so she understands. Theres days when i dont want anyone to call as the stress and cleanup is too much. this morning i had to pick up about 6 diapers in the bathroom as she was hiding them in her room then just dumped them in the bathroom but i know she probably intended to bring them down to the rubbish but then forgot. I dont know sometimes she thinks nothing of what shes done then she will clean up like she knows its so sad but you just dont go there with them anymore as they dont know what they are doing and when you point it out they get angry it must be awful for them. yep i hate this disease!
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This is so sad and bringo back memories from when my dad was adjusting to wearing protection. He was mortified and hated it. His Alzheimers kicked in and he cared less and less about sitting in it. I tried so hard to help him maintain his dignity. Until the very end, I never even saw him in his underwear. Just saying, the aging process can be cruel. Now I'm praying that my momma can pee with assistance.
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lot of good answers here so I'll be brief.
Depends are great. I make sure mom puts on a new pair everyday
As far as accidents...one day she vomited AND had a chocolate mess all over the toilet. She was picking up vomit with her bare hands while smearing a big mess on the toilet. Talk about a.cleanup.
Anyway...I bought a BIO-Bidet toilet seat. With a remote control.
look it up. It washes, rinses, and dries, my mom's rear and other.
Get the remote control because your dementia parent will have no idea how to operate.
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Ugh, us too with this problem. FIL claims he does not know if it happens (!!!!!!! How can that be?!!!!) I usually notice the stain on his outer clothing and then he argues with me about changing into clean ones. We did go to a gastro doc two years ago and he took him off milk products and gave him a high fiber diet, no sugar but he does not keep up with it unless I am standing right there watching. Also just found 10 ---TEN bags of candy in his room So glad we have all gone on a diabetic diet to compensate for HIS needs, UGH!
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It all depends what is condition your loved one has.
I remember one "son" confronting me on hording his mother's diapers because she does not remember having any accidents. Guess what? He did it on front his mother and I still remember how painful it was for her to hear me saying that, indeed, she has accidents every day when in my care (respite/day care). Maybe because she is confused and not sure where the bathroom is, maybe because she does not feel it coming and, by the time she makes it to the bathroom, it's too late and we need to change all her clothes, not only diaper.... I refused to continue discussion on front of her. He called me very next morning and said: "I apologize! My mother just pooped her pants and it was awful! I do not know how you can handle it every day...." and I did hear his mother crying next to him..... What was really awful that he was very open about discussing it on front of her and I knew how heart broken she was to hear that.
So, be considerate! Do not humiliate your patents! Just clean it up or learn how to avoid mess by simply preventing it: trip to the bathroom right after meal, reminding them to use bathroom more often before it's too late, "offering" (insisting!) on helping them to clean up butt, etc.... That's what I do every day.
Besides, keeping that but clean and applying lotions all the time you might prevent "bad sores" which happen not only in the bed. Easier to prevent than heal!
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There are surely various reasons some people have bathroom problems where they are unaware of their need to use the toilet, or may have gone in their pants or diaper and don't know they are soiled. It is true - is does happen, as I can personally attest. For me the doctors have told me a disease involving the signals from the nerves don't work (the nerves may be dead) and I don't feel anything. Plus I don't have a sense of small. I am embarrassed about the fact that I am offending, but can do nothing about it. I read some very good suggestions about helping with clean-up supplies, communicating, etc. Most of all, just be understanding that this is difficult for them as well as you.
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This is very hard for a daughter to approach her father my friend had same problem SO she got the nurse to have a word and her brother in law told him discreetly that he smells a bit! hes in good health but just smelt of pee.

Expect them to get angry though this is thier didnity and still my mum will tear my head off if i mention anything about her mess. I dont bother anymore just clean up like a robot.

You dont say if dad has dementia? as this is harder to deal with. my mum throws her dirty clothes on the kitchen floo?
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