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Hubby and I live with and care for his mom, who is 91 with advanced dementia. (Already took care of deceased dad, so this has been an 8+ year project). We assist with most things, including wiping her after toileting, during the day. The problem occurs at night, when she goes on her own. She is currently mobile with walker (if she remembers to use it). She takes a small amount of laxative daily to keep things moving, which in turn causes feces to expel during most toileting events. Oh the joys! Anyway, at night she is either not remembering to wipe herself OR attempts to, but in the meantime, "cling-ons" are falling onto the floor, which she then steps in (unaware of course), and tracks back into the bedroom and into bed. Most mornings, I am wiping up the floor and collecting soiled laundry if necessary. We are currently enjoying uninterrupted sleep, but being greeted in the morning with some level of filth is getting tiresome. I set up a camera in her bedroom (one that is triggered by movement so not viewed until next day). Recently she had a blowout in her diaper during the night, which caused her to remove it, leave it on the bathroom floor (but out of sight, out of mind so she didn't know what happened to it), then she sent back to bed WITHOUT WIPING, which resulted in feces smeared inside her nightgown, ya da ya da. The humorous part was she knew something wasn't right, but couldn't figure it out, so she proceeded to make, then re-make her bed in the middle of the night. It wasn't soiled, thankfully, but she was obviously rattled enough to get side-tracked to make her bed. I think she eventually went to bed, can't remember ... sigh! Anyway, any suggestions regarding toileting issues in the night? I hate to stop the laxative entirely because her intestines are herniated in her pelvic area due to the Dowager Hump from osteoporosis, and doctor doesn't want that to get backed up. Thank you in advance!

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Cwillie, I agree, I'm thankful we are finally at the stage where my MIL toilets USUALLY only when we prompt her. The trips during the night aren't every night, thankfully. I think she wakes up and goes to the bathroom out of habit. I'm a little reluctant to reduce the PEG anymore at this point. Her abdomen is very distended due to a severely curved spine from osteoporosis, with a herniated bowl in her pelvic region. Doctor has said don't let that get plugged up, or she'll be needing surgery, and could lead to a quick decline. My MIL has used laxatives for YEARS(!!!!) before we started caring for her, so I'm afraid her body doesn't really know how to function without them. But you bring up a great point, with her eating less, there will be less output. You are also right about difficulty in finding the right balance. I told my husband the other night "no more bean soup!" EEEkkk! Thank you for your suggestions!
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It is strange to say but I am grateful my mom doesn't toilet on her own, it is so much easier when all you have to deal with is soiled diapers.
I imagine you have likely tried tweaking her laxatives already, but what about using the PEG every other day instead of daily? If her diet is reduced it isn't necessary for her to go every day as long as it doesn't become too dry and hard. I know with my mom it seems to be all or nothing, but for a while we had success with the PEG every other day and an added laxative like milk of magnesia or senna every third day to get things going. Of course when she hasn't gone in a week I am longing for the times she was going constantly, it is so hard to find the right balance.
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KathleenSCB, thanks for replying! Don't give up yet!!! I'm trying not to, but yes, am thankful I have my husband here to help (seeing as how it's his mom, lol). My "less laxative" didn't work well, so we are back at the one tsp. in the morning with water and breakfast. Our latest thing is getting her to eat, period (probably need to be in another section on this page for that). Pureed a meal today and made soup; less chewing helped her eat more as she gets pretty tired chewing these days, plus food gets stuck in her teeth, and then she obsesses about that. If she eats well, she seems to sleep longer, which makes sense. But the whole toileting thing is gone, which is a tough spot to be in for us caregivers! Hang in there! I'm glad we found each other!!!
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Hi Linda, Just reading your post and could not believe that is exactly what I am going through. I'm trying my best but it's just me with no one to help. Really wanted her last days to be here rather than a nursing home. I may have to change my mind on that and it's going to break my heart. I'm so sorry for you and for me too.
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Hi Linda33, oh no! Wow, you have your hands full. Your husband and MIL are so fortunate that you are doing all this for them! It sounds like you are maintaining your sense of humor -- that is remarkable!

Hopefully someone else may have some ideas. And in the meantime good luck with your experiment!
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Hi Lindylu ... my hubby calls me that sometimes, lol ... yes, MIL takes 1 tsp. polyethylene glycol only in the morning with 8oz of water. She used to take it at night too, along with a couple Colace a day .... Whoooweee, that got out of control as she's been losing control, so doctor said to eliminate the Colace. I stopped the evening laxative awhile back as she was really having troubles early morning. Its more of a hygiene thing, maybe? She plays with her diaper (which reminds me of finding my FIL with fingers in a poopy diaper after a nap; I promised to keep it between he and I until he passed). I agree with you and antibiotics and the use of Culturelle, from a personal standpoint, but thankfully, we haven't had any UTIs with my MIL, which totally blows my mind with her hygiene. Thank you for your comments - much appreciated! I'm thinking about dialing back on the laxative at this point, starting tomorrow.... ;-)
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Hi Linda, is your MIL on laxative or stool softener? Their systems are so sensitive, it's hard to avoid "all or nothing" and get that right balance -- ours takes several colace a day but we reduce it when he's on an antibiotic because otherwise things get very messy. Also we've had good luck with Culturelle helping when he has loose stool, but usually we give it to counteract effect of antibiotic. Maybe she could take laxative in AM and just stool softener in evening?

Anyhow, I'm sorry for you. Nothing like waking up to a poo mess:(
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