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Mom will empty an entire box of tissue within hours of opening it. She refuses to change her soiled depends, she wraps the soiled areas with toilet paper. Then she refuses to shower. When she does use the toilet, she saves the soiled paper, she folds it neatly into a perfect square and places it into her dresser of under garments.


Why does she do this?

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It really does not matter the why's of a lot of things when it comes to dementia.
Supervision in the bathroom.
Gentle reminders about where things go.
Prompting when necessary.
Eventually the Supervision will become full care
Eventually the gentle reminders and prompting will not help and you will be doing all the hands on care.
It may actually be at that point.
Showering daily is not a necessity but keeping peri areas clean and dry are. Handwashing is also important.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Beatty Sep 26, 2022
So well put!
This is the how-to guide in a nutshell everyone needs!
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Your mother does this because she has dementia. No doubt about it.
Being pre-occupied with their own feces and refusing to wash are classic dementia behaviors.
It's time for her to have help because she's going to become seriously ill from continual exposure to her own crap and saving toilet paper soiled with it.
You have to take over now. She does not get to choose whether or not she wants to shower or wear clean clothes, or change her Depend. You have to force her to. If you have to literally shove her into the bathoom and into the shower or onto the toilet, or into washing up with the basin and soap - Do it.
Let her throw a tantrum. Let her cry. Ignore it because she cannot be allowed to continue living as you say she does.
If you're unable to do this on your own, hire caragivers to help.
Or place her in a managed care facility.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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Has your mom been diagnosed with dementia? This pretty common dementia behavior.

The "reason" is that the person's brain is broken and these action make sense to them.

The best measure you can take would be to restrict her access to these products.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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You mention nothing in ur profile saying Mom has Dementia. This is Dementia behaviour.

For me toileting was the worse job but if i didn' to it mom had stuff all over. Its time for you to be there. You don't ask, you just do. If you think she is going to play with her depends after you have disposed of them, then move whatever u use to put them in. I took the tissue box away from Mom because she was taking the used ones and putting them back in. She got mad at me too. She did not play with toilet paper, but she counted the squares, folding them, until she hit 8 and then tore them off. If Mom is playing with toilet paper put it where she can't reach it because now you will be with her when she goes.

As Dementia worsens people get more like children. You would not let a toddler do what Mom is doing. You would not let a toddler tell u no when their diaper needs changing. Like a toddler you don't ask "do you want to change your diaper". They will probably will say no. Same with someone who is suffering from Dementia. You don't ask. You just walk them to the bathroom and get done what needs to be done.

Sorry, but its time for you to take over the toileting. And this is just the beginning. Mom should never be left alone. She may get beyond the care you can provide so MC or LTC will be needed. Depends on what she can afford.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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It does not matter why she does it as much as it matters that she now needs someone with her for toileting. You or someone you hire.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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Interesting, we had to have the septic company out. Workman said tank entrance was "clogged" with a big roll of toilet paper. Lovely woman became obsessed with cleaning herself but kept it to herself (and the septic company). You have never really lived until the septic tank backs up and starts spewing from the toilet!
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Reply to Moxies
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PeggySue2020 Sep 29, 2022
Wait, didn’t you say you live at an al? They’re all on septic?
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I don't understand either why she does this. My mom did something similar at home. She would not wear or keep pads in her underwear so I was constantly washing soiled underwear, pants, sheets and putting protection towels on chairs. She also saved soiled toilet paper and soiled pads. I would find them everywhere and be constantly throwing them away. And try to get her in clean pads and underwear in the morning and after showers. I also found full poops on a couple of times on bathroom counters, floor and the toilet. One time that she had diarrhea it was on walls(!?!), counters, toilet, hands, towels and clothes. I think she just didn't know what to do. We also had incidents when we were out where she lost bladder control in stores -- so if we had a shopping trip -- I started bringing extra underwear, pads and pants. Now that she is in Memory Care she is in adult pull-ups -- they knew she needed them when I did not. I just wanted to share that I saw similar behavior but at the time at home didn't always know how to manage it. I am interested to here if anyone here was able to manage this. Do take care. It's hard for sure.
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CassandraMae Sep 29, 2022
As a caregiver, I've had clients who you just had to stay with them, follow them around talking to them, and if they started to "assume the position" to go anywhere other than the bathroom, you had a portable toilet at hand to just kind of slide under them and get them to sit on. Sometimes they get to a point they really can't be left alone. Sometimes this is a memory issue, other times if they were going to go to the bathroom but someone was in there and they couldn't wait. Sometimes there is a combination memory issue and them not being comfortable needing help in the bathroom until it's almost too late to deal with whatever they need to do. Our instructions were usually to set a cell phone alarm and remind them at least every two hours to use the bathroom which would in theory avoid "emergencies" but in reality they rarely were receptive to going to the toilet on a schedule. I found it pretty helpful to say, "I've got to go to the bathroom soon, do you want to use it first so you don't have to when I'm in there?" If they say no, go in, wash your hands or whatever, then come out and say "I'm done, do you have to go now?" Sometimes just a little extra time to think about it made the "frequent reminders" more effective.
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You don't say it, but does your Mom have dementia? This kind of illogical behavior and behavior that regresses to childlike behavior is common with dementia. She needs help now with toileting and showering. It's best to have a regular schedule, say 3 times a day to take her to the toilet and showering 2-3 times a week or as needed. Someone should go with her when she goes to the toilet and make sure the Depends goes in the trash and she puts on fresh Depends. For the shower, get her a shower chair and use the spray shower if she has one. If she doesn't have a spray shower you can use a sponge and sponge bathe her in the shower; have a small bucket to dump water for washing her hair. Don't try to teach her not to do what she is doing, just prevent it by being with her and helping her. She may be eligible for some in-home care through Medicare/Medicaid. Get connected with a local social worker to discuss your Mom's options, and yours, if you are currently her primary caregiver. There are programs that pay family caregivers. Have a plan for a time when her care may be too much for you to do alone. She has two basic options, in-home caregivers (family, hired or both), or moving to an assisted living/memory care/skilled nursing facility. Caregivers can help her with dressing, toileting, showering, light housekeeping, etc. If you have caregivers coming to her/your home, lock up the valuables and personal papers. Hopefully all of her paperwork is in order and you are her POA and can take over her financial matters. I found it easiest to set up my Mom's accounts online and do everything online and paperless. While she is still capable of saying things, make sure you are on file with Medicare and Social Security to be able to speak on her behalf. You can do this with a phone call and her sitting next to you. All the best to you both.
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PatsyN Sep 29, 2022
All great advice. Though it makes me flash back to the time I made a special trip to my mom's, trying to get some of their investments switched from my late dad's/ her name to just hers. The company, on the phone, just needed her to tell them her DOB and SS# for ID. (Totally legit.) She couldn't remember her birthday on that particular day. (And didn't know her SS#. Heck I have to take a minute to run through mine when someone asks for last 4 digits.) "Ma'am! Ma'am! No coaching!" when I tried to help. So began a year of BS to get it done...
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That’s a serious problem. It’s not so much a tissue problem as it is a hygiene issue. Clearly a mental faculty has gone awry. Get Dr. invention immediately. Hire a caregiver to help you help her. God bless you with help, patience and sanity woman. Start reading books and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease.
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Reply to Lizhappens
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She's doing this because she has dementia and her brain is damaged. She needs help in the bathroom EACH and every time she goes. She needs to never be alone at home now or to be placed in Memory Care Assisted Living. Oftentimes, caring for a loved one with dementia at home becomes too difficult and placement becomes necessary.

Good luck.
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