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Hi -- my 94 year old mom is having to get up multiple times during the night to go to the bathroom; she's already fallen twice doing this. Her doctor said he could prescribe a drug to reduce urinary urgency, but it's an acetylcholine receptor inhibitor (Detrol), which evidently can make her dementia worse. Anyone else in this position, and what did you decide to do?

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Anything that makes dementia worse isn't good, in my experience. My mother was having chronic vertigo..........so a scopolamine patch was prescribed in the hospital (at my request) to FINALLY attempt to help with the chronic problem. The side effect was the possibility of worsening dementia. Well, her vertigo magically disappeared. And she started seeing 'mice crawling all over the floor' and assorted other hallucinogenic issues thanks to the stupid patch. Sigh.

My philosophy has become 'palliative care' at this stage of the game because it seems to me that medication A creates issue B, which worsens the whole mess we started with! That's where we're at with my 93 y/o mother's treatments. We had to take her OFF blood thinners for serious bleeding issues which caused a stroke and now a possible DVT. The treatment for a DVT is blood thinners......see where I'm going with this? :(

My mother is up multiple times at night with urination issues herself; either peeing every 2 hours and/or saturating the overnight Depends, the disposable 3' chucks AND all the bedding. She's also fallen 40x over the past 5 years in AL and MC. There's no easy answer here, I'm afraid, and if there is, I sure haven't found it!

Good luck!
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losingitinmo Dec 30, 2019
Thanks for sharing your experiences -- it's very helpful to hear what others have been through! I think we'll stick with the bathroom issues rather than compound the memory problems.... Best wishes to you and your mom.
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My mother had this same issue when this whole horrible ordeal with discovering she had dementia hit us like a load of bricks out of no where. Up every 20 minutes! Day and night! She was exhausted and so were we. She needed help each time to get to the bathroom due to being on a walker with neuropathy in her feet. After many tests, we discovered there wasn't any medical issue to cause the frequent need to urinate, but it was all in her head. She was afraid she wasn't going to make it to the bathroom, along with being afraid she would fall and that was the reason she felt the need to go so much. It was like an obsession with her. She was put on Myrbetriq and it made only a slight difference. Instead of every 20-30 minutes, she might could make it an hour before wanting to go again. Cutting back on water made no difference. She wasn't going to wear depends at that time either, even though these last few months, she finally did wear them. You can't untrain someone who is potty trained for 90 years, or at least, not her! What finally did help was starting her on Risperidone for the over the top anxiety she had with her dementia. In fact, that drug was a miracle drug for her and us in many ways. She was continent the entire time, even up to the moment she became bedridden in the final weeks before she recently passed. That was one of the final "loops" we lived in with her--convincing her she didn't have to get out of bed to urinate. The mind is a strange and scary thing.
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Invisible Jan 1, 2020
Bless you all.
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My mother will be 90 in March. She willingly wears pull-up undergarments, one type for daytime and a different type for overnight. Her dementia seems to be getting worse and I have to remind her to get up from her chair about every two hours to go "pee". This also gives her a little walking exercise. She told me the other night when I was tucking her in that whenever she lays down in bed, it causes the urine to flow right out! And, she had just been to the toilet right before bed. I'm not sure what that's all about.

I would rather she soak her nighttime undergarment, the paper pad, the sheet and the quilted protective underpad than get up in the night to go to the bathroom alone! Who knows if she would remember that she has to use a walker. I can wash sheets and pajamas a lot easier than pick her up off the floor (which I can not do!)

Mom now would sleep all day if I let her. I don't know whether to wake her up to go pee and change into a dry undergarment or just let her sleep. Sleeping until 2pm really messes up the meal and medication schedule (although she is hardly eating anything anymore)! One part of me thinks she would not be sleeping if her body did not need the sleep. The other part says she must think she has nothing to get up for. Listening to her moans, groans, talking, yelling and loud snoring while she sleeps makes me wonder if she really is getting any quality sleep.

Oh the situations we deal with on a daily basis as caregivers!
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Grandma1954 Jan 1, 2020
Laying down can cause the bladder to fully empty so it might not be your mom imagining this happening.
I had may "floods" after changing my Husband, getting him back in his chair or into bed and not 30 minutes later there would be a "lake" under him.
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Would placing a commode by her bed help in preventing falls?
Or is it possible to convince her that "overnight incontinence brief" (whatever brand you choose to use) will absorb all the urine so she does not "have" to get up?
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Dear, put a diaper on her. Called adult briefs.
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Reply to MARIANNEM
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I agree with the suggestions on this thread. It's tough to know which way to go. If you are having to get up with her all during the night, it can be exhausting.

I will add that....does she also urinate frequently at times other than when she sleeps or is it just during sleep or naps? I ask because, if you're not positive it's a bladder issue, you might see if having her sleep at an incline helps. Check with her doctor of course, but, I know of multiple people who have to get up to urinate a lot during the night. Turns out, it was sleep apnea or hypopna (shallow breathing) during their sleep. For some reason it causes you to pee like crazy. Not during waking hours though. Going on Cpap stops it, but, I'm not sure your mother at 94 would be a candidate for cpap. But, sleeping inclined, might bring a little relief if that is the cause. Just something to consider and ask her doctor about.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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Hi losingitinmo,
The pull up briefs worked well for my mom with similar issues. A challenge you may face could be an initial resistance to "peeing in her pants".
I'm impressed with your and the many problems-solving responses to her issue.
Well done, All!
R27
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My mom - who doesn't have dementia - uses Detrol with good results. As others have stated, it depends on why mom feels the urge so frequently: fear of having an accident, older sphincter muscles that need help staying tight, a UTI... spend a little time trying to pinpoint the symptoms so you can find a good solution.
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Reply to Taarna
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I’m dealing with the same situation and my 84 year old Dad.
I have stopped liquids after 18:30-19:00.
He goes to the bathroom every two hours (even if he does not feel the urge).
Have you considered putting a portable toilet near here bed?
It is a difficult position to be in-especially with quality of life. Consider carefully the pros and cons of the drug.
sending prayers your way.
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Reply to iiveii
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Sorry—Dad also uses depends. They work wonders and I do not make a big deal. We use moist toilet paper for hygiene and sprinkle gold bond powder as an extra layer of protection.
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