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Dealing with Incontinence


Registered User
Oct 20, 2004
Okay, I had Mum as usual at the weekend. Dad went out to watch the football and have a couple of beers.

Mum, my daughter and I went out shopping then came home. Mum went to the toilet, when she came out it was very apparent due to the smell that something was very much amiss. I panicked and didn’t know what to do, so I called Dad and he came home and took her up the road to clean her up.

I went into the toilet and the sight that greeted me was highly unpleasant and the smell was vile. I’ve no idea what exactly had gone wrong for her but in her own misguided way she’d clearly tried to sort it out. The long and short is that there was poop everywhere, up the walls down the sink all over the towel and so forth.

I spoke to Dad and he pointed out that I’ll need to be able to clean her up (not because he was in the pub, but what if something happens to him, I’m all she’ll have). She is using pads incidentally.

I felt so awful that I never tried, but was glad that Mum wasn’t there when I went into the toilet, I’ve never retched so much in my life and I would’ve hated to upset her.

I accept that I need to deal with this (another bit of Mum’s dignity taken away, it’s so upsetting). I think of all the carers/nurses who manage to deal with this without batting an eyelid. I need to be able to stomach it and wondered (and I realise it’s a sensitive question), how everyone manages to deal with it without feeling ill?

I feel so ridiculous, I’ve changed a babies nappy without being so pathetic.

I also feel so guilty for not doing something about it but the smell was so bad and to be honest I had no idea how to approach it (again, any pointers on how to clean it up would be great).

I know it sounds like common sense but when Mum struggles with basic instructions I don’t know where to begin. I’ve not been able to ask Dad as Mum’s always around.

I don’t want to upset Mum should it happen again and would prefer that I was able to deal with this, the whole thing has made me feel awful for so many reasons.

Any advice on how you all manage will be gratefully received…..although I’m not enthusiastic about putting it into practice.

Dad has admitted he gags and keeps hoping he’ll get used to it.

Sorry about the content!

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Mandy,

I hope it will make you feel better to know this is something I am absolutely dreading. I`m bad enough when my husband misfires, just urinating, and hate the knowledge I can always smell urine in our own toilet.

I worked with special needs children up to the age of 16 and often had very messy challenges. Even though I found it distasteful with the older ones, I always did what I had to.

But the thought of my husband needing that level of care is terrifying.

My mother didn`t get to that stage until she went into residential care but I know I wouldn`t have been able to do it for her.

I hold my hands up...............incontinence is my fear. You are not alone.

Love xx


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Dear Mandy

I think this is one of these things that have both and emotional AND a physical component. I can't help with the emotional side, unfortunately, it's one of those bite the bullet things, but there are a few practical things that you might want to consider for cleaning up the environment: Disposable gloves, kitchen paper, small pastic rubbish bags (grocery bags work well), spray cleaner, air freshener and something like Vicks or mentholatum. Liberally apply the vicks around your nose - I know it sounds strange but it does help to cut the smell. Or you could use the sort of nose clips that are sold for swimming. Then go at it. This, I'm afraid, is not the time to be environmentally concious - everything needs to be single use and then tossed asap (hence the plastic bags - double bag for preference).

As to cleaning her up - you're going to have to "sneak a peek" at how your father does it. Personally I found a bidet went a loooong way to making this easier, but that may not be an option. Those disposable wet wipes that are flushable are also useful, although baby wipes work well (only don't flush those).

Finally diabuse your mind that this is anything like dealing with a baby (or even a pet). This is much harder, much messier, much smellier, so just because you've dealt with those does not make you a wimp that you can't deal with this.

My personal difficult area is vomit: smell it, see it, hear it and I'm throwing up.

Best wishes


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
Dear Mandy,

A really bad experience for you and your mother. Let's hope that it was a 'one off' and will not happen again for a long time. I found that the best thing for me to do was the same as Jennifer has mentioned but once the bathroom is fairly clean also strip off all clothes and give mum a good, warm shower. Use lots of perfumed shower gell etc., Then sluice off clothes and put them straight into the washing machine on a hot wash.

I know there is the question of maintaining dignity but I think the best way to deal with this is to try to treat it as matter of fact as you can and even say there is a bug going around. Tell a few lies and say you know of this happening to other people. This may help mum to keep her dignity a little if she feels it has happened to others. It may even be that she has had a recent change of medicine which has upset her stomach.

It is indeed a very hard thing to cope with xx TinaT


Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Although incontinence does not happen to all suffers of A.D. when they are unfortunate to have it, it is an additional stressful task along with the other tasks we do. As I am disabled and Peter had a Carer come in for 6 hours per day, there was still the mess to clean up. Keeping the house from smelling was a mamoth task. Peter would watch me and say "I did not do it". So many times I wanted to says well it b*****y well was not me. As patiently as I could use to say it is the illness. Unfortunatly, it is the little packages left all over the house. I use to light a cigarette and dangling from the mouth (not lady like) but it smelt better. My daughter in law suggested perfume under the nose and that did help. There seems to be something everyday extra that we have to face. Now Peter is in the later stages and in a Care Home as weird as it may seem I miss do anything for him.
I wish you all the best. Christine


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Hi Mandy

Don't worry about feeling as you do, it's something we all find difficult.

You've had lots of advice, and I haven't anything really to add. Rubber gloves, antiseptic wipes, and if possible a shower certainly make the clean-up easier.

I agree with your dad, it's something you really need to learn to do, it can happen anywhere and at any time. But don't feel bad because you don't want to do it, none of us do. I remember posting on the subject in my early days on TP!

Good luck,


Registered User
Oct 20, 2004
Thanks to all of you for your help....lots of ideas and helpful tips.

I never ever imagined I'd be asking people for help on a subject like this!!!

I'm 37 now and sometimes wonder what other horrors await me as I get older.....excluding the ones I get from my poor Mum.

Life really stinks sometimes (pardon the pun!!)

Horrible subject but thank you all for your understanding once again,



Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Posted by Christine
as weird as it may seem I miss do anything for him.
Incontinence was something I too feared, but you do learn to cope.

I regularly clean and change Lionel in the care home. I need the extra help to use the hoist, and a carer to hold him down (hates personal care), but I could not bear to stand an watch someone else clean my lovely man.

Yes, disposable gloves, wet wipes, calming lavendar air fragrance, are still needed, but he is still, and will always be my man. I can do no less.

Funny how we change with time.