Incontinence question

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Deemus, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Deemus

    Deemus New member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Hi everyone.

    First time poster, long time lurker.
    Firstly, a big hug to everyone who has or is caring for someone with dementia!

    I guess its a two part question
    Mum is living at home and i think you would now class her alzheimers stage as middle?
    I am her son and live 10 minutes away, i do a daily visit and perform assorted tasks such as meds, bins, weekend clothes/towels washing and if she lets me, daily hot meal meal prep. In recent weeks, she has been using more and more undies. Its now at a point of using three a day. She is very private and refuses to talk about issues, including the alzheimers.
    I asked her about the issue and get the brief reply that she has trouble getting to the toilet in time but says its very rarely. I seem to be having zero luck with getting her to use incontinence pads/liners with her insisting that there is no problem. Any tips on being able to progress with this sensitive topic?

    Also, maybe someone can clarify, is this just likely to be an old age issue and that the dealing with it is harder because of the alzheimers?
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    Most GP surgeries can refer you to an Incontinence nurse. We have a clinic onsite but you should be able to talk to the nurse and explain to her beforehand so that she would talk sensitively to your Mum and show her samples of the products she would recommend. If you make too much of it she might start hiding or throwing away her underwear so better to be very matter of fact about it and treating it as just an everyday thing to be dealt with.

    There are simple pull-ups you can buy in a supermarket or pharmacy which she might want to try as they are similar to pants.
  3. Deemus

    Deemus New member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Some form of retaliation did happen.
    I put notes on the pack to remind her when to use them.
    The next day, every pen in the house had vanished! :)
    I think that's her way of telling me that she doesn't want to deal with it.

    Thanks for the tip, I will ring her GP's surgery and see what they can provide.
  4. Pete1

    Pete1 Registered User

    Jul 16, 2019
    Hi @Deemus, I went through the same with my Mum, @marionq is spot on, I engaged with the continence nurse who came and paid Mum a visit and 'measured her up' (they provide the pads and pull ups free of charge). However, it was only because Mum had carers that we were able to ensure that she wore them - left to her own devices she wouldn't recognise the need. I also purchased matress protectors and continence sheets for the bed. We also had a commode for the bedroom as Mum found it difficult to get up and make it to the toilet. A combination of all of the above made life a little easier for all. As you say, my Mum was very private too, so it was pointless and not appropriate in going over the same issues time and time again (she wouldn't remember) instead myself and the care team did what we could. I wish you all the best.
  5. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    Welcome to Dementia Talking Point @Deemus

    I had the same problem with my dad last year. I think it’s extremely difficult to deal with an adult with dementia and incontinence. I had much the same experience as @marionq and @Pete1.

    Dad initially realised he had a problem but was still reluctant to wear pads. As he got worse his dementia was also getting worse and he was convinced the wet patches on his trousers, the floor and the furniture were caused by spilt drinks and on one occasion a man with a watering can who’d walked through the lounge!! He was, in his mind, definitely not incontinent!!

    I found it almost impossible to get him to wear pads. I started out by buying him washable padded pants which worked for a few months until his incontinence got worse. He wore these without complaint as they looked like normal underwear. After this I bought him pads (I used double sided tape to stick the ends of the pads down in his pants as if he saw the pads flapping around he’d pull them out) and eventually he needed pull-ups.

    I lived 10 minutes away from dad but it used to take an hour for me to persuade him to change his wet things some days (other days he was ok about it) so eventually I got carers in to do the job - he usually co-operated with them and it was getting too much for me having to go to dad’s 3-4 times a day and try to work even though I’m self-employed.

    With dad I think the problem was mostly related to his dementia although I believe it is common in old age. His dementia made what should have been a simple problem to deal with an absolute nightmare though!

    I also have an electric carpet washer which was a godsend for keeping the odour at bay. It’s worth persuading your mum to invest in one if you can afford it. It sucks the liquid out of the carpet and furniture much more efficiently than towels and cloths and shampoos at the same time.

    I hope you find a way to deal with this. It’s a hard one!
  6. Kay111

    Kay111 Registered User

    Sep 19, 2019
    @Deemus I'm so sorry I have no advice, but the "retaliation" of having all the pens vanish made me chuckle I'm sorry to say ;) I hope you find a good solution xxx
  7. Deemus

    Deemus New member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thanks everyone.

    The missing pens was a bit of light relief considering the issue.
    They still havent been found yet, but the new ones purchased have not yet vanished! :)

    I tried reasoning with mum today.
    A combination of stubbornness and alzheimers this time. 12 undies in three days now.
    I very much suspect its not getting to the toilet in time as she struggles to even get off the couch.

    I am in Australia and even though we have government support, the carer situation is pretty useless. The carer that visits twice a week is well meaning but its obvious she doesnt understand alzheimers as she has failed to prepare one nightly dinner in 8 weeks. You dont ask, you wander off to the kitchen and just prepare the food, otherwise its the... "I dont need help, I have no problem".
  8. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Oh, thats very difficult @Deemus , Im sory that you have so little support.
    Im afraid that the "theres nothing wrong with me, I dont need help" attitude is absolutely typical of dementia. Total nightmare.
    Im also sorry to say that incontinence is very definitely part of the progression of dementia - the signals from the body become harder and harder to recognise, so the time between realising that you need to go and going becomes shorter and shorter until there is no recognition of the need at all.

    As you have discovered, logic and reasoning dont work with dementia - it usually makes them annoyed and even more likely to dig their heels in. Mum was only just beginning to become incontinent when she moved into her care home and she moved for other reasons, but it is often the significant factor for the move.
  9. Petunia59

    Petunia59 Registered User

    Oct 11, 2019
    @Deemus, My Mum has the same problem of not getting to the loo on time but it is always worse when she has a UTI, so try and get a sample to the GP to check whether she has an infection.
    In the past, my Mum who is prone to falling too, used to panic that she would wet herself when she tried to stand and would end up sitting in her chair and so it just got worse. On one occasion, this resulted in her being admitted to hospital. I was then able to persuade her, with support from care workers, that the pullups would give her reassurance.
    Hope you soon sort this out.
  10. Deemus

    Deemus New member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thanks Canary and Petunia59.

    I had made the decision that when it got to the full incontinence problem that i wouldnt be able to handle it and thought that would be the time to think of a care home. I recently saw a video on youtube by BigClive on him talking about how he and his brother decided to support their mother through the alzheimers to the end. Its something that i couldn't possibly do. I suspect that trying to get mum into a care home is going to be the hardest part of the experience?

    As for the carers, in Australia, the government provides the money and the service is provided by private (for profit) companies. Maybe I have just chosen badly? I might discuss with my mother's GP and my GP if they know of better companies.

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