Need help dealing with mom's incontinence

shamboFebruary 27, 2007

I especially need ideas on how to travel "safely" with her in my car. She's 92 and was hospitalized late November with severly impacted bowels. Constipation has been an on-going problem for over two years. After a week in the hospital with lots of laxatives & manual extractions, she was too weak to go back to her assisted living apartment. So she spent another week in a skilled nursing facility just to get back her strength. The doctor prescribed daily doses of Dulcolax and Zelnorm. In the meantime, she developed a UTI and the antibiotic gave her diarrhea. That went away and she was finally doing OK. But about a month ago she really began losing complete bowel & bladder control.

Lately, every time I visit her, I end up cleaning up after a bowel movement accident. She says they mainly happen in the morning after breakfast. I'm taking her to the doctor tomorrow morning to discuss possibly reducing her laxative medications and checking for infections, etc. Her birthday is Thursday, and I wanted to treat her to lunch. But now I'm concerned that eating out will trigger an episode before I can get her back to her apartment.

Although she tries to clean up as best as she can, her vision is poor, so she doesn't see the smears of feces on her clothing, sink, etc. She wears tie-on shoes, compression socks, elastic-waist pull-on pants and Depends. Her hands are arthritic, so it's hard for her to get her shoes & pants off. Smearing & splattering is almost inevitable.

Do you have any ideas on how I can protect my car from her accidents? And do you have any ideas on clothing or clothing aids that would make clean up easier for her? Thanks for your help.

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The stress of worry about having an accident in public could make matters even worse. I am sure that she must get upset by messing up things. Why don't you just make up a fancy picnic type lunch and take it to her apartment. She might be relived at not having to go out. If she is worried about it, going out won't really be much of a treat.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 5:27PM
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IMHO pull on pants are terrible for someone with her problems. Hubby's 88 yr old aunt had a really bad stroke last year and up until that time that is what she 'lived' in. Having a Mom with multiple problems I thought a dress would work better (auntie had incontinence problems at the time - don't know if that is better now or not).

Anyhow, she is only about 4 ft 8" tall and probably weighs 200 # - not easy to find ready made clothes.

Since I sew, I made her several muu-muu type garments and have fabric and patterns for a bunch more....we saw her last week and found out she 'loved' them - that is all she wears now.

There are multiple web sites if you google 'disabled clothing' where you can purchase many specialty items if you cannot find appropriate garments locally.

You might want to consider some sort of dress - like what we used to call a 'shift', - feel free to e-mail me if you want any more suggestions.....


    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 9:47PM
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I'm suspecting inadequate balance of meds. The swing from constipation to incontinence is suspicious. Suggest a fresh look. Zelnorm may not be needed at this point. Dulcolax can really ruin your day if too much is taken. The right balance of everything is sometimes tough to figure out and people change as they age. I've been through a number of rounds of this with my mother (95 -- still living at home) as she changed over the years but was always able to regain control. Current regimen includes zelnorm, four prunes with supper, metamucil in the afternoon. Have to keep things in balance to counteract the effects of oxycontin she's been on for 10 years. I'm sure your mom's situation is different but the out-balance-idea seems likely to me from your description.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 11:10PM
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Carolyn, I completely agree with you regarding the pull-on elastic-waist pants. Someone with weak arm strength and arthritic hands & fingers cannot easily pull those things up. And then if you've got a dirty Depends, it's impossible to get the pants past it without smearing. Thanks for encouraging me to look for disabled clothing sites. I found one, listed below, that has velcro side closures that would make getting in and out of the pants so much easier.

Asolo, today my mom's doctor took her off Zelnorm & the daily Dulcolax. Now both Milk of Magnesia & Dulcolax will be on an as-needed basis. My mom is supposed to mark her calendar when whe has a bowel movement so we can monitor her & catch a constipation episode before it gets too serious.

So now I've got to really stay on top of her fluid intake and the fruit & vegetables in her diet. I provide her with bottled water and additional produce, but she doesn't eat it. She receives her meals at the assisted living facility, but she doesn't make wise choices.

Agnes, your advice was very thoughtful and sound. This morning, though, before we left for the doctor appointment, my mother told me she had two bowel movements. So I took my chances and took her to a neighborhood Greek restaurant for lunch (we're Greek). The owner gave her a complimentary birthday baklava. No accidents. And she was able to hold everything in until she got back to her apartment.

Thanks for all of your replies. I'm hoping that she can stay on top of her constipation troubles and not end up in the hospital again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Silverts Adaptive Clothing for Seniors

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 7:41PM
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that's good news!!! Changing the meds may be all that she needs.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 8:50PM
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