grandmamary_gaSeptember 20, 2006

My MIL is in an assisted living remenescent home. She has mild dementia. She can not live on her own. She is also incontinent. She refuses to wear depends or other type products. The staff assists her with this problem but she will take them off and hide or flush them. Then when she realizes she needs to use the bathroom its too late and she has an accident. Do any of you have any suggestions on getting her to wear them. We have removed her underwear from her room thinking that she would wear the depends if nothing else to wear but that didn't work. Look forward to hearing from you wise caregivers.


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Hi Mary....I would think that the staff at the home would be "experts" in this is so common.
I am wondering if the incontinence has been evaluated, because it is not a common feature of "mild dementia", but is a marker for adult hydrocephalus (Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus NPH), and other more benign things like urinary infections, etc.
Developing a routine schedule and taking her to the BR may be the solution. Reasoning will NOT likely help. Are you using the "pull-ups"...if so, she make eventually "forget" that they are not her regular ones.
Wish I had something more to offer.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 8:16PM
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It may be that the type of staff that this assisted living home is not used to handling this sort of thing. If she starts having other problems, it may be time to start thinking about a home that is more like a nursing home.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 8:32PM
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Thank you for the comments. She did have an UTI and that was start of her problems. The doctor has been keeping an eye on that problem in case it would come back. The staff also have her on a program to take her to the bathroom every 2 hours and will wake her during the nighttime to make sure she uses the bathroom. They have also limited her intake of liquids. She still will go by herself to the bathroom and then remove the depends without putting another one on. The staff has placed them in a handy location for her to use which she ignores. When we ask her if she is wearing the depends she will say yes but if you feel her you know she does not have them on. We will usually take her back to her room and see that she wears them.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 9:43AM
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Just a thought.....she comes from a generation where people just did not talk about such things as undergarments and bathroom functions. I'm sure that be incontinence was never discussed. She may not realize that it can be a common problem for those of her age. She is possibly so embarrassed, that she just wants to forget all about it.

It could be that it would be helpful if there was someone about her own age who is wearing Depends that would be willing to talk to her over and over again about how she handles it.

Might work, might not.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 4:31PM
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With my MIL it was They cost how much????--NEVER.--Just as Agnespuffin said-they come from a different generation--So do the best you can, but be gentle.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 8:31PM
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We are very gentle with her about the use of the depends. Even her son is learning this. I have suggested to her that the depends will aid her in not being embarassed if she doesn't make it to the bathroom. At least she won't leave a spot on the chair or her clothes will not appear wet. The staff has even taken her back to her room to put on a depend if she has not done so. She just doesn't think she needs them. thank you for the kind words of encouragement.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 7:52AM
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We might have a clue as how to handle this. If she doesn't think that she needs them, do you think that perhaps she could be convinced that EVERYONE needs AND wears them? Remind her that she doesn't want to be "different"

OK, so it's a lie. Lying to dementia patients sometimes gets to be the easiest way to accomplish anything. It's so difficult to figure out what that mind will accept and what will be rejected. Appealing to her common sense and rational thought probably won't work.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 8:18AM
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Dad and I refer to his Depends as underwear. He uses pull ups. Supose she is told she has new underwear, I like the simple, do not tell her they are depends.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 1:56PM
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sakal has a good point. I remember how upset I was that the nursing home would say to my mil-lets change your diaper. How I hated hearing it and lucky for me, my mil only spend that last 11 days of her life in a home and she was pretty well out of it, but I always thought they could have just said. Mrs. K, lets get you cleaned up or changed and left the word diaper out of it, I know if she did understand she would have hated it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 10:56PM
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The staff at the assisted living remenescent center are very careful what they call the depends. We are too. My husband bought the wrong product and when it was discovered that they were diapers instead of the underwear style the staff mentioned it to him when his Mother wasn't with him. We realize that getting her familiar with them will take time and we will just have to continue to be patient and keep up the encouragement. As far as her dementia she knows very well what is going on around her and recognizes all of us. Its the little things like what did you eat for breakfast after only an hour. What day is it she has no clue. She will ask the same questions over. Her long term memory is good. Thanks again for your thoughts everyone.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 10:10AM
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Gentle is always good. I recall a young man who was a nursing assistant at a nursing home. He told me that, if they were overheard to refer to disposables as "diapers", they would be automatically questions asked or answered. ?Good idea?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:06AM
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