Aging Parents and Elder Care logo

Support Group

Sunday night... I'm at my wit's end.

My mother, a retired pathologist and Medical Doctor, is 84 years old. She lives with me and my fiance in my house. She hates the doctor, but goes when whe need to get her prescriptions refilled, once the pharmacy says they will not refill them any more. She says that all doctors are "charlatans". We laugh about it, but it's serious. She has problems that she refuses to admit to. She won't drink anything but Diet Pepsi and will only eat junk. At least she eats fruit. If there is any type of junk food in the house - chips, cookies, cake, etc., she will opt to eat all of that instead of make herself something healthy to eat because the junk is convenient. So, we do not keep junk in the house. She does not drive, so I am pretty sure she cannot get any junk when I am at work. She has high cholesterol - she says that is just a ploy for the doctors to get more money. She will not take the supplemental prescription medication that the doctor gave her for her blood pressure, because that is another ploy for money. She says she knows more than all the doctors. I know she needs new glasses, but she will not admit to it - the other day, she was at the top of the stairs and said "Good Night, Joanna", to my fiance, who look snothing like me. I have to raise my voice to deafening volume for her to hear me, and her memory is going.

To the most current problem now: each time she gets up from the dinner table for the past two weeks, there has been a puddle of urine under her.
She will nto admit that she did it. She blamed the cats the first time.
The last time, before tonight, she actually urinated on herself while she was sitting down, making her robe, and the floor wet. She looked all innocent and asked "Did I do this?!". I told her, yes she did, and that I have been finding puddles for a few weeks. The house smells. I clean the floor each time, but I need to get her help. I bought her Depends and she screams at me that she does not need them and calls me crazy and sick when I tell her that she needs them because she urinates on herself.

I don't know what to do. I tried removing her regular underwear tonight after she went to the bathroom (hand washing her underwear - I know why) and replacing them with the Depends, and then talking to her about it. I asked her if her underwear had been wet when she went to the bathroom. She told me she did not remember - that she had washed them. Her bathroom stinks, the hallway stinks, and her room stinks! I explained to her that she need to wear the Depends because I cannot keep cleaning up after her and she called me sick, yelled at me, and slammed the door in my face.

Please, does anyone else have this problem? My mother is so stubborn!! I can't afford to put her in a home and I would never do that to her anyway. I can't really afford a caregiver, either, do I'm on my own here. My fiance yells and yells about this situation and says that the house stinks and we need to do something about "her". I can't take this any more!!

Quote 0 0

poise makes a pull up underware that had a pad in it like kids pull upthey work real good and feel like real underware hope this helps

Quote 0 0
I think you need to get a dementia check done by her doctor, and I also think you need to revisit the decision not to put her in a home. Her behavior may well get worse and you may not be able to cope. Don't rule the home option out, she might be far better off there
Quote 0 0
billie jo
joanna, welcome. they do say doctors make the worst patients. sounds like it's true.
so far, what you have done with the incontinence issue is sensible and should work. when daisy started with incontinence, she also denied it. and she would try washing even the worse messes out in the sink with the nasty mess smeared on the walls and every surface. i finally took all her underwear and told her they were all in the wash, that she would have to wear this, and handed her a depend. she did and after that there was no going back. it sounds like it's not going to be as easy with your mom. i don't know what to say. i'm sure others have handled it in different ways and will be along with what worked for them. it is hard when you want to keep them in their home, there is no money for options, and they resist the whole time. but you and your fiance' deserve to live in a clean enviroment. i wish i had an answer. keep trying with the disappearing underwear thing and hopefully, after a few more hissies, she will get used to the idea. keep in mind it is hard for the elders to admit to this problem, and embarrassing. i can imagine especially for someone like your mom who has accomplished so much in her life. can you ask her what she would suggest to a patient with this problem? good luck and hang in there. hopefully she will see the light.
Quote 0 0
Will I Survive
It may come down to removing her regular underwear completely and only giving her Depends.  I'd suggest reusable underpads also - but not in place of a pull-up type of Depends or other brand, just as an additional protection for the furniture.  You can put it to her that if she doesn't wear the Depends, you're going to look at placement.  Never say "never" to placement, especially if you find out you're dealing with dementia.  If she doesn't have funds when the time comes, you would apply for Medicaid for her.

She sounds like she does need some kind of evaluation for dementia.  The battle over Depends is just the beginning, so you do need to set the tone now or you'll be dealing with a urine-soaked house and your fiance may not be your fiance anymore.

Continue providing balanced meals, don't bother worrying about the cholesterol.  I'd also "lose" her glasses and make an appointment for her to get new ones.
Quote 0 0
Welcome to the board!  You'll find tons of advice and encouragement here, and it's a great place to rave when things are really bad.

But wow, this is all so familiar, although my mom has an indwelling catheter, so it was incontinence of another kind, if you get my drift.  She insisted the dogs did it, even though I had just seen her let go on the carpet!  When I got her the Depends, she said they weren't comfortable.   Honestly, we had a very loud and unpleasant argument on the topic.  And yes, I did tell her that I couldn't live like that, and it was Depends or a nursing home.  My only suggestion is that you might try broaching the topic when you aren't cleaning up the puddle and things are calmer.  I wish I had, as I might have been more sensitive if I hadn't been so angry.  Nobody, however, should have to live with that problem uncontrolled.

It does sounds like your Mom is starting to suffer from some memory issues and should see a doctor.  Its certain she's creating problems between you and your fiance.  Do you have a Power of Attorney (POA)?  If so, you may have a good idea of what your mom's finances really are.  If you don't have one and/or don't know about her finances, you probably need to get one and to find out.   

But don't delay.  The longer you put up with this behavior, the more "normal" it seems to be (to your mom) and the harder it is to change.  And don't start spending your own money in an attempt to solve your mom's problems.  It's a bottomless pit of needs and wants.  If mom has money, use hers.  If she doesn't, there are agencies and organizations that can help you sort out ways to help your mom so you can preserve your relationship. 

Quote 0 0
Hi Joanna,
I agree with above advice, and can only add my support to you, along with the observation that if your fiancee is yelling about things now, you need to be thinking hard about this situation.
You can't do it all, or have it both ways.  Resentments build up, and it sounds like your fiancee has plenty.  A good private discussion with him would be good, and counseling better.  Remember, he is marrying you, not your mother.   You both need time to adjust to being a couple, and forcing him into the needs of your declining mother can make things worse, or even cause the failure of your relationship.  Please explore all options for your mom, where she can be cared for--that's not a punishment.  After all, you can't care for her 24/7, or you'll burn out.  It's unrealistic to think you can do that.  No one can, without great consequence.   There is a balance to this situation, and help for your mother, depending on her income.  Look for it. 
Best wishes,
Quote 0 0
Hi Joanna,
Welcome.  You can not do this alone.  No human can live in a urine soaked environment.  Children would be removed by CPS.  Animals would be removed by SPCA.  This is unfit for human habitation.  As simple as that.  I do not blame your fiance.  I could not live in that environment.  Sometimes the only option is placement.  Your mother at her prime would not want to live in a smelly urine soaked environment and as a physician, she would be well aware of the health risks involved. 
Quote 0 0
Will I Survive
I wanted to add some more - you can certainly "lose" her glasses and get an exam for her, but also keep in mind that if you do turn out to be dealing with dementia, something happens with the elder's sight where they don't see things the way you or I would.  Most commonly, you'll find that they can be looking for something right in front of them and not see it, but I can imagine that to her, your fiance might appear to be you.  It's hard to explain.  If that's what's happening, no glasses will fix that.

The Depends issue does need to be resolved ASAP because all of you sitting on surfaces that have been urinated on (no matter how well cleaned) is introducing all sorts of bacteria to skin surfaces.  I'm not sure if the Depends you purchased were the pull-ups or the really diaper-looking ones, but if they were the latter, try pull-ups for her.  They really are comfortable and do a good job of containing urine.
Quote 0 0

Hi Joanna,
welcome hon.

I know exactly where you are coming from. My mom never lived with me, but she became incontinent at her home, was urinating all over everything and refused to admit it. She was in complete denial. She was hanging her underwear all over the place, to dry out, and yet, she would never admit she was incontinent.

I bought her those bladder pads, because she was actually putting on regular pads becuase she was having some bleeding (cancer). So, I thought, she would put on the thicker pads and that would help with the incontinence. Nope, she wanted nothing to do with them! A thin pad was fine !

I think her sense of smell was gone at that point in time too.

Also, yes, dementia was coming into play.

She never shouted at me or got mad at me, but she was just really really firm and convinced that she was NOT incontinent!
Nothing would convince her.

Now at the assisted living, she is completely incontinent. They have her wearing pull-up Depends (adult diapers). It is all she has available to her, and it is what she has to wear.  They help her change them at least - at LEAST - 4 times a day.If not more often.

AT her home, I would have never been able to get her to wear the adult diapers. She would either forget, or refuse. I did not even try. Or, she would probably try to wear the same one for days on end to save money!

At night, Mom would go to bed without any underwear on. Sometimes she would remember to put the bedpad down, but most of the time she would forget. Needless to say, her mattress got ruined, her carpeting to the bathroom is ruined, the bathroom still smells like urine (she went to assisted living 4 months ago, and I have scrubbed the bathroom, trust me!). The urine is indsidious. It permeates everything.

Joanna, I also agree with Cathy that you may have to re-think the whole nursing home/assisted living thing for your Mom. You cannot live like that, and you cannot expect your fiance to live like that either. I know many people do not want to hear "put her in a home" ! But that is not what we are saying really. What we are saying is "Your mother needs a lot more help than you can give her, or more help than she will accept from you." That puts her in a bad situation.

My mom had issues with doctors too and did not like to go to them. It was her choice. Really.

Who knows, when we are in our 80's, we may not want a bazillion doctor appointments and be put on 20 medications, either. Plus, if we get dementia, what is the point of controlling the high cholesterol? I mean -really ? ! My mom's doctor had a lot of common sense. He did not  see the need to put mom on a lot of medications. So that side of things really is the elderly person's choice.

However, their choices can affect your life, and that is something you have to keep in mind. If your mother makes a lot of poor choices, then in my mind, she needs a lot  more help than you can provide for her.

Take care of yourself. Prayers for your mom. It will probably only get worse ???

Quote 0 0
as far as "affording" -- if your mother is low income she may qualify for medicaid.
It is something to look into, at the very least, so you are armed with some knowledge.
If she has money/assets, then those are spent down for her care (maybe one month of assisted living, for example!, or a couple of months), then medicaid. There are some AL/NH complexes that accept medicaid. It involves contacting an agency, or doing your own footwork to see what your mother qualifies for.

There *are* options. You can work with these places, usually.


Quote 0 0
I have also been dealing with the "other" incontinence issue. My Dad's chair (his favorite recliner, for which I built a 2X6 platform to raise it up and make it more stable) has a folded towel on the seat - I put a clean towel on it last week, and it's got a 4" brown spot on it now. The chair pad on his kitchen chair smells absolutely vile. His pajama pants and sweatpants are always stained and stinking when I put them in the wash - he washes out his undershorts in his bathroom, using way too much clorox on them in an effort to conceal the problem - which is causing them to disintegrate.

It's embarrassing to take him to his physical therapy appointments - I try to make sure he has put on a clean pair of sweatpants, but sometimes he has some "gas" (meaning a spurt of liquid stool) right before we leave or in the process of getting in the car. I apologized to the PT once but she assured me that compared to a lot of their clients, he's not bad. This did not make me feel any better.

I have tried asking him if he's having "stomach problems" - asking him if he's having diarrhea just gets an immediate denial, so I try to phrase it in a way that he might accept it. But he is denying it. I try hard to feed him a diet that will keep his bowels regular. I get him yogurt, which he eats regularly, and I have given him a jar of acidophilus tablets to take if he has "stomach problems" - but by the time he is willing to admit that he's having reeking, gassy, liquid, splattering diarrhea, I have to resort to Imodium as it's too late for the preventative methods.

He lets out huge, liquid-sounding farts every time he gets up from a chair. The house smells like crap all the time. I suppose I am going to have to just insist on having a "talk" with him about this.

Quote 0 0
Rachel B.
Hi Joanna,
   You said that your mother has a number of medications she refuses, but also that she goes to the doctor to have some refilled.  The doctor should be told about her incontinence, and asked whether some of the meds she does take can have this effect.  You might call the doctor, rather than trying to talk about it in front of your mother.  Hope things improve for you soon! 
Quote 0 0
My father in law refuses to wear depends and whole house stinks we are trying to raise a 15 ur old daughter here and I can’t do it anymore when his kids don’t visit or help. The stepdaughter of his recently moved in, cramped up our life a bit but now he’s evicting her what can social worker do for us. We see her in morning
Quote 0 0