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New to Group and need opinions!
Roses Are Red
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 1:18 PM
Joined: 1/7/2018
Posts: 3

My mother has Alzheimers and is at the point where she has been having trouble cleaning herself after having a bowel movement. My father is her main caregiver, and I am who is usually with her when he needs to go out. I didn't realize she needs assistance to clean herself until today when my father was about to leave. He informed me that if she has a bowel movement when he isn't home I will need to help her. He didn't ask if I am comfortable doing so, he just told me that is what I'll need to do. I was taken aback a bit because I do not feel comfortable AT ALL doing this. For many different reasons. So, my question is what should I do? Am I being unreasonable? When the time comes and I need to do this I'm not sure I can go through with it. Help!! Thank You
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 3:14 PM
Joined: 2/3/2018
Posts: 754

Hey Roses, yeah, you need to do this! You don't want her sitting in her own filth, and leave that mess for your Dad to take care of when he comes back. If it's any consolation, incontinence assistance gets to be old news from the caregiver standpoint by about the 10th time you've had to wipe your dementia loved one backside. I recommend getting some flushable baby wipes to make your job a little easier on you and your Mom. And grab some medical gloves - they might make you feel a little more at ease. It helped me at first, but now I just go skin-to-skin and wash my hands in hot soapy water afterwards!

So hold your nose and dive on in! If your family caregiver journey is anything like me and my sister's with our mom, it'll get to be old hat, and in a year you'll look back and have a chuckle that this was one of your stumbling blocks. There's so much harder stuff coming your way, but like this, you'll get through it.

Good luck to you, your mom and your dad! It's a tough, tough road, but it also has it's beauty and joy, too few and far between but they're there.

Roses Are Red
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 3:19 PM
Joined: 1/7/2018
Posts: 3

Thanks for the encouragement..your suggestions are helpful.
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 3:25 PM
Joined: 5/22/2016
Posts: 250

I'm so glad you're there to help your dad get a little bit of time away. As a spouse, I can't tell you what that time means.

Get some rubber gloves, and show your dad how much you support him. 

Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 3:33 PM
Joined: 2/18/2019
Posts: 3

hope i'm replying to right person.  is your mom able to stand or shower or is she bedfast? i found it easier when my mom is lying down on her side. i got plenty of supplies and garbage can nearby and did it as fast as possible.  also had towel or pad underneath to remove in case i got bed wet.  If mom was standing i had to remember to roll my sleeves up and just aim in the general direction, also with all supplies at hand. I empathize with you. 


Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 3:43 PM
Joined: 2/6/2018
Posts: 281

I totally get how you feel. For my Dad, I’ve found that a bidet attachment on the toilet is effective in getting him clean. It was under $40 on Amazon and easy to install. He needs a reminder and assistance to use it (just turn the dial while sitting on the toilet).
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 3:48 PM
Joined: 2/3/2018
Posts: 754

Good idea, star! Never even thought of a bidet!
dutiful deb
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 6:28 PM
Joined: 1/1/2012
Posts: 1876

I remember the first time I cleaned my mother up. I had taken her to an appointment and she'd lost control of her bowels. This was in the beginning of her bowel incontinence; she had been bladder incontinent for a while at that point and was already in disposable underwear. Having to clean my mother up so unexpectedly when I had never done so before was jarring. It also signified further decline, and this was also upsetting. I felt terrible for my mother, having to be cleaned up in a public restroom with a few wipes but mostly wet paper towels and soap  from the restroom dispensers, and I felt sorry for myself, having to deal with this for the first time, with nobody to assist me.  However, as others said, it quickly  became part of the routine, and I always made sure to have a backpack with extra pull-ups, wipes, gloves, paper towels, clothes, and a comfort item for mom (usually a baby doll or stuffed animal). I'm glad you were at least in your mom's home, and that your dad had given you at least a little warning, but it still must have been traumatizing.  Most of us don't have "Someday I will need to clean up my parent's poop so I'd better be ready" on our radars, so of course it's unsettling when it becomes a reality. As Forrest Gump said, "It happens," so we need to be ready when it does. 

When faced with a difficult dementia-related challenge that you don't think you can handle, tell yourself you're stronger than you think, and you will come out a survivor who is better prepared for the next event that comes along. 

On a practical note, would it help to have a list of  situations that might come up in the future? Incontinence clean-up is one issue, but at some point you may face other challenges such as eating difficulties or wandering. Are you able to talk to your dad and ask him ahead of time what else you should know, so that you'll be more prepared when things like this come up again? 

Crissy PIke
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 8:44 PM
Joined: 9/4/2019
Posts: 4

That's great advice, dutiful Deb.
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 8:59 PM
Joined: 5/22/2018
Posts: 359

When my young adult daughter was first faced with the same thing, her main concern was if "Grandma would feel bad having her clean her up". I assured her as long as she was matter of fact it was no problem. And it never has been since. Thank goodness, as my daughter is my only respite without paying extra for the caregivers.

So good on you for helping your dad! He needs it. So any time you can spare is awesome.

Mobile AL
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 10:04 PM
Joined: 7/21/2018
Posts: 44

I've had to deal with that with both my mother and my sister. Oddly, it didn't phase me much the first time it happened but I just took over the situation and told them it had to be done and did it. They both handled it pretty well except my sister kept apologizing to me every time. I ended up telling her that if she didn't stop apologizing for something she had no control over that I was going to stop cleaning her up and she'd have to do it herself. Her problem was cancer though, not Alzheimer's.

Daddy has Alzheimer's and although I've had to clean his clothes on occasion, he does not want me to help him clean himself up. I respect that but know it won't be long before I'll have to help him. I like the idea of a bidet and I'll be checking into one tonight. He may be able to use it himself but I'll have it easier when the need comes.

Daddy has always been very conservative and modest and dealing with him is not going to be as easy as dealing with my mother when that stage comes or when the time comes that I have to bathe him. Or, who knows, he may change by then and not even realize it's me.

Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 5:32 AM
Joined: 8/10/2016
Posts: 2199

I have not had to deal with this yet but in the past I believe I remember people saying if you cover it with cheap shaving cream it takes away the odor.  Maybe someone else can remember better than me and verify this.  Think that would help me a lot in dealing with it.
Roses Are Red
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 8:20 AM
Joined: 1/7/2018
Posts: 3

Just signed into the message boards this morning and have read all the replies. Thank you for all your advice! Very encouraging to have replies from others who are or have gone through this as well. 

The bidet sounds like it would be very helpful. I'm going to mention it to my father. As of right now my mother is still walking around and goes into the bathroom by herself, so it seems like it might be easier to start off with a bidet, and then finish off with wipes. 

And I also know that the first time will most likely be difficult for both my mother and myself, but know that I do have it in me to do this. 

Thank You!



Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 3:29 AM
Joined: 10/28/2019
Posts: 1

I’m new to this. My mother has dementia. Dad recently passed and I had to move in with mom to take care of her. I am working full time out of the house, trying to take care of her and still trying to settle dad’s estate. I feel very angry at my dad for leaving me with her and angry that I had to give up everything to do this. I am mourning my dad’s passing and my life as I knew it. Mom takes everything out on me and I can’t breath. It’s so overwhelming. It’s hard being in this house for 24 hours a day with her. She’s cranky, won’t take her meds and has kicked out everyone I have brought in to help. I’m working with attorney to do Medicaid paperwork and looking into support groups. In the meantime it’s all I can do to get through some days on a positive note. Thanks for the ear all.
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