My 76 year old Mother is awaiting a diagnosis of dementia. Since having a UTI in December she has had urinary incontinence. Has had an ultrasound and has an appointment with incontinence clinic shortly. She seems to be largely unaware or not bothered about being wet or the smell of urine that surrounds her yet knows to put on incontinence knickers at night and is able to put we pads etc in bin. Any tips on what we can do to help her would be most appreciated.
Thank you for your question.
Sorry to hear your mum is struggling with this.
How heavy would you say her incontinence is? Can I ask what incontinence products she is currently using? It could be that the pads are not absorbent enough for her, so she is leaking through them. This could be causing the odour.
She will likely be embarrassed when you talk to her about it, however it is necessary to see how she feels about it. Be patient with her and ask whether she genuinely doesn’t notice, or is neglecting it.
The fact that she seems unaware/not bothered is something that you should also discuss with a Doctor regarding potential Dementia.
Thanks so much for replying. Mum’s pads are Tenna lady extra plus. She does not like wearing them although will put them on when reminded. It is difficult to know if she chooses not to put them on or forgets. She wears Depends knickers at night with a paper bed sheet on bed and we rarely get wet sheets which is great.Mum has had an appointment at the memory clinic and his waiting to go back for the result.Unfortunately there is a long waiting list and we have been told that it will probably take at least 4 months. Mum reads avidly and we wonder if leaving instructions in bathroom might help. It is heartbreaking because but for the incontinence the other issues she has would be so much easier to cope with.
It could be a good idea to set an alarm to go off every couple of hours, reminding her to change her product. Leave a note next to the alarm reminding her what it is for, with instructions. You could also leave a note with the alarm reminding her to try for the toilet to see if she needs to empty her bladder. Try to be patient and understanding when explaining this to her, as she might feel embarrassed.
Leaving instructions in the bathroom, as you mentioned, would also be a good idea. Ensure you state how to dispose of pads and use the bathroom, if you think this is needed.
Does your mum have hand rails in her bathroom? If not, it would be useful to get these fitted. It might sound silly, however she might be worried about falling and will feel more comfortable visiting the bathroom with these.
Is the space leading up the bathroom clear and free from clutter? A cluttered space can mean it takes longer for her to get to the bathroom.
Pads can often feel very foreign to those with Dementia, as they feel very different to normal underwear. She might be uncomfortable in these due to their feel.
How is her mobility? Do you think she would be able to put on and remove pull up pants in the day? She might feel more comfortable in a pull up, as these feel more like pants.