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Mum's toilet habits ....

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Mrs Mo, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. Hi everyone
    I'm a bit confused ... we recently had to move my elderly mum in with us because she lived a great distance away and was not coping at home alone, despite having an army of carers coming in daily. She is 87 and suffers from memory problems. She has NOT been diagnosed with dementia and has attended a memory clinic regularly. They have assured me they dont think she has dementia, although she has been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.
    The problem is that when she goes to the loo, she often manages to get poo all over the place - it is often smeared on the loo seat, the sink and the towels. I dont know what on earth she is doing nor how she manages to get it everywhere. I'm sure she is unaware of this and would be mortified if she realised. She does sometimes suffer with constipation and has some meds to take for this, which I give her.
    I have taken to checking the loos everytime she uses them, but I cant follow her around all the time as I am out at work 4 mornings a week. My husband has noticed this too and is none too happy about it obviously. I am having to wash my towels almost on a daily basis as I keep noticing suspicious brown smears on them.
    Quite honestly, I 'm worried for our health - if she is going around unwittingly with poo on her hands and then touching cups, plates, magazines etc. then it could be risky for us. She's no doubt immune to it (when she lived alone her house was pretty filthy and the toilets/bathroom were revolting - I had to clean them up before I would dare venture in to use them!) She honestly doesnt seem to notice it! When she was younger the house was always clean.
    I am not sure mentioning it to her would help - she'd just forget!
    Any advice would be welcome.
  2. Do the professionals who say mum's not dementing know about these toileting problems?
    I'd raise it with them. They may have some practical suggestions - and they are used to dealing with such issues.
  3. Can you restrict her to one loo? And call it "hers"?
  4. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    You say she suffers from constipation, are you sure the meds you are giving her are actually working?
    I would be inclined to think that the reason for this is that she is actually quite constipated. Her bowels may be moving, but she is maybe not completely emptying her bowel.
    Sometimes elderly people who are a little confused, can be inclined to try to remove the faeces themselves or it may just simply be that after she is finished going, there is some remaining at the entrance to the rectum, which she is getting on her hands as she wipes. She is then inadvertently getting it over everything she touches.
    I would be inclined to take her to the GP about the constipation and let him examine her tummy. She may need a change in the medication to help, and it would be a good idea to keep an eye to make sure she is drinking enough during the day.
    In cases like this it is often preferable to keep the bowel movements quite loose, as it decreases the likeliness of her being constipated, and makes it less likely she will get it on her hands when she wipes.
    I know it is a very difficult situation to deal with.
  5. I went through this with my father-in-law two years ago when he was first diagnosed with bowel cancer, and had lots of problems with his 'movements'. He was very short-sighted and although not suffering from dementia at all, just seemed to be accidentally spreading faces around everywhere, as you said....towels, toilet bowl, sink, carpets, taps......it was awful to deal with. As others have said...I would seek professional advice. You have my sympathy. Being a very squeamish person, I found it very difficult, and my OH sometimes got annoyed with me for being upset by it...but it's NOT easy or pleasant to deal with. All the best.....x
  6. ScotSEN

    ScotSEN Senior commenter

    Like lardylegs I have no advice but hope that things gt better soon.

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