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Elderly Mum and Toilet Issues - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

Elderly Mum and Toilet Issues

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
SheWolf... I might be stating the obvious here. Image

I assume your mother has a GP? And perhaps a social worker?

I think you will be well advised to update them and get their assistance? A continence nurse involvement would be helpful and an Occupational therapist....GP will be able to start the ball rolling as well as offering medical and or appropriate nutritional advice specific to her needs.

PS the GP will also probably be able to reassure her about her op too. One last thought, have you checked that care workers are allowed to administer eye drops? grey area. If not, district nurse might be needed....worth checking this with GP too.
Hi She Wolf

Mum's commode is portable, like a wheelchair, on wheels, which is very useful. We'd wheel it into the living room when she wanted to be there, or it would remain in the bedroom when she was bed ridden. It also doubled up as light weight wheel chair indoors when mum's mobilty is especially poor.
Dad and me also thought about chemical toilets etc. But we wouldn't be without the commode now. It has so many advantages over sani-flows, chemical bogs, etc.
It's quickly and easily portable. Because you have to clean and disinfect it after every use I bet it's a heck of a lot more hygienic too than the alternatives. That's very important regarding UTI's as SussexRox has pointed out so knowledgeably. You can also keep an eye on any changes of wee or poo and quantities thereof; that couldn't happen with the alternatives.

Commodes have a bit of a bad press. Maybe the name needs changing, it sounds so damn Victorian! But like so many things, sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.

Mum too point blank refused to use it until about a month ago. She'd "Sooner die than use that damn thing," etc, etc. She'd literally risk life and limb tottering to the bog in the wee hours (if dad didn't wake up) rather than use it.
Now, mum thinks its the best thing since sliced white bread, and so do I.

I promise you that any squeamishness, for all concerned, regarding privacy and cleaning, quickly go out the window, and simply become a new norm.
If anything, trust, intimacy and even humour have increased between me and mum ever since she started using the commode.
Commodes rock! SOooo much better than the alternatives.
Thanks again everybody, very useful to have your feedback on this issue.

I am not involving the GP at the moment, as they don't have an incontinence nurse at the practice anyway so there would probably be lots of hoops to jump through to get help - more appointments is the last thing either of us needs right now. Also, I know we could probably get a commode on loan, but I decided to buy one instead, preferring that Mum has a new one, rather than one that somebody else has used.

Today I went to the a disability aids shop and bought a very nice commode that is actually a comfortable chair too. It is quite a simple design of chair, with a padded back and seat, but wooden frame and arms - so easily wiped clean. I took it over to Mum's today and she was quite pleased that it looks like a normal chair and the fabric actually goes with the carpet etc. I talked her through using it, explained she needn't try to empty it herself, but should just pop the plastic lid on and leave it for me and the carer. I left tissues and wet wipes next to it and left the seat cover off, so she can get to it quickly. So, we'll see.

I'm glad so many of you have positive thoughts about commodes, because there is a real stigma about using one and truth be told I was very squeamish, but really feel the benefits could outweigh the negatives in this situation. Anyway, I'm hoping that much of this problem will subside once that dreaded 2nd op has been done - we won't know how much of this is psychosomatic until we are beyond that point.

I also had a long chat with the carer and she's now agreed to split her hours so that she does an hour in the morning and one in the afternoon. That way Mum will get prompted more to eat and drink and visit the loo, and won't be sitting in her mess so long if accidents happen. Now all I can hope is that Mum co-operates with the carer, because she sometimes lies to her and says she doesn't need the loo, when the carer can smell that she's already had an accident. Getting a commode installed was easy, but getting her to use it and/or co-operate is another matter. Fingers crossed.
Fingers crossed here, she-wolf. Sounds like a dreadful situation. Good that the carer has split her hours. That should help a bit.
Thanks Anne, yes the carer is a real gem. She is a pensioner, who initially began doing some cleaning for my parents, to subsidise her pension, but she's full of energy and very caring so we've grown her hours as time went on. We will pay her extra to cover the extra travelling time/petrol, as it would not be fair to split her hours and double her journeys for no extra recompense.

Today the carer and I theorised as to what could have caused this flare up. In theory it could be bowel cancer - probably incurable at her age. It could be ulcerative colitis... we thought that was the case when the symptoms began a few weeks back, and the GP prescribed a course of steroids, which calmed it for a while. It could be stress induced IBS, or a combination of several things, but the only way to find out is blood tests and another colonoscopy - not something I'd put her through again. So, between us we've decided to take a wait and see approach, hoping things will settle down.

I've had a headache for days and am now suffering from vertigo because of the worry all this has caused me. I'm not sleeping well and have been comfort eating all the wrong foods. Sometimes I wish my mother could just make an effort to help herself, rather than taking the 'I'll just ignore it and it might go away' approach. She has no clue of the impact she has on me.
She has no clue of the impact she has on me.
Yes indeed, I think they are all like that. Other people who arnt carers have no idea either. Im afraid it goes with the territory. Image

I do hope the commode works. Good luck with the eye appointments. Image

Edit: attributed the quote to the wrong person - sorry - now amended
Absolutely goes with the territory..... my Mum has yet again just told me "I haven't any idea what you do for me and you might as well tie a piece of string to a stick and run round it for all the good you are" that is after a morning of doing her breakfast, dinner and tea (left covered up ready for me to go back and re heat in the microwave) all her housework, a washer full of washing, dried it on the line, took her to see my Aunt (mums Sis In Law) who is currently in the latter stages of her life in a care home (last breath is imminent) and bought her ironing back to my house to iron it along with my own. Oh it would have been so easy to retaliate in anger but I didn't I just smiled and said one day you just might realise just about how much I do do. I also had a conversation with my Aunts Sister about how bad the care home is where my Aunt is and how me and my cousin just appear to want to be rid of the problem by shoving them in any old place again angry retaliation would have been all too easy but I just said "please walk a week in my shoes and then see if you can make the same comment" I then smiled sweetly and said "maybe see you at her funeral then because I haven't seen you every week up until this one" .... No wonder we all feel like we are going slowly insane Grr!!!! xxxxxxxx
JHR - brilliant reposte to that relative - RESPECT! Image

The commode has not been "christened" yet, but Mum has been making an effort to use the toilet today. Maybe the thought of using the commode is spurring her on to make an effort to get to the toilet, in order to avoid using it? Image If so, it's worth every penny! Image
JHR, I agree with SW... Ouch! God on you!

SW, the magic of the commode's bad press seems to be working with your mum; she is acting exactly like my mum did, avoiding it at all costs. If that spurs your mum on to use the normal toilet more often (whilst she still can) then I'd say that was money well spent. Plus, it's always there for when it will be needed, good style. Double value for money, I'd say!
Yep, it's been really useful, but not in the way I thought!

We had a visitor today, and she used it! Image Not for a toilet, just to sit on - the seat cover was on and she had no idea she was sat on a commode! It's quite a comfy chair and blends with the decor. Mum might avoid using it for now, but if anything happens to reduce her mobility she might need it, so I'm glad it's there now.