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I'm sorry if this is a long post, and thank you in advance if you read it but I am overwhelmed and burned out as a caregiver for my 94 year old grandmother.

First of all, let me say that I love my grandmother and admire her so much for helping raise me. But it has been a rough few years watching her health decline and being "hired help" to take care of her. I hope that doesn't sound bad that my grandmother pays for me to take care of her, but it is a happy trade. We are both blessed by this. But let me say...it is getting harder to deal with the dementia and everything that goes along with it.

At first I was hired to just come once a week to deep clean her house. Vacuum, sweep/mop, laundry, clean kitchen. But as you all know -when dealing with aging loved ones at this stage in their life - there becomes less and less control of bodily functions. :(

I can handle all other messes - like spilling food and things going bad in the fridge and a super-messy kitchen. I love to clean. But I DO NOT enjoy cleaning up poop and pee. Can I whine about this here? I want to explain my side of the story to get some advice on how to carry on with this burden?

My aunt is the one "in charge" of my grandmother's care. She lives an hour away. She handles her bank account and writes my check, and asks me to do extra errands or chores...and that I don't mind. My aunt usually comes once on the weekend to visit my grandmother - but she travels sometimes and can't. My aunt has also hired a sitter to come help bathe my grandmother twice a week and that helps so much! It was very difficult for me to help my grandmother in the shower. I am not a CNA or anything....a stay at home mom with an accounting degree...so although I don't mind cleaning....I am not into cleaning body parts if you know what I mean.

The sitter comes from 9-12 Tuesdays and Fridays. I come on Thursdays and stay 3 or 4 hours cleaning and running errands. My aunt usually comes on Sunday afternoons to wash dishes and get a few groceries.

Okay - here is the deal with my grandmother. She can not walk/balance well. She doesn't need a wheelchair. She is just afraid of falling...and kind of lazy too. That may sound mean, but I'm being honest. She has a walker - one of those bigger ones with the seat in it. But she doesn't WALK with it. I call it her scooter. Because she sits in it and scoots around the house backwards! Not safe! She has had a few accidents and near misses with that thing...but stubborn is as stubborn does! She is in generally good health to be her age and live alone. Good appetite. No major health problems. No diabetes. Just arthritis and the dementia going on is her only problems. Absolutely NO bladder control. None. She had some kind of bladder surgery years ago that did nothing. Her dementia is the kind where she is forgetful about what time of day it is and whether or not she has eaten or if she has taken her medicine. That sort of thing. She is also controllive and manipulative and accuses her sitter of all sorts of shenanigans like stealing things and throwing her dentures in the garbage. My grandmother is also highly paranoid of the neighbors peeping in on her and things like that. Just normal dementia stuff.

Can I vent about the bladder problems? My grandmother has a weird thing with her personal hygeine. She is soooooo very stingy that she hates having to wear the depends because she feels it is such a waste of money. She puts on a depends and also puts on an overnight pad. She wears it basically ALL day. I don't know how many times she changes her depends/pads but I'm thinking it's only 2 or 3 times a day. She does NOT go to the toilet to pee. Because it all trickles out constantly. So she basically soaks her pads and continues to wear them and the pee gets all over her pajamas, in her houseshoes, on the carpet, on whatever she sits on. We have to keep waterproof baby crip pads on her bed and couch where she sits to protect the furniture and so they can be washed easily. Her pajamas are thoroughly soaked and if no one is there to make her change pajamas she will just wear the soiled ones. This disturbs me. Not only because it is disgusting but because I am the one that has to do her laundry!

Washing her clothes consists of putting them in a bucket of hot water and oxyClean Odor Blaster, putting on rubber gloves, swishing them around....the water turns orangy brown. Rinsing them out. And then washing them in the washing machine. Why do I do this???? Because I don't have all day to wash them in the washing machine twice. I feel like one cycle through the machine is not enough to get the odor out. It doesn't because I have tried. My method of cleaning her laundry works great. But it is humbling and horrible. I don't how I manage the smells. I guess it's like changing a baby's diaper. You just do it and get it over with and hold your breath.

So let me go on...I live in the South. I she keeps her heat on 80 in the summer time. It's HOT. The pee smells in her house are bad. Very bad. I have to open windows to let the house breathe when I go over and light candles. Somehow I manage to get her house sparkling clean. Lately she has been having trouble with POOP. She goes to the toilet and somehow gets poop on the rug and it is smeared on the sides of the toilet where her legs would be. ???? I don't get it! Why doesn't she try to at least wipe up after herself if she has a poop accident? Is this maybe one of those dementia things where they start playing with their poop?

But HERE's the kicker!!!! My grandmother has a beside potty chair that I think my grandad used before he passed. NOW she wants to use it!! First of all, she wants it in her bedroom beside her bed. But then she tells me she doesn't sleep in her bed most of the time that she falls asleep on the couch. I don't know if this is true because sometimes her bed covers are messed up more than others. She eats in her bed because I find crumbs. But i will tell you what I'm pretty sure she does in her bedroom. She sits on the side of her bed to put on her clean depends. I have seen her do this. I don't know why she wants to take it in there and not stay in the bathroom to change? Sometimes there is poop smearedon her bedsheets but not her clothes? So that explains the poop on her bed. She has this routine of going to the bed to put on clean depends. In the process....peeing on the carpet next to her bed on sheets and getting unwiped poop on her sheets. :dizzy:

AND I know why she wants the potty chair next to her bed. You see ...she doesn't go to the toilet at all because she can't make it. By the time she thinks she has to pee she has already peed her depends. I think this is a dementia thing. I think she just wants the potty chair for the attention it brings. It gives her a reason to be waited on and to feel justified for all the pee messes she makes. I would rather her just pee on her clothes than to have to empty her pee pot for her! I have not yet had to do this. Because this is a new thing she started. But if her sitter is there on Tuesday and no on is there on Wednesday....guess who gets to smell 2 day old pee?

I basically refuse to deal with this. If my aunt expects me to deal with pee pot smells too....then I have had some relieving thoughts of taking the pee pot and slinging it off the bridge into the river!!!! :D

I don't know the answer to this dilemma! My aunt is trying to find a nursing home for her to go to this fall, but in the meantime...I think my grandmother needs a sitter all day...every day. In order to make her change her pajamas, changer her depends regularly so she is not soaking through it like a wet sponge, and so there is no need for a potty chair. What are your thoughts??





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