Nearly eleven years of caregiving have taught me that transition times--when the patient is undergoing a downward turn--can create tension and trigger grief over what has been lost. I'm struggling through a sad transition time with my mom--please pray for us!
I really am very tired today but am shaking it off right now so the remainder of this post should be more upbeat and downright helpful!
Below you will find a list of products that have helped us during the complete incontinence Mom suddenly began to suffer a week or so ago. I worried that she had suffered a small stroke, but our nurse practitioner treated her for a urinary tract infection. She has now actually regained a measure of bowel and bladder control since her difficulties of last week. Note to caregivers: in Alzheimer patients, urinary tract infections can cause seemingly unrelated symptoms such as hallucinations, apathy, withdrawal, and loss of will to make those all important trips to the bathroom. For whatever reason, for two days Mom just withdrew into herself and sat immobile, unwilling to stand or walk, and although I knew UTI's can present with atypical symptoms in the elderly, I didn't recognize the signs. You'll find a helpful article about UTI's in the elderly here.
Here are those products that have helped us through this time:
Tranquility overnight adult diapers are the best I've found so far to prevent most leakage. When I added a Poise pad to these the bed stayed dry throughout the night.
This priva sheet protector has saved me a world of grief. I use baby diaper pins to secure it on top of the sheet, so that in the mornings I simply unpin the protector and have only to launder it--an easy task as compared to having to change the bulky mattress pad and under sheet on a daily basis.
These baby diaper pins fasten securely and have not come undone. I put three on each side of the waterproof pad. I also use these to secure Mom's blanket to the opposite side of her bed so that she doesn't pull them off and become entangled when she tries to walk away. This had become a problem, and Mom claimed it was because she always rolls over the same way (this elicits a mind picture of her performing 360 degree rotations throughout the night). For whatever reason, before I began securing them with diaper pins, her blankets ended up on the floor by her walker by morning.
For now, Mom's problems with incontinence have decreased in severity and my caregiving load has lightened once more. But her bout with this UTI motivated me, finally, to tour a nearby nursing home and it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. Caring staff, a perky little dog who greeted us at the door, residents who looked clean and happy, a popcorn machine and movie room--I came away feeling as though a heavy burden had rolled off my shoulders. When my knees buckle and I can no longer take care of Mom here at home, it is wonderful to know there is a place where she can be happy and well-cared-for apart from me.
Meantime the Lord just keeps providing the help we need at our point of need. Preparing to release my mother into the care of others is hard, but I know the Lord will see us through.