Q: My mom is in the early stages of dementia and she is also incontinent we have tried to get her to stop wearing her underpants and have her start wearing pull-up diapers, she throws the Depends out the door and puts her underpants on. Of coarse we have a lot of laundry! How should I handle this?
A: This one should be fairly easy to solve. You have a few options actually! And hopefully you won't have to try them all!
First, you should take all of the regular underwear away, and replace them with the Depends. That way there is no other option. Hopefully in a few days she will adjust to the change and not even notice the difference.
If that doesn't work you may have to resort to under-handed, underwear tactics.
Sometimes with dementia you have to be a little bit dishonest. Somehow to me it never felt right telling little old ladies, little white lies. But, perhaps you could look at it like you are just stretching things a bit, or since we are Irish, it is just blarney!
One of the only ways to effectively deal with those who have dementia or alzheimer's is to enter into their reality. In your moms' mind, she doesn't have a problem and doesn't need them. In our reality we are smelling the urine, finding wet clothes, the furniture might be getting soiled etc. So here are a few one liners that might help you.
1. Mom we sent the underwear to the dry cleaners, they won't be back until next Monday.
2. Sorry, mom, they had to keep them another week.
3. I'm going to have to call and complain, because it has taken them so long.
4. The ladies' department at JC Penney, told me that they don't make that kind of underwear anymore mom. They only sell this kind.
5. Mom, you are hip! It's what all the chics your age are wearing!
6. Mom the washing machine is broken, can you just wear these until we get it fixed.
7. Mom, the dryer ate your underwear.
8. What underwear?
Get a little creative!
Renee "Dutchy" Reeves is an Elder Care Consultant with over 10 years of working with the elderly and their families. Her online advice column, "Ask Dutchy" provides practical ideas and advice for assisting the elderly with Alzheimer's disease, Dementia, Parkinson's, disability, and those needing long term care. See other articles by her at http://www.askdutchy.mycarelink.net