Currently she is wetting clothes and then hiding them.

Anyone who is hiding urine soaked clothes instead of dealing with it is either terrified because they are in an abusive relationship or their mind is slipping a few gears, given that this is an elder care forum I'm guessing it's #2. The first thing you need to do is wrap your head around the idea that this formerly competent person is no longer capable of dealing with this on their own. Buy some incontinence pads or underwear, tell her you've found her wet clothes and you have found something to help. Hopefully that's all you'll need to do for now but if there is denial or push back you may need to remove her regular panties from the drawer and replace them with incontinence underwear, then insist she uses them.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to cwillie

You don't have to say anything.
Remove her underwear from her drawer and replace it all with disposable pull ups.
If mom is living with you (or you with her) you MUST start a routine bathroom schedule. Every 2 hours you TAKE mom to the bathroom. You stand there with her and help her. Keep an extra set of clothes in the bathroom for the "just in case we have to change". ("Oh, I was going to put these away and guess I forgot them in here, aren't we lucky")
Mom is past the point of "knowing" or realizing what her body cues are.
And getting back to the first bit above...if your mom is living alone and you are finding "treasures" hidden around the house it is time that mom is not living alone and she is in Memory Care or you begin living under 1 roof.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Grandma1954

You can tell her, but if she has dementia this will make no difference.
She cannot compute it. Her ability to reason things out is gone.
Think of it this way.......our toilet training is some of the hardest, most shame-based training of our entire lives. The loss of bladder or bowel control, even the passing of gas is a horrific thought to us for all our lives. And it is well engrained in our brains. Like Music we can remember when we can remember nothing else, it lives on when all else is going.
Any training that is this crucial to our lives ALL of our lives dwells in the emotional centers that are very primitive parts of the brain.
We can "know" reasons and "be told" reasons; but they don't matter.
So your mom is subconsciously reacting to very primitive triggers that have nothing to do with REASON.

What you are experiencing is so common, and quite honestly so difficult to control. Just have a good disposal lined easy to access can or hamper in every room and reinforce "Here's the place for all our wet clothes mom" just as tho you all have them. Hopefully a habit will be formed. I surely do wish you good luck in this. Keep the house spare, clean, and as free of hiding places as you can.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to AlvaDeer

I agree with throwing out her cloth undies and providing only pull-up style disposable briefs.

I also agree she should be escorted to a doctor's appointment for a wellness check where they will test her cognition and memory. Hopefully she has all her legal ducks in a row (has assigned a PoA, created her Advance Healthcare Directive, written a legal Will with an assigned Executor, etc). If she hasn't done this, then don't take her in for the medical exam until she creates these documents. An attorney will asses her legal capacity to make the docs (and the bar is very low so don't assume she's not able).

Then you will need to really think about whether she is truly safe living on her own and managing her own affairs.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Geaton777

I suspect you mean, how do I tell mom , you know she is having bladder issues but is hiding it from you.

That's a really good question, if it was me, I think I would start by maybe putting it on me. For example like saying, mom when I sneeze I pee a little, or say " omg don't make me laugh, or I'm going to have to change my pants". So she opens up to you.

That's just a thought, hopefully others have better ideas.

Best of luck
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Anxietynacy

With Dementia I doubt if your going to be able to explain incontinence to her. My Mom always wore a pad for her problem so changing over to depends was no big deal. Rehab started her on Depends and at that point she was in the early stage of Denentia.

If she is living with you, take her to the bathroom every two hours. No water afterva certain time of night. Introduce the Depends as "no more wet clothes".
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to JoAnn29

Maybe print out an article fur her to read to show it’s normal
and not anything to be ashamed about
my father had a job digesting it as well
i bought disposable pants for him and a baby nappy bin ( didn’t call it that tho otherwise he wouldn’t gave used it) and told him it’s normal to get leaks as we get older and I’ve bought him some pants to help
he originally said he didn’t need them
but slowly I had to keep repeating he did and it was normal
shops filled with special underwear for men and women because it’s such a common issue and we can safeguard to ensure she doesn’t have any embarrassment
if she doesn’t accept insist she use a special pantie
use them a few times and it help she will want to continue using them
its not easy
especially for the older generation who have more pride than the present
its just a condition that affects us all as we get older - and that’s why they invented special discrete underwear
good luck
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Jenny10
TouchMatters Jun 7, 2024
A person hiding wet clothing from urine cannot comprehend an article.
Brain cells have died which is what happens when a person has dementia.
You do not 'tell' or use 'logic' with a person inflicted with brain chemistry changes / loss of brain cells = dementia. They do not understand BECAUSE they cannot.

I do not know your reasoning / desire to 'tell' your mom about incontinence.
Do you want to tell her to STOP? She cannot.
Do you want to tell her to STOP hiding wet clothes? She cannot.

* You take care of the situation as best you can.
* Check her disposal underwear (I hope you are using these pads) to change as often as needed
* Look in closets ... and under the bed. She may hid anywhere. She may also start / be hiding food.
* Get caregivers as needed.

Get on Teepa Snow's website and educate yourself about what dementia is and how to communicate with persons with it; it is not easy; it is exhausting and heartbreaking. Still, you need to learn how to best serve your mother.

Gena / Touch Matters
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to TouchMatters

I swapped out the normal undies for pull-ups. Later I put a change in her bathroom. Tucked into towel bar which was in front of the commode so she could see them and change. Later we had to ask for used ones (holding out a bag lined waste container) and handed her a fresh one. Took it out to garbage immediately. No household odor.
Then we entered era where she didn’t believe she was wet and didn’t want to get up from her chair to change. Variety of things done at this point to gain compliance. Mostly discovering that she was losing her ability to walk. She is totally bedbound now.

The point is, it’s progressive. No need for big discussions. Just pay attention to what is happening. This was with my DH aunt who has dementia.

My mom, who didn’t have dementia and was never totally incontinent, was convinced to wear pull-ups to keep from having to rush to the bathroom. She was afraid of falls so she was compliant. Also when she stood up the urine would sometimes flow. Because she understood what was happening, she wore the pull-ups.

About hiding them. She is perhaps embarrassed, afraid, doesn’t understand what’s happening, maybe thinking she will manage it when she is alone. Any number of reasons depending on her level of decline which is sometimes difficult for you to comprehend, much less this forum.

I would just pay attention to what’s missing from her wardrobe or how many changes in the wash. Something simple to keep up with like this. It may be as simple as it registers with her that you get angry when she has soiled clothes. Just focus on the underwear and see if her behavior changes. Sometimes I noticed it would be a long time between changes in behavior. Other times things declined rapidly. It’s good to pay attention to all ADLS when you see a change in one area, might be going on in others and you haven’t noticed yet.
This is also a good time to get home health in with bathing aides if she qualifies and you want her to live at home as long as possible.

Oh I did also provide pads for aunt in the beginning. Actually she was already using panty liners. But that eventually proved too difficult for her, got flushed, panties thrown away, etc. pull-ups worked for years.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to 97yroldmom

Jo, your comments on grey pants for home vs black for outings is worthy of mentioning & could be it's own thread.

Grey for home (see any dampness).
Black when out (adds to dignity).
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Beatty

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