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Elderly mum having continence accidents every time we go out

(4 Posts)
ruby1234 Sat 15-Oct-16 18:49:11

Hi. Not sure quite how to word this, but here goes...

My Dm is 82, widowed, lives on her own and appears to manage quite well. She lives close to me and I see her most days. I can tell her home and personal cleanliness is beginning to slip a little, but nothing major. Not something I can mention as she denies things and gets very defensive.
About 6 months ago I took her on a (regular) shopping trip and she suddenly, urgently needed the loo. Luckily we weren't too far away and she got there (but seemingly not quite in time). She came out of the loo smelling very badly of poo, some on her shoes and in her fingernails. I got her to go back in and wash her hands again. Anyway, I asked her to wait and I would get the car and we would go home. She insisted everything was fine and she wanted to carry on shopping. She denied she had had an accident and that all was well. We continued shopping for a while and had a coffee, where she told me she had had a similar episode a while ago whilst at the theatre with my (adult) daughter, culminating in daughter having to go buy new underwear/wipes etc for DM to clean herself up.

DM said it was a one off and all was well. She refused my suggestion she went to see the doctor and clearly (for DM) the conversation was over.

Things seemed to settle down over the next couple of months. But, the last 4 times I have taken her out the same thing has happened. Yesterday we went on an arranged outing for a blood test for DM to the local Asda, only a 5 minute drive away. DM went to the loo at her house, at mine again before we set off, then went back to hers for 'something' then went again as we got to Asda, then another twice as we were shopping. The second time coming back very smelly with poo on her shoes and hands. I asked if she was ok, and insisted she was fine. I asked what was on her hands and she said it was where she spilt her coffee earlier. She buys Imodium by the packet load whenever we are out and when I ask her why she needs it she says it is for 'just in case'.

DM is a long way from a helpless old lady, this year alone she has been on a cruise holiday, a trip to the Canaries, many weekends away (she plays in a card club and goes on holidays with them) and she visits a friend for lunch in a nearby city on the bus once a week. I cannot understand how she manages to do those things yet seems unable to go out on short trips without these accidents.

Thanks for reading so far... I think what I want to know is how can I support her through this (very personal) thing. She is very stubborn and will not seek any help for this, but I am the point of not wanting to take her out because of the accidents (had to clean the carpets and seat in my car after yesterday). I'm sounding like a miserable unsympathetic cow I know, and I don't mean to. I have 2 brothers who are not massively involved with DM (out of sight out of mind scenario) and I don't feel I can tell them this - DM would be furious with me.

Can anyone offer any advice?

scoobdoob Sun 16-Oct-16 19:18:43

She maybe constipated, probably from the imodium, and having overflow diarrhoea.

But any change in bowel habit needs to be seen by a doctor. Or a nurse if she refused a gp visit.

It is strange how she manages the other things. Unless she really doesn't know it is happening.

ruby1234 Mon 17-Oct-16 09:38:43

Thanks for the reply.

yes, she definitely knows it is happening, just chooses to pretend it isn't.

No chance of persuading her to see a doctor....

missyB1 Mon 17-Oct-16 09:43:07

What a difficult situation sad she really does need to see a doctor as this isn't normal no matter what her age is. Sounds like she's scared and is hiding her head in the sand. Could you try asking her what she thinks it is?

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