.This entry is written by Truthful Loving Kindness (yes, that is my full legal name) for publishing at http://www.truthfulkindness.com , so PLEASE address any questions or comments to that website, regardless of which website shows these words.
Caution for possible TMI (too much information). This blog entry was triggered by repeatedly answering questions from multiple care-partners regarding excrement at inappropriate places.
Color and Lighting: It is surprising how many of us have bad dreams about trying to find the bathroom door. It is crucial that the bathroom door is a different color than the walls, that the handle is easy to open (like a lever instead of a knob) and that there is sufficient lighting in the hallway outside the bathroom door. Frequently a “Bathroom” or “Toilet” sign is insufficient for our current needs.
Subdued but sufficient bathroom Lighting can help avoid having excrement (poop or urine) at inappropriate places. it also helps if the toilet or lid is a different color than the floor.
We have several night-lights in the bathroom, because bright lights hurt my eyes now and produce sensory hypersensitivity (which can make me angry at everything). Also, the brighter the light then the more difficult it is to fall asleep again when i go back to bed.
Recognition and Hand-Coordination: However, even aside from lighting,
i have already had days that i look at the residue on toilet paper and find it difficult to recognize what that stuff is.
My smell sensors for that sort of thing are mostly gone . Also,
hand coordination is very poor, (as shown by my difficulty with the more complicated actions of brushing teeth and brushing hair) so the toilet paper process is difficult.
There are just certain moves that are super-complicated, and even at this stage butt-cleaning is one. Hand must make complicated actions going in several directions simultaneously, which requires considerable hand coordination. No surprise that in later stages of dementia, poop can end up all over.
So very embarrassing to realize i am getting close to the point that i will need a helper for this task. Cleaned plenty of bottoms when children’s brains were developing, but i REALLY wanted to be dead before my brain deterioration got to this point. ugggh
Video from Teepa Snow (Positive Approach to Care) at https://youtu.be/x8eygfNRUlQ is below.
No disasters yet for ME … but impulse shows that the day of more toilet problems is not all that far off.
i think at this stage, i appreciate an abundance of both panty-Liners and “baby wipes” close at hand to the toilet. Reminder that these require easy-open, secure trash container near the toilet (again in a different color from the bathroom floor). So far these strategies are meeting my current toilet needs, but i usually need a reminder from husband to wash my hands afterward. (Reminder while heading to the bathroom is completely ineffective because a trip to the toilet is labor-intensive, but i need a reminder when i come OUT of the bathroom.)
Comment from Susan Milo Maroulis, shared with permission on 05Dec2022:
Very important info & having same visual symptoms & problems w hands ( my hair is very knotted now). I have lever doorknobs & I think that really helps. I may have to try one of those bidet seats that attach to the toilet- but doubt I’ll figure that out. No sense of smell for a long time. I try to go to the bathroom regardless if I need to because then I find I did need to go. I think I brush my teeth several times a day since I’m not sure when they were brushed. My hair is the worst. I have to get a better detangler.
Toilet Paper (everywhere EXCEPT for in the toilet) is question answered by Truthful Kindness at https://truthfulkindness.com/2021/02/28/tp-and-dementia/ ;
NEED Frequent Toilet Trips by Truthful Kindness at https://truthfulkindness.com/2021/06/13/frequent-toilet/ ;
!Crucial! Feelings about wearing DIAPERS by Elmarie at https://beautifulmemories.video.blog/2021/05/05/the-morning-after/ ;
not PLwD: care-partner challenge of incontinence issues is in first section of this video by Teepa Snow at >> https://youtu.be/kd26usrUtDI ;
… and you might want to check out the Links gathered for Dementia Symptoms and Strategies (alphabetized) at https://truthfulkindness.com/about/d-info/links-sx-strategies/.
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Tags: alzheimers, bathroom, dementia, hygiene, person with dementia, PLwD, poop, strategy, symptoms, toilet . S&S categ: hygiene .