3 caregiving considerations you might have overlooked
@Ruth - thank you for jumping into the conversation and sharing your own challenges - I can tell you 100% 'get it.' And good points about brands -pricing - sizing. It took us a while to find the right items for mom - that worked well. Not to mention, these realities look different for those caring for male loved ones. I helped out a friend with his father, and discovered the adult diaper with the side/tape tabs worked well, because they were easier to get loose. So many little nuances - glad to have your voice and experiences in the mix!!
Thank you so much, again! After feeling alone in these decisions and inventions along the way-- it is so cool to see what you are creating here.
First of all - thank you for creating this feature and comment thread for sharing on this issue. I think you are filling a niche for many care givers who, whether they are complete beginners or old hands, crave community and companionship on this road of family care giving. Bless your heart!
My own mom passed about a month ago and I sympathize with your mission to give back, to support people from having to reinvent the wheel. My loss is raw but I have soothed it at times with energy for helping others.
I was lucky enough to have my sister and daughter involved in these quandaries; they weren’t geographically able to be as hands-on, but because they sometimes were they were able to brainstorm with me and offer insights and their own research snd observations.
Equally helpful was the collaboration with Mom’s hired care givers-- we worked with a number of women with strong experience in this area. We learned from each other, as they liked to say, but the tips and insights they brought to us were priceless.
If I can share our different take on the adult diapering issue:
We used disposable incontinence ‘panties’ and pads for daytime.
We used disposable diapers for overnight and situations (needing a change on the road, on very low energy days-- low for Mom or the person with her) where taking Moms shoes and pants off to put in a new panty was just not happening.
For actual adult diapers our Mom- we bought CVS ‘stretch-fit’ type which were more breathable (not plastic), tore less easily, and accommodated the xtra room her curved spine added. And yes I think they did cost a bit more.
(Wrote this in first person, but keep in mind my family’s input)
Agreed! My mom had been buying the cheapest products possible-- in fact when I came on the scene to support her she had been using menstrual pads because she found them to be cheaper. That had been a disaster.
I went the route of best quality, interpreting that to mean Poise or Depends, the popularly higher positioned brands, as well as the most costly.
I changed my mind: these two seem to be cut for younger women- answering the call to be least visible under clothing, most fashionable looking in expensive ads, and offering 3 or four colors instead of one.
It turned out a store brand (CVS) gave Mom a closer fit, with more rows of elastic shirring; the legs were less fashionably, but more effectively, also elastic.
Maybe a little more baggy, but my mom was an elder in her 80s and up, who had scoliosis which also took up more room in the pants area.
There were cheaper panties, diapers, and pads that we also rejected. One pad brand always seems to have some harder pellets in it which concerned me re possible pressure sore formation.
Keeping an eye on the ‘trickle’ definitely paid off in improving my mom’s hygiene and health.
Second adaptive difference: we used these “panties” (the sides called them pull-ups, but we got them to change that out of deference to mom’s status as an adult) as a shell to support the adult incontinence pads we used as liners. The liners were changed whenever there was any spotting of urine or feces, if she had been completely dry and the interval between changes has been short we left it. The panty was used from first morning change till the last change of the day - unless it had itself been compromised by urine or feces.
Most of my mom’s years her feces were like Teflon, they didn’t stick and she didn’t have anal incontinence.
When Mom had a UTI - we got advice: so We washed Mom at every toileting with a front spray- a makeshift plastic bottle of warm water with a teaspoon of baking soda in it (which trickled down toward her anus to rinse it second). Those cleared up.
People found that process a little exhausting to keep up with after the originally planned 2 weeks, so we switched to plain water. Eventually we went all out and bought and had installed a luxurious water and seat warming bidet that could be set to aim at ‘front only’ (the stipulation of the nurse practitioner who had taught us the baking soda solution squirt remedy. She was wary of the electric bidet, but was won over when it worked: as long as we didn’t use the anus spray and we wiped away any feces (or suspicion of) first).