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Bathroom trips

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

Once again I am having this conversation.

I am with a person who has become increasingly immobile. She doesn't want to get up any more to go to the bathroom or maybe she just can't manage to get up anymore and so it's becoming a chore. Her legs aren't working as well, she is finding it difficult to stand at the toilet to pull her pants up, getting out of bed in time has been difficult etc. What to do? What are the options?

It is now time to make some decisions about a new routine. I like to refrain from "do this don't do that" because people get very stubborn. No one wants to admit they need help getting to the bathroom on time or that they are getting old yet both are acknowledged to be evident. So I clearly and calmly present the options in no particular order. First choice is to double up on the Depends and to use a Poise pad. There are varying degrees of retention with the Poise pads, something for every need. At night you can get the super absorbent ones that let you stay in bed all night to the lighter ones where you just need support when walking to the bathroom. Whatever the need, it's available. Next choice is to get a portable commode. This can be put somewhere near the bed so that it only takes a few steps or perhaps just one to reach. Next there is the option of having an over night caregiver on hand to help walk the patient to the bathroom but even that can get old if the patient is having trouble walking at all. So really your choices are to get the commode or to stock up on over night Depends, Poise pads, chucks and extra cloth quilted bed pads, 3 to be safe.

The down side and up side of these tend to be personal but most people don't want to have to choose either one. Some people don't like having the commode in their face all day long. Not a problem. It can be moved into a nearby closet or behind a chair. At some point it won't matter any more but in the beginning it's a problem. The Depends are eschewed because now they feel completely helpless and who wants to lie in bed peeing into a Depends and then having to wear it all night. It will be changed in the morning but that could be hours away. This is always a turning point for people. If you can't make it to the bathroom on time then age has won.

This is always an emotional conversation.

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