Ahhh, toilet troubles. Perhaps you've had them, too. They were one of my most challenging eldercare issues. Some days, my grandfather simply couldn't make it to the toilet in time. Other days, he would find the bathroom, only to mistake my laundry hamper for a toilet. When I insisted on helping, he sometimes refused to sit down, self-conscious about this highly personal experience. I have searched for ways to ease this process, and am sharing my top tips to help your life as a caregiver here.
Make the Bathroom and Toilet Easy to Find
A lot of doors look alike. I like to use strong visual cues, like painting the bathroom door a unique color or placing a large picture of a toilet on the door. Good lighting, day and night, is also essential.
Is it easy for your elderly person to see where to go once they find the bathroom? I discovered my laundry hamper was much too close to the toilet, encouraging its use as a urinal. Removing everything but the bare essentials in the bathroom may make it seem less inviting, but I believe it is worth it to make your life easier. I even recommend changing the color of the toilet fixture or the walls, if necessary, to clearly distinguish the toilet fixture. Placing the toilet paper roll on a small stool in front of the toilet, instead of in a standard holder, can ensure it is easy to find.
Arrange a Comfortable Environment
I have a vivid image of my grandfather shouting "ES FRIO!" in the middle of the night while my mother and I desperately tried to get his pants down in time and seat him on the toilet. Accustomed to turning the heat down at night, we quickly learned to keep the temperature comfortable 24 hours a day.
I also discovered that stepping just out of sight of my grandfather once he was correctly positioned, or using a waist-high privacy screen, helped him feel more comfortable.
Find a Good Fit
One size does not fit all. I found certain styles and sizes of protective undergarments worked far better than others. Taking the time to try a few variations may save a lot of headaches.
Have you found a solution to eldercare toilet troubles that I haven't mentioned here? Please share your thoughts and help our community.