How Can I Best Clean My Wheelchair Bound Mother After She Soils Herself?

A fellow caregiver asked...


My mother is 89, she has Alzheimer's and is incontinent. She is also wheelchair bound.

I take care of her at home along with two women who watch over her. She is a little overweight, and is not in control of her feet very much. It has been harder to get her clean after she soils herself. I guess I'm wanting to learn what is the best method of cleaning her would be. We tried a hospital bed, but it was too tall, and very hard to get her in and out of bed. My brother wants to put her in a home, but I would not be able to live with myself doing that. I feel that if I was just able to learn the right techniques we could do the same for her from home where she gets one on one care. Please help. Thank you.

Expert Answer

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

I hope you will be able to care for your mother at home for your sake.Your dear mother would be fine either way with a caring daughter like you. When you are dealing with incontinence for the wheelchair bound, there are so many factors to consider for your mother's safety and cleanliness. Also for your own health and the safety of your helpers.

You should get a consultation from a nurse. Best would be a Geriatric Care Manager who is also an RN. You need a person to come to the house, consider the factors of your mother's inability to control her feet, her weight, how the transfer should work, and to suggest good products for her skin.

If she thinks you can keep your mother at home, the consultant should work out a system and teach you and your caregivers how to care for your mother.

You could check to find a caremanager in your area. If there is no one close, you could call the Area Agency or Aging or the county aging offices or even a licensed homehealth agency. Just make sure that the person you hire for this consultation has real nursing skills to bring comfort and ease to you and your mother.

Another point to consider is whether two caregivers are enough to help you. It can be very difficult to get a person up as much as is needed. The body gets tired and accidents happen. A bedridden or wheelchair bound loved one needs to be helped to move quite often so that the skin does not get pressure sores.

All of these issues can be worked out. But you do need expert help.(in person)