How do I deal with a husband with Parkinson's who has problems with urination but refuses to wear diapers or even underwear?

A fellow caregiver asked...

How do I deal with a husband with Parkinson's who is now using a urinal in the living room? I can't have company and he won't wear any kind of diaper or even his underwear. He says it's because he can't get it out in time.

Expert Answer

Laura Cheney, a physical therapist who specializes in geriatrics, graduated with honors from the University of California at San Francisco in 2000. She loves her job working as the sole physical therapist at a premier life-care facility in San Francisco. She has written articles and lectured extensively on fall prevention and other issues relevant to the aging experience. As a registered yoga teacher, she teaches yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness techniques to seniors -- helping them expand their repertoire for coping with stress, pain, and illness in the later years.

I am sorry that you are struggling with this difficult situation. It sounds as if your husband may be having some cognitive changes (changes in the way his brain is processing thought) in addition to the Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson's disease affects a part of the brain that is related to motor function and thus causes physical symptoms such as tremors, slowed movement, and problems with walking. However, 15-30% of people with Parkinson's do develop dementia but it is normally in the later stages of the disease. I have no way of knowing if your husband is affected by this but it may be helpful for you to consult with a psychiatrist and a geriatric social worker to find out what is underlying your husband's lack of participation. You do not have to handle this on your own. Getting more information and support will be helpful for you.