Hope From One Who Lives With Dementia
Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Questions About Nursing Homes Answered

"Don't ever put me in a nursing home!" 

How often have we heard that? And how many of us have fallen prey to making a promise not to let this happen?  

Generally, the elder asking you to make this promise is remembering a visit to a friend or relative, often years back, and has decided all nursing homes are dreadful places. Unfortunately, some still are. But nursing homes, originally modeled after military hospitals and - yes - prisons, were arranged for efficiency of staff. They were set up to take care of people with as little staff time as possible. People have had good reason to fear living in a nursing home.

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Hi Mary Ellen,
None of us ever wants to face the idea of being incontinent, as it flies in the face of what we consider adulthood. This woman is certainly suffering.

I'm wondering if a combination of talking with a psychologist and an anti-anxiety medication may help her. She is focused solely on this issue and has no other life. You are so kind to worry about this. Her doctor isn't helping at all. It is a mental obsession, which isn't shameful. In my opinion, she needs the help of a doctor who can deal with that. She needs to learn it's okay and she can still live her life. Bottom line: find another doctor, preferable a psychologist.

Thank you for caring so much.


Help! I care for an 84 year old incontinent woman who is so afraid of leakage that every waking moment is consumed by worry. She sets a timer for every 12-20 minutes all night. She wears a pull up diaper over a belted diaper over a pad; then she folds up several layers of toilet paper and puts that on top of everything. As you can imagine, this process consumes most of her time day and night. Any suggestions? When I talked to the urologist about it, he had no answer - to polite to say it was mental I think.
Any suggestions?

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