Nursing Home/Long Term Care/Home Care/losing bowel control in father


My dad is now 87 years old. He is losing his abilites to reason and has had many reasons to have issues.
He has had a very tough year. His wife is divorcing him and he has not been able to understand any of this.  He has had many changes in past year incuding a caretaker,new home illness and multiple issues with the divorce. He over the past month has had 2 episodes where he lost his bowels and refuses help to get him cleaned up.  He is able to shower independently but on both occasios refused the insistence of needing to shower following. Both times he made a tremendous mess with shit all over the place. The second time even worse getting it all over the handles of the doors.walls and carpet.  The caretaker  told me this and I am asking for advice. Is this a dementia related behavior and how can i get my father to accept help in this situation.  He has a 24hour caretaker. Julie

Hello Julie,

It's difficult to guess what is going on with your Dad, but refusing to wash up after bowel incontinence is not normal behaviour. Obviously as you stated, he has had a very stressful year, and he's almost 90, so there is a good possibility he may have some form of early dementia going on.

Does he not have a family doctor? I would recommend taking him in for a thorough check-up. Do some basic bloodwork to see what's going on, perhaps he has an infection which can cause confusion in seniors. Is he getting enough to eat and drink - dehydration is another common cause of non-dementia-related confusion in the elderly.

You mention "illness" but did not specify what kind - the behaviour could be an indication of an illness progressing or a bad reaction to a medication or combination of medications. Again taking him to see his doctor would be the best place to start.

Wishing you all the best,

Nursing Home/Long Term Care/Home Care

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Margot RN BScN GNC


GERONTOLOGY (NURSING ISSUES RELATED TO THE ELDERLY) I have 25+ years experience working with the elderly. I would be pleased to offer any assistance I can. My areas of expertise include: Gerontology / Geriatrics, Long Term Care, Community Nursing, Palliative Care, Private Nursing Services, Intermediate / Extended Care. I also have a personal interest in Homeopathic and Eastern Medicine. If I can not answer your question I`ll do my best to direct you to an appropriate resource. Thank you.


I have twenty years experience in Gerontological Nursing both in the community, and in Long Term Care. I have worked as a General Duty Nurse, a Nurse Manager, and a Nursing Consultant in Long Term Care and Community Nursing.I have a great deal of experience working with, assessing, and educating in the field of Gerontology (Nursing the Elderly). I am familiar with the challenges associated with Dementia (Alzheimer's), Chronic and Terminal illnesses.
Experience in the area
20 years of Long Term Care and Community Nursing, specialising in Geriatrics, Gerontology and Palliative Care.

Registered Nurse , Certified Gerontological Nurse, Bachelor of Science in Nursing

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