Help protecting furniture from incontinence
September 21, 2020 3:46 PM   Subscribe

Over Thanksgiving, my wife and I plan to rent a vacation house. Her 90-year-old mother will join us. Her mother is cognitively sharp but incontinent. She has accidents at least three times a day and does not find that adult diapers always work for her. (We don’t know whether they don’t do the job, or whether she doesn’t wear them.)

We bought property damage insurance for the vacation house but would really like to not damage the property. Her mother is getting a much-needed reprieve from her assisted-living home, and we want her to feel relaxed and welcome. Should we get some kind of pads for the furniture, or a plastic mattress cover? Any and all ideas are appreciated.
posted by NotLost to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you decide to go with protective disposable pads, those aimed at the pet market are much less expensive.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 3:55 PM on September 21, 2020 [14 favorites]

Borrow the shower curtain liner.
posted by aniola at 4:11 PM on September 21, 2020

Best answer: In addition to whatever you do for the furniture, would you have any luck convincing her to wear underwear marketed for women's menstrual cycles? This would only protect furniture from small accidents, which may not be your circumstance, but may be more likely to be acceptable to her than adult diapers.
posted by Night_owl at 4:17 PM on September 21, 2020

Best answer: If you are trying to help her feel relaxed and welcome, discretion is probably a priority in terms of what you're choosing. Maybe something like this for a sofa?

Regarding the bed, you probably don't want plastic as it tends to be noisy and hot.

Not your question, but I think you really need to know what the issue with the diapers is. I think it could impact both your options as well as how well you can manage the potential for damage.
posted by sm1tten at 4:43 PM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I’d do layers of disposable or reusable pads, then mattress cover, more pads, then sheet on the bed, and layer disposable and reusable pads on chairs and sofas. Ugly links due to mobile: are good for under sheets and for chairs, you can get fancier ones if she doesn’t want to see them/you don’t want to have the discussion about it and just want to pre-stage the house. this is the best waterproof mattress pad I have found in 9 years of assisted living work. No crinkly sounds and no plastic slip but is protective. But I would still layer, especially for ease of cleanup.
posted by assenav at 5:09 PM on September 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: This is what I’d suggest for more subtle, but layer more underneath as it may not be enough. Also, get enough to have 3 changes of whatever you decide on, so you can have one washing, one on the furniture, one on standby.
posted by assenav at 5:12 PM on September 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Assuming you're driving, you may find relief in buying a (relatively) inexpensive upholstery cleaner. We have the Wirecutter recommendation and it does a great job. I bought it for small children and two older cats, and have used it to clean up poop, vomit, food spills, markers, and so on. It works very well and is something I'd recommend to anybody who has even the occasional need to clean up messes and has a little bit of spare storage space.
posted by kdar at 5:26 PM on September 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think you have to ask yourself whether your MIL will feel relaxed and welcome if you plastic-coat everywhere she could possibly alight. I can't imagine that she would feel relaxed and welcome in your absorbently padded waterproofed vacation home. Property damage insurance still implies that you expect damage as a possibility and the owner would have to replace their damaged property in the middle of a pandemic.

You have approximately two months before Thanksgiving to figure out why diapers "aren't working" and make them work. If her assisted living home is not assisting with this, they aren't doing their job and are neglecting her. Multiple accidents a day is not acceptable. She is an adult.
posted by juniperesque at 5:29 PM on September 21, 2020 [13 favorites]

Best answer: Buy her some pullups but find out her size.
posted by Oyéah at 5:33 PM on September 21, 2020

Best answer: Does she by any chance have a folding lawn/beach chair that she finds particularly comfortable? Maybe she would enjoy having 2-3 of them and carrying them to the vacation house (better if it's somewhere with a strong outdoor component, like a beach), and they might end up in the living room if they're super comfortable.
posted by amtho at 5:43 PM on September 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If she is very petite, the largest children's size diapers may be a better fit for her than a small woman's.
posted by kate4914 at 5:43 PM on September 21, 2020

Best answer: In case this is new territory for you, there is a difference between "pull-ups" which are like thickly padded underpants that pull up like normal underwear and can either be pulled down or ripped at the sides to be removed. Then there are adult diapers which have tabs at the sides, like a baby diaper and may have more extensive padding which meansbulkier. then there are absorbent pads which are used as a lining inside of regular underpants or pull-ups to extend the protection. On a bad day, my mother will have both an inner diaper and pull-up.
posted by metahawk at 6:00 PM on September 21, 2020

Best answer: I’m very happy with Mambe throws and blankets for my elderly hound. They’re soft and attractive enough that you wouldn’t even know they were waterproof, but they are. Oh, and here’s the Mabel tax. She’s actually sitting on a Mambe throw in the photo.
posted by ReginaHart at 6:03 PM on September 21, 2020 [14 favorites]

Best answer: Another option that can help is make sure that she uses the toilet frequently (at least every three hours during the day) This will either avoid accidents or at least limit how much liquid is involved. If combined with a liner, it might be enough for the daytime.
posted by metahawk at 6:05 PM on September 21, 2020

Best answer: As I posted by previous answer, I realized that any of these solutions are going to need buy-in from your mother-in-law. The really hard thing here is that your wife is going to have a frank talk with her mother about very indelicate subject. Families vary a lot in the ability to be frank about the difficult facts of life. (When the state governor called my grandmother on her 100th birthday she gave him an earful about the need to fund more research on incontinence in the elderly so you tell which side of this my family falls)
posted by metahawk at 6:06 PM on September 21, 2020 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I recommend you buy several peapods. These are designed to be placed ON TOP OF the sheets, not under the sheets protecting the matress. The big advantage here is that if she wets it, she just gets up, throws it in a corner/plastic bag/hamper/whatever and goes back to sleep (possibly putting a clean one on top of the sheets. Then in the morning you can throw it in the wash. There's no need to change and launder the sheets in the middle of the night.

For couches and chairs and things, if she doesn't find it kind of embarrassing or humiliating, get a giant box of puppy pads as others have said.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:50 PM on September 21, 2020

Best answer: Cvs and presumably other drug stores sell these large 30" pads, fairly inexpensively. CVS Health Day & Night Maximum Absorbency Underpads Super Large, 30CT (under a dollar each, which i wouldnt have guessed).

I had to use them to protect my bad after surgery, so i haven't experienced exactly how much liquid and water proof they are.
posted by TheAdamist at 7:28 PM on September 21, 2020

Best answer: My father (age 97) was incontinent by the time he moved in with us. We hired a caretaker to stay with him during the day. Fortunately, they adored each other and we adored her for introducing us to disposable pads like these. They went on the car seats, on the furniture, under my dad (above the sheets) when he slept. He wore diapers too, but these pads caught the inevitable leaks.

Bless you for giving your elders a change of scenery.
posted by rw at 8:59 PM on September 21, 2020

Best answer: I don’t like the feeling of disposable pads... it’s worth investing in a couple of these(I am also sorry for the bad looking link)...

I got used to these when I was pregnant in the hospital and I loved that they didn’t bunch up, they didn’t feel like wee pads, I’ve used them when the kids were babies and when I’ve had other surgeries. They just look like a little blanket and they won’t move or bunch. There is a picture of how it looks on a sofa in the link before.
posted by pairofshades at 1:45 AM on September 22, 2020

Response by poster: Thank you. You have given us a lot of good options to consider.
posted by NotLost at 6:21 PM on September 28, 2020

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