HELP MY 91 YEAR OLD mother with strange toilet gusher leak today

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My 91 year old Mom with Alzheimer's owns a house with one tenant. I live out of state. The tenant called me saying after coming home from work she flushed the john (claims did a #1 not a 2!) and it worked ok. Then she was at the sink (now sometime in the story she said she flushed it a 2nd time which doesn't add up) and water started GUSHING from the BOTTOM of the toilet where it meets the floor and flooded through the wall into the kitchen cabinets and she used "10 towels." That toilet is only 7 years old with ceramic floor installed then too.

We put a new septic system only 4 years ago (Massachusetts is strict about this) since we had blocked pipes problems and toilets NOT flushing before. She claims the ground outside this bathroom where pipes lead to the septic has been wet and mucky the last week or two. So QUESTION - do we have a toilet problem, a blocked line to the septic tank, an overflowing septic tank (it is supposed to flow to a leech field in the back yard and that has a clean out that we have never cleaned and it is a very long connection, maybe 125 feet)

Throw this in the mix too. She is a bad tenant that owes 3 months back rent and threatened me with elder abuse of my MOM when I pushed her on the back rent, saying she should move out if she is not happy. Been there 7 years, but always falls behind and lies about it. Maybe she did a # 2, flushed it twice (that makes sense) and expected my elderly neighbor who helps me out to mop up the mess.

Last week my mother was in tears when my brother was there (lives 130 miles away) trying to coordinate her broken gas heater which still is not fixed properly after a week. I left a msg. tonight on a plumber's answering machine and I to know how to direct him so we don't throw tons of money down the toilet! I am at wits end of dealing with this from afar and ready to throw in the towel ( a wet one at that!) Sally
  11 answers
  • Amy Woods Amy Woods on Nov 06, 2013
    I don't know about the septic tank, but I would contact a lawyer immediately and get her out of your mother's house. Perhaps you could find someone who would care for your mother in exchange for a discount on the rent. I wouldn't trust this other woman with my mother if I was you.
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Nov 07, 2013
    I agree with Amy. There may also be Ombudsmen in your community to help you. Google elder care for her community and see what you can find. I know how difficult it is to be living far away from a loved one, especially when that person is helpless. Good luck.
  • I think you have a variety of problems! This tenant is an idiot and if there is a septic tank and she is flushing tampons, diapers, condoms, wet wipes, food, using too much bleach or antibacterial products, etc she ruined the septic system and it most likely stopped working and overflowed. I would contact the insurance. She may have flushed tampons and other such things down the toilet which probably have plugged your pipes. Tampons expand and should never ever be flushed. Think about how much tampons or even diapers expand and imagine your tenant knowing more than they are saying. You need to evict her now. There is no and if or buts about this situation. She probably has ruined other things in the home and if you are not there how in the heck do you not know if they are abusing your mother! You need to take her to a doctor to check for any signs of abuse (and I mean all kinds of abuse) and then file charges if she is malnourished or if she has money, jewels, or possessions missing. do not hesitate.
  • P.h251413 P.h251413 on Nov 08, 2013
    UPDATE from poster. Plumber said it is clogged line and toilet needs to removed to clean line to septic tank. Tenant is in a tirade and now says she will report to Board of Health tomorrow. It has been 48 hours since I found out there is a problem and I have made repeated calls to plumbers to get some one there. Now the plumber says he does not do this job and I need to call a rooter router man! Another day waster and more stress. The tenant also emailed that she heard the entire phone conversation my cousin, who helps my mother every day, had with me on the phone, much about her. She heard through the walls! Wow, now we don't even have any privacy. NSA is spying on us and so is my mother's tenant.
  • Jossi Jossi on Nov 08, 2013
    Ugh, caring for our aging parents can be so difficult, especially from afar ! In my opinion, Mom needs to be either with you or with a good, professional homecare provider who will take good care of her and her environment. You would hate to get a call that mom had fallen, cut herself, run off, etc. Please set in motion whatever you need to in order to protect Mom for the remainder of her years. You obviously care, and worry about her. The plumbing problem could be a cracked pipe somewhere, a serious clog (has Mom put something in that shouldn't be ?), or possibly a full septic or clogged leach field pipe. The possibilities are endless, and miserable. Please locate and have a good conversation with a plumber near Mom and send him out to fix whatever it is. THEN, please contact the Visiting Nurse organization, Alzheimers group, Home Care agency nearest Mom and send them all in for an evaluation of the situation ! If this housemate is lying, etc, you don't know that she isn't also harming Mom-not feeding her, stealing her meds, etc. Please search online for help, as I know firsthand how difficult it is to care for Mom from afar. There are some good books out for children whose parents have alzheimers. Please get a couple. Please check back and let me know how it's going ! Peace to you and you'll be in my prayers.
  • Joyce Joyce on Nov 16, 2013
    Why are you not taking care of your Mother? Did she take care of you?
  • Renata Renata on Feb 17, 2015
    First off, regardless of u living away from her she should not be in that situation. I could care less if u called me judgmental. At her age she needs either someone very close that can ck on her everyday, or a responsible live in or in an assisted living facility. As far as the other, there wasn't enough info given. Is the house situated where there are trees? Tree roots can cause lots of damage in that length of time. Has the house settled in a way to cause the new pipes to break apart? The tile floors do not matter if the subfloor was damaged or the sewage pipe not fitted properly. U need to either go there urself or hire a licensed and bonded professional to go give u an estimate, If I pipe broke insurance should cover it. Ck into the Senior and disabled programs for that area. I do wish ur mom the best. It's not her fault she aged.
    • P.h251413 P.h251413 on Feb 17, 2015
      @Renata You commented on a year old situation My father build the home my mother lives in 65 years ago. She does not want to leave her area and "home." My Mom now has live in caretakers. She is beyond living in assisted living. Nursing homes in her state cost over $130,000 a year. She has no money, only real estate. I live 1,000 miles away for the last 35 years. For anyone dealing with elderly parents or spouses, it is a very difficult situation. My Mom has had memory loss now for 7 years. She is a smoker. She has difficulty walking, and sleeps 20 hours a day. My home has stairs which she can not climb and no bedroom on the ground floor. Believe me, everyone wants to be judgmental of me and no one knows how much I go through. I handle all her bills, caretakers, housing problems (pipes just froze in basement, spewing water for over 12 hours), constipation issues, medicine delivery, and call every day to talk with caretakers and my mother, if she is awake. Her grandmother, mother, 2 sisters, 3 cousins have all gotten Alzheimer's and I fear I will as well (memory poor now) as my husband showing memory issues at 73. My son was just fired from his job and lives at home (age 24) and my other son is bipolar with regular issues. I have diabeetes and live with constant stress and have sleep issues. Life is not easy. If you do the research you will discover caretakers DIE sooner than the people they care for! Now I wonder why???
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Feb 18, 2015
    All you readers that are judgemental, please don't be that way. As she has said, you have no idea of what is involved unless you have done it yourself! I feel so bad for her.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Mar 15, 2016
    I assume you have someone who looks in and gives mother some homecare supervision in her situation. I would suggest you find a trusted local 'caretaker' handyman close by who can be on call 24/7 for these emergencies as with a tenant issue she does not need this kind of crazy with you so far away.
  • Dottie' Dottie' on Jul 29, 2016
    Dear P.Hopkins, I am so sorry that you asked for help about your bathroom & everyone is giving you advice about your situation with your mom. As for your bathroom, don't wait...call a good plumber ! I had a similar situation. I don't have septic and that may be your problem, but my family was having to flush several times to get the toilet to take down the #1 & the paper. #2 would take more flushes, but not always. After a while my floor became soft around the toilet. When I called in a contractor/plumber I found out that the wax ring on the toilet wasn't seated right and the pipe was not aligned properly. So, some of the flushing was going down the pipe and some was going UNDER MY HOUSE!! the water was leaking into the wood under the toilet and created black mold. The insurance company said they didn't cover anything that had to do with mold. They wound up only paying for half our claim. The damages were not detectable until it was to late. Our damages cost over $7,000. I know of three others that have caught it in time. If this is your problem, I hope you are one of them. Thank you for looking out for your mom. Be blessed~
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