Asked on Oct 21, 2017

Comfy chair for Incontinence? Advice needed!

JewellmartinCindy Darsey ChadwellKelly Denoyer Russell


Hi All!

We are having to place Mom into a Memory Care residence and wish to make her room as cozy and stylish as possible. At this point in time, she wears "pull-ups" and rarely has leaked onto anything but we know this will become more of an issue over time.

We need a comfy chair for her with arms to help her stand up and a tall enough back so she can relax in it rather than constantly retreating into the bed. However, I am more than concerned about the chair we've ordered as it's an upholstered club chair.

I know there are chairs made specifically for those with incontinence that have "pop out" seat cushions for cleaning/sterilizing and they are made with naugahyde so they're waterproof but these are outrageously expensive.

I also know there are many types of "waterproofing" products around. Some OK, some not so great.

2 questions:
  • Does anyone have experience with an EXCELLENT way to waterproof upholstered furniture? Excellent meaning nothing will penetrate to stain or create odors? OR..
  • Does anyone have suggestions for a different type seating that will work better for Mom than a club chair?

Thank you for your help - it's much appreciated!

9 answers
  • Janet Panos
    on Oct 21, 2017

    Hello Robyn! I am sorry about your mother. My sister is also in a memory care facility. Many of the elderly residents like to retreat to their beds — the Older we get the more we like and need our naps. There is no perfect chair; however, my sister likes to sit in a padded rocker that has arms. When she wants to get up, the forward motion of the chair along with the chair arms help her to get up. The padding can easily be washed if it becomes soiled. This may work for your Mom.
  • We just used good qauality puppy piddle pads. Anything wth a plastic back will do. Then have a bunch of washable lengths of fabric to tuck in over the piddle pads that coordinate with the decor. We just went to the fabric store and purchased a yard of different pretty fabrics, including holiday themed fabric for a festive touch. In our case, there were enough of us that at least someone visited every single day to keep up with the laundry.
  • DesertRose
    on Oct 21, 2017

    You could cover the chair with a pretty blanket doubled over in the seat or decoration rug and change it out regularly or as needed to keep her comfy seat soft and clean.
  • Emily
    on Oct 21, 2017

    Yes, in my family we also have someone in memory care. I think you have had some good suggestions but maybe you could think of having an extra seat cushion made with a removable cover and then insert over the cushion itself a leak proof pad. Does the chair you have ordered have a separate cushion? You sound like a very good family to your Mom.
    • Robyn Garner
      on Oct 21, 2017

      Thanks for that suggestion, Emily! Yes, the chair has a separate cushion so making an extra in advance is a terrific plan.
  • Jewellmartin
    on Oct 21, 2017

    I have incontinence for months at a time. During those times, I use a disposable bedpad or a washable one. I wear adult briefs every day, but even the extra absorbent ones can leak and just not hold enough when I can't get to a bathroom. The worst part of the briefs for me is that they wad up and get painfully hard. Sometimes I have a potty chair in my bedroom with a big plastic tablecloth on the floor. When my incontinence is better, I use the toilet, and sometimes I don't quite make it. A seat lifter helps me rise from the toilet, since my back stays strained from rising from a shorter toilet so many times a day and night. My lifter is foam covered in plastic that attaches to the toilet seat with a Velcro strap. Others are more permanent and stable. I have seen ads recently for bars that fit around the toilet and would help with rising.
    Be aware that, like a baby left in wet diapers too often, your mother may develop rashes, coccyx pain from sitting on a lumpy brief, back and shoulder strains from lifting herself from the bed, the chair, and the toilet, bedsores if she stays in the bed, and various bruises and scrapes just from walking into furniture. My own mother-in-law will need to go into a nursing home soon. She's in great health for 100, but she's getting afraid of falling. She doesn't want to burden my husband with another person to tend to and run all our errands. I'm glad you care enough about your mother to be concerned even for her chair. And the best thing you can do is visit frequently with eyes that will be aware of problems she may have but can't tell you what they are. If you and other family members can't drop in at various times of the day and the night, hire a stranger to look in on her. I wish her and you only the best. 😇💖
    • Robyn Garner
      on Oct 22, 2017

      Jewell thank you so very much for sharing your very personal story. Your openness and candor have allowed me to know information that only someone with experience has.

      The Memory Care residence has in place the various bars and lift assist items in the bathroom. The large plastic tablecloth you mentioned is a fabulous improvement over small mattress pads, etc.!

      We are already dealing with bruises and leg wounds that are not quite healing as she keeps removing the silver-infused bandages the wound care clinic applies - sometimes everyday!

      I am the "eyes" of the family as Dad doesn't know/notice and no one else is in town. I've made friends with the key people at the residence in anticipation of having to address various care issues with them - I'm "the mouth that roars" per the family lol!

      One reason we are making the move at this time is to try to get her to participate in the activities to get stronger, socialize and not be in bed/sitting all the time.

      I wish you the very best of health. You are blessed to have a partner who understands your challenges. Best of luck with your own M-i-L. She sounds like a very caring and wonderful person as well.

  • Kelly Denoyer Russell
    on Oct 22, 2017

    There are great soft blankets these days that are waterproof but you'd never know because there's no plastic or crinkly noise. We got one throw for soccer. I would get one and just set over the seat. You can wash easily as needed. Its not obvious like those disposable Bed paper things which would crumple anyways. You also don't want anything obvious so she can keep her dignity. We go ours at Costco but I'm sure you can do N amazon search.
  • Cindy Darsey Chadwell
    on Oct 22, 2017

    Great! I hope it works well for you
  • Jewellmartin
    on Oct 23, 2017

    My mil is a hoot. Since she is aware and involved, she will have a hard time having to give up 90% of her belongings. She only trusts a few people to help go through her stuff, as she is a private woman.
    Your mother will get the best care since she has you to care. God bless you.
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