Timer valve to delay toilet refill?

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On Jun 1, 4:20 am, snipped-for-privacy@example.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Sorry for your situation, and respect for your dedication.
Is this too off the wall: Ration toilet paper in some way? By putting the TP dispenser OUTSIDE the bathroom, and gently, politely monitoring the quantity used?
HB
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On Jun 1, 4:20 am, snipped-for-privacy@example.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

You can buy a bidet seat from Toto. No toilet paper, no problem. It does require some wiring. You might also look at getting a Toto Drake toilet while you're at it, if you don't already have a clog-resistant toilet.
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You're talking about an 87-year-old with Alzheimer's here. They're lucky he's still using toilet paper, and you expect this person to learn how to use a bidet?
What will happen is this: He won't be able to find the toilet paper so he will...
1. Use whatever's handy, such as a towel or his own shirt. Lovely. 2. Pull up his drawers without wiping. Equally lovely.
The solution here is not a cockamaime toilet timer that doesn't exist. Doug needs a toilet that can swallow the wad of paper.
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On Jun 1, 12:59 pm, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

If they're so far gone that they can't read a sign that says to push a button for cleaning, then they probably need someone to wipe for them, but that evidently isn't the case here.
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Is it too much paper or that the paper doesn't get wet enough to flush properly? Now that I think about it, all the videos I've seen of high-powered toilets were flushing golf bowls. Toilet paper flushing mechanics have to be substantially different than those of golf bowl flushing.
Might even be time to consult a toilet manufacturer because I assume they know something about flushability.
Might even consider a deliberately leaky toilet that opens the valve slightly when someone's sitting on it so that a steady trickle of water comes down the rim of the bowl, helping to wet down the TP that's already in there to make it more flushable.
-- Bobby G.
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No easy solution on the timer that I know of. Shutting down the fill valve may help.
Perhaps it is worth investigating some of the newer toilets. They are low flow 1.2 gallon, but have large openings to prevent clogs. American Standard was advertising heavily last year showing all sorts of stuff being flushed.
Your relative is fortunate to have you too!
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

You're right. Just close the cutoff until produces a trickle that takes the desired time to fill the tank. Free, quick, easy, easily reversible, and effective. A no-brainer.
--
Tony Sivori
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How does that solution keep too much toilet paper from entering the bowl? There seems to be an assumption that an Alzheimer's patient would be like the rest of us - too impatient to wait for the refill. I don't believe that's the case. From my experience, they would just repeat flushing over and over again until it flushed. The proof of that contention? They are already in a near-endless loop with the toilet paper. Wiping and rewiping, clogging the bowl with toilet paper. Repetitive actions are one of the hallmarks of dementia.
The solution would more likely involve a way to *prevent* that much paper from getting into the bowl in the first place. Attaching a bell to the paper dispenser would enable a care giver to intervene at the right point in the process. Having Alzheimer's doesn't mean you lose your dignity. It just means you have trouble exercising it. The last thing my dad wanted was help going to the bathroom. It would make him very angry and upset if you even offered. We just got a lot of floor mats to make accident cleanup easier.
The OP probably needs to just be happy his relative can still use the toilet without assistance and find a toilet that can deal with copious amounts of toilet paper without an overflow.
I also imagine that anyone else using that toilet will probably find that *they* can't live waiting for minutes for the bowl to refill while ironically, a person with dementia would just keep wiggling the handle until it finally flushed. They wouldn't care how much time had passed because their sense of time has become so distorted from the disease.
-- Bobby G.
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Robert Green wrote:

That wasn't the question the OP asked. The OP asked for a timer or device to make it take 20 or so minutes to fill the tank.

You raise valid questions. My guess is that the OP hopes to have an able-minded person on standby with a plunger.

I have doubts about that. The only way to truly limit the amount of paper used would be to limit the amount of paper available. Then, given the dementia, you could end up with the victim using bare hands and spreading fecal matter everywhere.

Now I'm puzzled. You say they get very angry if assistance is offered. Then you suggest that the caregiver enter and offer assistance.

My sincere condolences. Frequent cleanup of toilet overflow is bad enough, but repeated soakings of the subfloor and joists will result in significant damage.

A good suggestion. This is a lot more expensive than reducing the cut off valve to a trickle, but the OP might want to consider this clog resistant toilet:
http://www.americanstandard-us.com/learn/american-standard-advantage/innovations/?f=2

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wrote:

During which time the clog can break down, or the water in the bowl can gradually drain away. Or both.

Bingo.
Probably not bare hands. More likely a bath towel.

[...]
And I'm hoping to avoid that.

Noted; thank you.
We're going to start with cheap toilet paper that (hopefully) will break down faster, and turning the shutoff valve nearly off to restrict water flow. If that doesn't do the job, then I think the next step is, as you suggest, a clog-resistant toilet.

Robert is overlooking the fact that anyone *without* cognitive impairments does not need to wait for the tank to refill, because the rest of us use appropriate amounts of paper *and* have the sense to not keep flushing an already-clogged toilet. Think about it, Robert: when you flush the toilet, do you stand there waiting for the tank to refill before you leave?

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Doug Miller wrote:

I hope the valve works for you without the expense of trying a new toilet.
My 85 year old Mother is in the early stages of Alzheimers. She seems very normal, then she will ask a conversation stopper kind of question, like do I own or rent my house.
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fill
takes
Or neither.

Excellent call. It's by the (intelligent) posing of questions that the real dimensions of the problem evolve. Excess toilet paper does seem to be the root cause of the problem, even though the OP did not, which is why I asked the question I did. I think it's always germane to explore the edges of potential problems and wish our government did more of it. Turns out that "walling up" the Mississippi upstream with dams, dikes and levees meant that the water volume was not being reduced downstream. That normally happens in upstream flood plains but more and more of them are being close off from the river. Thus more (and faster and deeper) water is hitting downstream than ever before. Just an example of unforeseen or unwanted consequences.

Either one is NOT a good outcome, but neither is a soaked floor. You could measure the amount of TP used by unrolling, marking and re-rolling, but only those who aspire to Asperger's Syndrome would likely go that far. But the comments about what might happen about limiting TP availability are good ones. People used to think baby monitors were some newfangled, nonsensical gadgets without much use but now they're a commodity. I suspect as the Boomers start down the road to their eventual demise, there will be a lot of technology applied to situations like this. There have been some really interesting experiments being done about the elderly and "elder care" robots. They appear able to seriously help with caring for the elderly patients, and their capabilities are amazing. Reports say people can become very attached to them.
I'll start a different thread and post the URLs when I have the time because I am (obviously) interested in everything possible to keep home life for the Alzheimer patient as normal as can be while also insuring it's that home life for others is not seriously affected.

enough,
Lots of rubber-backed rugs really kept the flooding damage down. The behavior *usually* involved one overflush with a very angry, confused and embarrassed person standing over the mess. It's like all the "joy" of potty training but worse. Sadly it's very common. Knowing how yucky such cleanups can be, I'd still be looking for the toilets I see on HGTV that can flush a bowl full of golf balls knowing that might not solve anything. It could easily be that the paper just isn't getting wet enough. Do you know, roughly, how much TP goes in? A little six inch metal machinist's ruler should be able to give you some rough idea of what you're dealing with.

tion
I'd probably leave that as option 2. IIRC, OP has said no other user clogs, so the slow refill adjustment *should* buy him something. A chime that alerts him to when she uses the loo might be very useful in beginning a monitoring period of heightened alert in case she compensates for the low flow rate by extending her time in the bathroom. I think we're still missing some of the parameters of the problem but that they'll emerge via the ongoing discussion. Is the TP not getting wet enough to go down between flushes? Is there SO much of it in the bowl that doesn't matter? Does the OP want to be alerted when she makes her first flush so that he can escort her out and supervise the rest of the flushing process manually?

down
If
Sounds like a good plan of action. I'd also try to figure out the SPP ratio (Square per Poop) of TP consumed. That's going to be hard behavior to change, as you note, and it's the process I believe you're most concerned with interrupting (in the long run, anyway) because she's as clean as she's going to get (we hope) long before she's finished wiping. As has been noted, if it's merely repetitive behavior, stopping it midway might not make any difference. But if she's doing it until she feels clean, then it could be hands or towels that take over, as noted. That's clearly an unwanted outcome.
I'd build a small radio transmitter to insert in the TP spool that counted revolutions and relayed them to my home automation system. After 25 revs, I'd have a Flood-stop electric valve wired into the TP to prevent refill for perhaps 10 minute. I'll bet some engineering students could design one.

do
Happened just this morning, in fact. I assume anyone with one of the early model "low flow" toilets also has the unpleasant experience of having it clog far more often than the old models. I know I am not the only one that has to keep a damn plunger next to their low flow toilet!
I'll be very interested to see if setting the valve to fill slowly has any effect on the problem. I have my doubts simply because the proposed cure, while a hassle to people without cognitive impairments, probably won't be much noticed by someone with dementia. They'll just patiently wait for the tank to refill, or as I mentioned previously keep working the handle until it does flush.
Surely the process will take longer with the reduced flow, but in my albeit limited experience, time does not pass for Alzheimer's patients the way they do for us. My friend Roberto, whose wife had very early onset Alzheimer's, would sit for hours, removing and then putting on her gloves. He had to take her to all our computer group meetings, where she sat mostly in silence, putting her gloves on and taking them off with no apparent concerns about the passage of time. Even with his vigilance, she managed to slip away on one occasion and get seriously lost by getting on a bus, thinking she was going home from work or something like that.
I hope it does work out for you - it's certainly possible. But it sounds like you've got plans B and C well-thought out, just in case. That, again is based on very limited experience but by the time most people get Alzheimer's, the rat-race is over for them and they're usually never in a hurry to get anywhere. Hence my fear that slowing down the refill process won't have much effect. But it could give you enough time to intervene before a small problem because a big, icky one.
The unintended consequence in this case could easily be that by increasing the time between possible flushes, it allows the patient to time to consume even more paper. It's all predicated on the reaction of a person who's losing her ability to think logically. Always a guessing game in the long run. My dad often surprised me at how easily he defeated mechanisms designed to help him stay organized. I think, in the long run, patients will end up wearing GPS enabled communicators with a small eyeglass mounted videocam. That technology is mostly here already, but it's a little pricey. Still when you consider NY pays 1.4M a year per kid to keep them in places where they are sat on and killed, what's a converted cell phone (basically) cost in comparison? This is why we worked so hard to keep dad out of an institution:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/06/nyregion/boys-death-highlights-crisis-in-homes-for-disabled.html
"Yet on a February afternoon in 2007, Jonathan, a skinny, autistic 13-year-old, was asphyxiated, slowly crushed to death in the back seat of a van by a state employee who had worked nearly 200 hours without a day off over 15 days. The employee, a ninth-grade dropout with a criminal conviction for selling marijuana, had been on duty during at least one previous episode of alleged abuse involving Jonathan."
I'm betting that audits of places like this can save the taxpayers billions of dollars because if it's happening in NY, it's probably happening everywhere. $1.4M a year to end up choked to death.
-- Bobby G.
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So, the fundamental requirement is don't flush the toilet if the bowl is too full already. The simplest method takes its ispiration from the automotive world. You have to break the mechanical linkage between the flush handle and the flapper. Install a motor to raise and lower the flapper. Replace the flush handle with a softwitch, which while looking exactly like a normal handle will actually just send an electronic signal, a Flush Request, to the computer you build, the Toilet Control Module (TCM). The TCM then drives the motor to operate the flapper. With this in place, add a water level sensor to the bowl and connect it to the TCM. Then rewrite the TCM firmware to keep the flapper closed if the bowl water level is dangerously high. It's so simple that I wouldn't be suprized if there are already several choices on the market today. Of course, they're probably all only available in Japan, so they'll be right-hand drive and have to be adapted for American use.
m
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Connect an electric fence charger to the flush handle and plug it into a timer. It will keep both cattle and people from flushing too often.
On Wed, 01 Jun 2011 11:20:26 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@example.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

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Doug Miller wrote:

How can delaying the tank fill deal with the problem of too much paper?
Perhaps a bedside-type toilet - that doesn't USE water - is a solution? (Or an outside privy.)
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HeyBub wrote:

Plunge, then flush again.
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I don't expect it to.
Too much paper, in and of itself, isn't a problem, as long as the toilet is flushed only ONCE. If it takes 20 minutes before there's enough water in the tank for a second flush, that's plenty of time for one of us to get there with a plunger to clear the clog.

Count how many problems you can see with that idea after spending more time thinking about it than it took to type the sentence.

What part of "87 year old with Alzheimer's" did you find confusing?
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Doug Miller wrote:

Replace the toilet paper with a bell. Have somebody else do the wiping.
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Dbdblocker
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On Jun 1, 9:20 am, snipped-for-privacy@example.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

One member of our household struggles with a similar clogging problem. Happy to say that it has nothing to do with Alzheimer's, age, or the amount of TP used. It's simply a volume issue.
An anti-clogging toilet is a good option, requires no additional training on the part of the user. Won't work 100% but definitely lessens the chances of a problem.
The bulletproof fix (even for most regular toilets) is FEFO - "flush early, flush often". This defeats the intent of modern low-flow toilets but I can tell you it's far preferable to the alternative mess. For the OP, this wouldn't work well (Alzheimer's).
Having said that, bolt-on (retrofit) automatic flushers are available. We had a bunch installed at work recently. The premise is simple...detect when a person is present and flush at the appropriate time (when the person leaves). I wonder if you could get one that flushed intermittently when the person is actually sitting down...FEFO. Might be worth looking into, if a little startling for the user!
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Metamucil to deal with the "volume" issue. Leading to more frequent evacuations. Need good hydration.
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