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My parent had a stroke on her right but still wants to be independent. It is difficult for her to shower, so she simply doesn’t. Is it worth the trouble to push her take a shower?

Asked by  |  Jan 10, 2010

Trouble with shower, had no trouble at clinic. Person is 77 and has a stroke on right but still wants to be independent. Very dangerous for us. Kind person but losing cognitive ability now. Tired of the shower and her husband tells us to leave it. So we have him in the equation. I have lost eight pounds. Is it worth the trouble to push on the shower? Tracy.

 
 
 
  •  Answers 1 to 10 of 17 
 
 

naricinfo

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Jan 20, 2010

It might be worth it to look at products that assist with bathing. ABLEDATA has a comprehensive list at http://www.abledata.com/abledata.cfm?pageid=19327&top=11860&deep=2&trail=22&ksectionid=19327

 
 

Elizza

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Jan 20, 2010

It is absolutely worth it to help your mother take a shower. There are many products that will help - shower chairs, hand-held shower heads - a caregiver, if modesty with family members is the issue. It is important to be clean for health and self-esteem reasons. Showers also help exfoliate so the skin stays fresh and less dry. Your mother may not like looking forward to a shower, but she will be very happy afterwards! Good luck!

 
 

S

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Jan 20, 2010

I had bone cancer in my right arm years ago, they took a bone from my right leg and hip and saved my arm, I also had a hard time to shower and to tell you the truth i did't always want to, my whole right side hurt from my sholder to my foot, taking a shower is nice and I always felt better when I did but it wasn't life altering if I din't, I think you need to talk to her and find out what the problem really is, in my case it was depression-my body changed i would nolonger do the things i use to do, everything was a challenge from brushing my teeth (right handed) to brushing my hair, her body is different now sh'ell have to face everyday things we all take for granted in a whole new way, she will learn it does take time just be patient, i know it's hard it was hard on my family but today i'm a new person hope this helped.

 
 

bobbie321

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Jan 20, 2010

Yes, she has to bathe. A few reasons: health. When the elderly do not bathe, sores on their bodies can get out of hand quickly and become infected. bedsores can kill if not discovered and cleaned in time. My mom fought and fought but I would not back down.

Another reason: disgusting. Dirty smells bad and is gross. don't get in the habit of allowing it. I appreciate that it is difficult, but just because someone grows old and infirm, that is not an excuse to live below your standards. Fresh and clean can't be beat.

Elizza and S both have great advice. We have the shower chair and hand held shower massager here and mom (89 dementia) is to the point where all I have to do is mention 'shower' and she's there. She feels good during AND after!

good luck, you can do it.

Bobbie

 
 

irwinsu

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Jan 20, 2010

My mother was having similar difficulties with showering and was not doing in regularly. When I would suggest she bathe or take a shower she said she didn't need to. What was really going on was that she had trouble standing in the shower and couldn't get in and out of the tub for a bath or remember exactly what she needed to do. Once I got her a shower chair and started assisting her with her shower she became much more receptive and likes getting her shower now.

 
 

Aleeta

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Jan 20, 2010

if she & her husband are 'caring' for themselves, you may not
be able to change her and his thinking, (her decision not to bathe.)
If a caregiver comes into the home, that person might be able
to persuade, whereas YOU are just irritating them! Just prior to
her next doctor appt., you might speak to the office nurse, or even try to speak with the doctor, and alert one of them that the subject of bathing needs to be brought up, hopefully without your name being mentioned. Make sure she has a shower bench or chair--and that it fits half-way or entirely into the shower stall. Some homes are just way too difficult for people with physical disabilities to negotiate around, so they move around as little as possible...can't blame them!

 
 

AmazingGrace

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Jan 20, 2010

Yes, it's worth the trouble. Especially if she was always a clean, proud person. I know that for myself, if I was in the shape that my mother is in, I would want someone to keep me bathed, clean and smelling nice, because that's just how I've always been. You surely wouldn't want to be left all smelly and nasty, would you?My mother always argues about getting bathed, but she always just keeps saying how much better she feels afterwards. You don't necessarily have to put her in the shower everyday. If my mother is having a bad day, I will give her a sponge bath, but she gets a bath at least 4 times a week, if possible.

 
 

BlueAtlas

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Apr 2, 2010

Not showering simply isn't an option for my MIL, who lives with us and is in stage 6 Alzheimer's. She doesn't feel she needs it and argues many days, but we are matter-of-fact about it and tell her that everyone in the house showers everyday. Though we don't tell her this, the truth is that she absolutely stinks. If we let her go even one day without a shower, the whole house reeks. She never had good hygiene and what she did have is now gone. Her bathroom habits are appalling. I'll spare you the gross details. Suffice it to say, for the sake of the rest of the family, she simply must be showered daily. She no longer knows how to wash herself, so I let the water run over her for a while and then soap her up myself, every square inch. In the last few weeks, she's gotten so she can't dry herself either, but as I dry her off she's taken to smiling (a miracle, considering that I just made her shower) and telling me how good I am at that. She definitely feels better, but she'll forget that tomorrow and we'll go through it all over again. Smile and nod and be gentle and she at least knows she's loved, even though she hates the process.

 
 

DPB

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Mar 24, 2011

I'm caring for my 85 y.o. mom in her home (she has CHF and an assortment of other illnesses). She also refuses to shower, every time I ask her, it's always 'not now I'm dizzy or my stomach hurts or later' - I try to shower her once a week. There's no way she'd do it more often. I've found that if I change the sheets on her bed and lay out her fresh pajamas, undies and socks, and tell her "OK it's time for your shower." there is much less resistance. I have a sturdy shower chair with a back and side handles and a detachable sprayer. All she has to do is sit there. I do everything. Works great.

 
 

spongebob1

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Jan 5, 2012

My mother is 80 this year and lives on her own 300 miles away from me and my siblings .Our father died 9 years ago and since then my mother has started drinking (she was previously practically tee total).We are unsure as to the extent of the drinking but it has been going on for a while now and when she comes to our homes she will take wine out of the fridge sneakily although outwardly she will pretend she can "take it or leave it" and will not drink excessively infront of us.I have spoken to her about all of this in as kind and sympathetic way possible and have always been met with denials enen though I am totally in tune with what is going on and also the reasons ie she is lonely and gets anxious about coping alone as our father used to do everything.
To outsiders she is an upstanding pillar of the community.She presents to friends as coping well.She is in good health and goes out daily to visit friends etc so is far from housebound.She has no money worries.
On top of the above her house is dirty and smells to the extent that we are all put off from visiting for extended periods .We do encourage her to come to stay with us although even these visits are stressful due to having to keep an eye on the drinking.Her personal hygiene has also deteriorated over the last year or so and on her last extended visit to my home over Christmas I noticed on doing her washing that she is now soiling herself.She had made attempts to hide all of this by rinsing out her underwear etc and she also disguises the smell by wearing an excessive amount of perfume.She also resists showering.
Both my siblings and I are concerned about all of this and have been for a long time.My sister gets very angry about her behaviour and has her own marriage problems so has enough to deal with.My brother tends to bury his head in the sand.I therefore can feel quite isolated in terms of what I feel to be a difficult problem that casts a shadow over my otherwise very happy life and which I recognise will only get worse.I feel guilty that we dont see my mother enough but am fed up of cleaning up after her(I have done this for years as she has always been a really poor housekeeper) and I feel angry and frustrated that although I have addressed the issues of her house and the drinking with herin a kind way she doesnt listen.My brother and I are now at the stage where we feel we are going to give her no option and will do one final clean up of the house and then get a cleaner for her(she has previously resisted this).This does all feel rather bullying and we dont want to hurt feelings but we feel it is a matter of preserving her dignity and also creating an environment ihat we can all visit her in, thus improving her quality of life too.My mother would not agree to move and we would not expect her to as she has good neighbours and lives in a close and friendly community.
Can anyone advise as to whether we are approaching this in the right way?I realise we can do nothing about her drinking.I dont think she will stop and her GP has refused to discuss our concerns with us.Our mother is of sound mind and not phsically incapacitated in anyway so we dont think any professional agencies will help and she would resist this anyway.I would however really appreciate some support .Myself and my siblings have busy jobs and children and given the geographical distance it is difficult to closely monitor our mother.
Any advice or support would be very much welcomed.
Thankyou

 
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