Bathing and shampooing.

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As a caregiver to my husband, who has dementia, I have solved the problem of bathing and shampooing, for myself at least, and I hope that how I am handling it might be of some use to other caregivers on this forum.

What I do now, as he has progressed where he doesn't want to sit in that chair in the bathtub anymore is this. I'll just saunter into the bathroom one morning while he is washing his face and hands, and I'll say, "Good morning! This is the morning when we wash your torso. And I have a clean undershirt here and a clean shirt, isn't that great?" Then he'll smile and say, "Yes." So then it just takes a matter of minutes to help him off with his shirt and undershirt and then I wet a washcloth and soap it up and give it to him and he washes his torso, under his arms, his arms, etc., and then I do his back, and I'm singing a catchy song at the same time. He loves this.

Then I dry him off with a towel, and I hand him the deodorant, and then VOILA! Done! Easy as pie! Remember, there is no law of the land that says you MUST give your patient a full bath all at once. No law at all! You are free to improvise, which is what I have done.

Then either the next day or a couple of days later, while he's watching TV, I bring a large bowl of warm water, strip off his socks and shoes/slippers, and place his feet in the water. I push up his pants, soap and rinse his thighs, legs, and then do a real job on his feet, dry them, clip his toe nails, followed by a fancy pedicure, including massage of his legs and feet with a foot cream. He loves it, and it's really a relaxing experience for me. The whole time he's watching TV.

Now we're all done with the bottom half of him (his privates are something he keeps washed and clean every day. Once in a while, he acts confused, and then I step in to help in out in that area; no sweat.)

Then a couple of days later, I shampoo his hair while he's in the bathroom washing his hands. I just step up to the plate, say "Guess what? Time for one of my fancy shampoos," and he says, "Okay," and that takes a matter of minutes, then rub with a towel and we're all done.

So I have found by keeping him clean and sweet smelling in bits an pieces takes all the anxiety away from both of us.

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Veronica, you cracked me up with your picture/crayons comment. Concerning the facial hair situation, this might shock you, but I never have used tweezers on my face. I kept my mouth and chin area completely free of facial hair with a plain, old-fashioned lady's razor. A few swipes of that in the proper areas every two weeks, and voila! Hair all gone!
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One thing I forgot to mention is that many if not most older women grow some interesting facial hair. While in our right minds most of us privately keep tweezers and a magnifying mirror handy to pluck these. If your loved one had this problem and you don't plan to sell her to the circus as the "bearded lady" it is important to continue to keep her face properly serviced. it will add to her peace of mind. I think I will add that to my healthcare proxy.
One of our hospice nurses used her chart board to kill a mouse in a patients home and then threw a magnate out of the back door to satisfy the gentleman. As Willows said that is by far the best way to deal with these illusions.Enter their reality.
Willows I happen to enjoy making baskets I used to do a lot of that in my long journey through the world of crafts. What would drive me nuts is to be handed a picture and a box of crayons.
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No pressure - What a great idea. A little at a time.
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those little warmed shampoo caps are a Godsend for folks in a place where it is hard to shampoo aren't they! I know they saved us several times. I think I am going to buy one of the shampoo boards like the aid used from our previous service and then I can keep Mama's hair washed and set as much as I want. she seems to enjoy that as much as anything I do for her...still has most of her hair and it is the most beautiful natural pale ash blonde...I wish mine would be that color.....she is resting nicely tonight and all tucked in...I am winding down and trying to regroup. I allowed myself to get overcome with emotion today and that did no one any good....will make an extra effort to get up with a better attitude in the am...
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Yesterday I washed mom's hair at the hospital with a warmed shampoo cap. She LIKED that warm feeling. It's a no rinse shampoo/conditioner and she did the massaging herself. Today I did her lower legs and feet with the moisturizing peri-wipes and gave her fresh footsies, threw the old ones out. Tomorrow I will tackle the arms and back with warmed peri-wipes. One little area at a time, lots of moisturizer and massage for the areas she can't reach. She can still do her own breasts and crotch area easily. The nurses also put Nystatin under her breasts to treat a heat rash there. Small areas take only ten minutes and she does not get chilled.
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Veronica, I love your sense of humor; especially "You vill take ze bath." You HAVE to maintain a sense of humor; otherwise you will end up in some corner of a "Home for the Uncertain" weaving baskets. I may have already posted this but, just in case......

Several months ago, I found my hubby in the bedroom with a fly swatter (it was about 5:00 in the morning; UGH). I said, "What's going on?" He said, "There are four big bugs flying around, and I have to find them and kill them." Now remember! We have to enter THEIR world, right? So I said, "Here, give me that swatter; I'll kill them for you." So he handed me the swatter, and I swatted away like crazy, four swats, and BADABOOM! Bugs all gone! I said, "There! I killed them for you!" He smiled and exclaimed "What a woman!" Then he climbed back into bed a very happy man and feel fast asleep. I used to play "pretend" with my kids all the time. So now here I am again playing "pretend" with my husband. :)
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Love that...thanks Veronica....I am definitely going to make a sign......
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Hope if you don't want those drop in snoopers who I guess are not family members.
A nice big sign on the doors back and front that says no visitors today please call before coming mama is often too tired to see anyone. lock the doors and close the drapes to any windows they can look in. Visitors welcome between the hours of 3 and 4 during the week only. or whenever you are prepared to let them in. They will try other times but simply turn them away. "Sorry Mama is asleep and I am washing the windows" Hospice should also let you know when they are comming. remember they are guests in your home they have no rights.
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That's exactly why if someone cannot do it the way it is pleasant for my Mama then I would rather do it...I take time with her, everyone who comes here tells me how wonderful she looks and well I take care of her...Mama is always clean and surrounded by soft clean cozy sheets and blankets..she is happy...if folks are going to come in and flip her like a pancake and gripe and whine the whole time, then I don't want them here, and will not have them here
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Willows you are indeed a talented and imaginative caregiver. I fail to see the necesity of giving an elder a shower. It is tiring for both a loved one and caregiver.
now Willows husband is still mobile and co-operative which unfortunately is frequently not the case.
Comfort is the most important consideration when it's "bath" day. Nice big soft towells to wrap the body in and a comfortable warm room. Only uncover the bit you are actually washing and just get it done. If you have to clean your loved one up after pooping take that opportunity to wash the lower half. the rest can wait till you change the upper clothes. As Willows does 'strike while the iron is hot" Not everyone will be as amenable as Willows husband and you may have to resort to "You vill take ze bath" Ya! always try and do it "their way" but don't let them give you the run around however many new swear words you learn.
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