Don't you look pretty?

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When I took my MIL her coffee and breakfast yesterday morning, she was quite chipper -- sitting at her table, smiling, combing her hair which had just been washed the night before. It looked glossy and nice -- and pink. Completely streaked with pink. At first I thought her head was bleeding, but on closer inspection she had taken a tube of lipstick and somehow applied it to her scalp, then combed it through everything.

She looks kind of trendy. Kind of Taylor Swift.

Has anyone else had makeup disasters? She applies clown faces often, but we can just wipe those off. I have been gradually reducing her makeup supply (nail polish, gone, after she was trying to eat it or use it on her lips), but I don't want to take it all away unless I really have to. She has about 5 tubes of lipstick that she messes with daily, counting and lining up on her table.

It's hard for me to compute this desire to look lovely (natural) with the not-caring when there's sewage on her pants or hands. God love us all, but I guess we're vain at the last.

Any stories to share out there?

8 Comments

One idea would be to replace adult makeup with a child's pretend makeup. Chap-stick or candy lipstick which would still feel like the real thing. Or would she notice?
I think she would notice, but that's a great idea and worth a try.
Those are not permanent mishaps. (Well, eating the nail polish might be, but you've taken care of that.) Maybe it is time to treat Mom to the facilities beauty parlor -- I'll bet they could get the hair clean again.

Somehow your mom seems to have latched on to something from a happy part of her life. When my mom did her nails we always knew we were having a babysitter, that she and Dad were going out. And even though she may not remember why, my mom is happy when someone does her nails.

I know it is hard to see your mom looking like a clown but I hope you can find ways to minimize the damage and still respect your mom's desire to do this fun thing. (I think I'd make sure she doesn't have a hair scissors, though.)
I see in your profile that Mom is living at home, so there is no "facility beauty parlor." The beautician would be you, right?

Here are some of the things my mom's NH do to satisfy their residents beauty needs. There is an old fashioned beauty parlor on site. My mother goes once a week to have her hair done. It is amazing how many people say to her, "Your hair really looks nice today." An outside "professional" doing her hair might reduce her desire to to-it-herself.

At least once a month they have a "spa day" where they put nice lotion on hands and arms and have a huge assortment of nail polish colors that volunteers put on the residents who want it. The women feel pampered and pretty for at least the hours session.

When my mom was on hospice the volunteers quickly figured out that she liked having her nails done and that is how they spent time with her.

Is there any of this you could modify for your own purposes? Does Mom get a regular visitor who doesn't quite know what to do with her? Maybe she has a niece or nephew who could be her "spa day volunteer."

It sounds like you have a good sense of humor. That is a critical tool for getting through some of these episodes!
I love it. But I know that cleaning it up before she put her head on a pillow is something I wouldn't love. I like Jeanne's idea for pampering her. My parents used to have a hair dresser come to their home to do their hair. Now I take her to a salon. She loves going. I've known many older women who went to the salon once a week... then didn't touch their hair the rest of the week. Needless to say, by their next appointment they needed to have their hair done. It could look like a crow's nest by that time.
She does get pampered every now and then by my daughters, who have time to braid her hair and do toenails. You're right; she loves it! I sometimes forget to be flattering and complimentary in the face of the daily grind. In her youth she modeled a few times, and was always treated as a beauty, so that is a connection to the past that I hadn't seen that way. Thank you!
My mother ws very beautiful and even told how wearing it got to be told " how beautiful she was".She's 93 now and hile she can lose hearing aids without a seond thought and can't finish any of the 20 books in her house -she would NEVER lgothe front door of her assisted living apartment without a lipstick in her pocket. And wierdly enough the staff is always hugging her just because " your mother ilooks so beauiful..' ( By the way the underpants with incontinence pads built in have been a GREAT discovery. Me Mums very fear of accidents had caused her to layer three girdles each with a pad........
The story of your mom loving her make up and primping is wonderful. It's so nice that she is able to enjoy these times. I wish more patients could do that.

My cousin is in to jewelry. We provide her with plastic necklaces and bracelets. She really enjoys them and she never liked jewelry before dementia, which is odd. It's one of the few things she seems to enjoy now.

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