Showering and clean clothes.

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Hello, I am my mother in laws caretaker. I had to quit my job to stay with her. She has Diabetes and Epilepsy with early signs do Dimensia. She is only 62 years old. Every time I run the laundry I ask if she has anything she would like me to wash, the answer is usually no. I take it upon my self to sniff, as unpleasant as it is, her clothing and was what needs to be done. Her husband passed almost 3 years ago and since then she stopped showering or changing her clothing. She gets very upset when I try, nicely, to discuss it with her. I'm getting to the point where I just wash everything each time I do laundry. Also, she thinks she only needs a shower once a month. I know she has a fear of slipping and I have done the best I can to prevent that with a chair, mat and handles in the shower. I have offered to go in with her, that didn't go well. She is still somewhat mentally capable but stubborn. I would love to hear how others handle these things. I don't want to push her too much because stress causes her seizures.


Washing everything is a safe bet especially since she doesn't bathe regularly.

As for how to get her to bathe, she may be uncomfortable having you help her in the shower because she knows you and your are family. Have you thought about hiring a bath aide? You can talk to her Dr. about it and Medicare will cover it. Bath aides are wonderful, they're professional and they're QUICK! Your mom will be in and out in under 30 minutes.

My dad stopped showering because he was afraid he'd fall and we both agreed that I wouldn't help him so I got him a bath aide. She came twice a week and we were happy as clams.
Unfortunately she doesn't qualify for medicaid or Medicare because she gets a good retirement amount from the state. I wish she didn't because so many more things would be available to her and me. However she does have really good health care but they do not cover things like bath aides. I have looked into it. Thank you for your comment. I fear a long road ahead
My mother is 95, but she was doing the same things that you describe. Once her health demanded that she go to a nursing home, guess what? No more problems with laundry, eating, bathing, etc. Why? Because it is routine and they don't take "no" for an answer. Plus - everyone else is clean and dressed, even if you are 102.
I think we all deal with the hygiene issues at some point. With my mom, she's still fairly sharp mentally, just forgetful and seems to be kind of in a daze unless someone is actively speaking to her. However, the showering/dressing thing...that's been a huge issue. Before I moved in, she hadn't showered in months - there was a thick layer of dust in the shower to prove it. I am able to get her to shower every other day most of the time, but there are weeks when she will go 3 or 4 days before I finally get stubborn about it and insist that she shower. That usually means me having to tell her the smell in the house is unbearable - that will usually get her to shower. I hate having to do that - no one should have to tell their own mother that she smells bad - but sometimes it's the only way to get her to understand. We are currently on vacation and staying in the same small motel room....she didn't shower yesterday and didn't want to today, but I had to remind her that the room is small and there are 2 of us and a dog in here....and the dog isn't the one causing the odor. She showered.

At times I have asked her why she resists showering so much - her response? "I'm lazy, OK?!?" Oookayyy then.
Thank you for your comments. The apartment has not begun to smell, thankfully but her room does and she only sleeps I there plus I wash her sheets once a week and leave the windows open pending the weather. If I have the conversation with her about her smell I get, "I would never tell my mother that!" In a very nasty tone. I try to tell her I am only looking out for her but she takes it as an attack. Maybe if I can get my husband more involved so she can she it isn't just me?
Nennie - Does MIL have friends that visit? Or does she like to go places? Use that as encouragement to shower and clean up. Tell her, "You know, so-and-so was going to come by to visit today - and I know you wouldn't want them to find you un-showered." or "We're going to (place destination name here) - but I can't take you until you shower - so let's get that done so we can go."

Would that work?
Unfortunately she has very limited socialization at the moment. Her previous care taker, my now brother in law, abused her and stole all her money while opening up 3 lines of credit under her name without approval and we had to move states. We go on walks and talk with people around the complex while out but she doesn't get to go to the store much because we need to go at night and that is when she may have a seizure. Stores call 911 even when it is a small seizure and only stresses her more. We tried having the doctor both primary and neurologist talk with her but that didn't seem to help. I think my husband and I are just going to have to slowly get her to take more and more showers. Once every two weeks then every week the twice a week. We will see. But that you for the suggestion hopefully we can make more friends here. The woman across from us is of similar age perhaps I can help h hygiene and socialization with one stop! Thank you

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