I care for my Mother and her hygiene is getting very poor. How do I get her to shower when she is being difficult?

Asked by

Answers 1 to 10 of 24
Lol! I was really hoping I would find a solution when I clicked on this topic. I have read assorted clever ways to get a parent to shower but, unfortunately, none of them worked for my mom. She is in stage 6 of Alzheimers, is in no way incontinent (heaven be praised) but still has a strong sense of self. I have asked her nicely to take a shower and she insists that she does every evening. Ahem! I have ears and eyes and a nose. Mom does smell a bit, she took sponge baths for a long time and kept herself rather well but that is rapidly declining. I even told her outright that I could smell her and that was a big mistake. There is a section in here that deals with reluctance to take baths. I read it through and realized that mom (who just turned 94) may have a diminished sense of smell and that her body odor just doesn't register with her. I have to beg her to wash her hair at least once a month and she will sometimes let me do it for her. She has no short term memory and often has delusions.

If you scroll down on this page you will find a topic "Dad won't shower or change his clothes" click on that and find some good info.

Morrigan
Top Answer
Would it help if you set up a certain day and time for the bath/shower so it becomes part of her routine? Then maybe she will become accustomed to it. I know the memory impairment may make it difficult to have a schedule. Maybe you could put a chart on the wall and show her that it is time for bathing.
mine refuses to shower or get in the tub even tho we have a chair for the tub. she only takes sponge baths the only odor I can smell on her at this time is her hair sometimes but if I mention it she gets so defensive. I just let it go its easier for me that way she only does what she wants and that's not much but she can still wash her clothes and keep her room clean and she could do lots more but says it is my house she can't help it if I have to work. Well its that or live in a cardboard box mom. anyway you just deal with what you can in the best way you can until you can't deal with it anymore thats what my therapist told me so thats what I do have to pick the wars in my house and very carefully at that. My mother does not have alzheimers and maybe a tiny bit of dementia but our main issue is she is narcissistic thats a tough one to always have to have your guard up and its very stressful.
Something that works for me. My mom listens to her provider more than to me, her only daughter. So mom's provider will tell her it's time to bathe. She said she gets fiesty with her but all she has to do is pick up the phone and pretend she is calling mom's doctor. My mom will ask her who she is calling and the provider will tell her sheis calling her doctor to tell him that she does not want to take a bath. My mom makes her hang up the phone and she takes a bath. Now, that is working now, who knows what will work next week. And when the provider is not there, I try and let her think it's her idea. On the weekends I will tell her, "Mom, would you like to bathe in the morning or at night before bed? It's your decsion, you can decide." And she seems to take that well, SOMETIMES! Hang in there! I am going through it too, you are not alone!
I have to agree with skye and pamelarod. Getting it part of the routine is essential. Putting it on a calendar is great because it is a visual reminder and it is not you telling her to do it. I like the idea of giving the person the decision. Again it is not you TELLING them like a child but it you empowering them to make a decision. Which of course the two choices are what we want but it still give the power of choice.
I think consistency and dont give up maybe something will click.
Best to you
Most states have hairdressers who will come to the home or hospital to shampoo and cut hair. My mother-in-law used them for years when she was bedridden. Don't know if that would be any help.
Thank you; I will check into that' I appreciate any advice. K~
Another thought would be take her to a Bath & Body Shoppe and let her pick out her favorite fragrance in shower gel, lotions and all accessories. Something is bound to pique her interest. Possible? Maybe she'd like a little body glitter when the shower is done, or just a pleasant body spray that she could use at will. Just an extra thought......good luck. Sooz
I wanted to take my mother to a hairdresser she refused, see its narcissism in the act again there is nothing wrong with her just her back, I had to laugh this week end she lays in bed all the time and she is very capable of getting up and doing something but she has always been a drama queen, I worked my butt off this weekend and mind you I work a full time job and many other things but she comes out when I tell her its time to eat and she goes OH I had such a terrible day I had to put a towel on my back just to lay down. The doctor says she needs to move around so I guess its just a matter of time she will be bedridden for good becareful what you ask for I say. I can't move her body around it weighs twice as much as mine so she will have to go to nursing home. She is a trip
YOU NEED TO BE FERM NOT TO ASK TO SHOWER,YOU JUST ORDER HER,IS HARD AND IS YOUR MOTHER BUT LIKE KIDS ,NEED TO BE TUFF IN YOUR VOICE.
SHE NEED TO KNOW YOU DON'T PLAY.
GABRIELA

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support