My elderly father sometimes bathes only once a week and when I remind him he gets angry. What can I do?

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In "the old days", a weekly bath was the norm for most people. It's only been the last few decades where bathing daily seems a must. In most other countries, you'll find less frequent bathing than in the U.S. I mention this because at this point this may be more of a power struggle than a health issue, and backing off may help.

Whatever the cause, this is a common problem.

First, I’d think about how often he really needs to bathe. Second, if fear of water (dementia can cause this), or the fact that he gets cold or something of that nature is the problem, try to figure out what it is. Without more information it's hard to tell what is going on, but it may just be a power struggle. As people age, they suffer many losses. When their adult children start telling them what to do, many people get annoyed and stubborn.

If he doesn't bathe for so long it's a health issue, you could see if hiring some in-home help just for bathing would work. Some people don't want family members helping them bathe, even someone of the same gender. It doesn't feel "right" to them.

I'd suggest experimenting a bit, as this isn't life threatening. Please keep us posted on what works and what doesn't. Many people have this problem. And many adult children have to get used to not being embarrassed because their elders smell less than fresh.

You may want to read this article:
https://www.agingcare.com/133877

Carol

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