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It has been 3 years since my elderly mother let me wash her hair, she keeps it pinned up and it stinks and her head has cacked up oil and debre. She also refuses help with bathing. I'm afraid she will get an infection of the scalp. what can i do, wh do I turn to for help. My mother is very stubborn. What if she gets real sick? Will me and my sister be liable even if we have tried to care for her? what can we do?

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You know, it has to hurt having the hair, sebum, dander, you get my drift. It has to hurt trying to remove it. I would get advice at Sally's Supply, or a place similar. Or like someone earlier in this thread, but years ago, is a beauty operator and gave specific details on how to go about taking the "cradle cap"....................
I am FORTUNATE, my mom bathes and washes her hair religiously. She is 91, dementia, but she does not forget about her hair.
I cut it about every 6 weeks, and curl it, and make her up. SHe loves it.
She does wear a wig to go up-town, or to church, and I make sure that wig is in perfect condition. She has forgotten how to wash and etc. the wig.
Mom has been pretty clean all her life, but her sister was not. My aunt went for weeks / months without bathing, bla bla, she had dementia and a broken hip. It was tough. She did not care one bit.
The elderly have a "smell", and I learned about it here on this site. Mom has no smell at all.
Like I said, I am fortunate, because imagine: Clingy and Stinky?????? No Way!

M88
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There is a cap you can get at Walgreens, you warm it in the microwave and put the cap over her head and move it around. It activates a shampoo that doesn't have to be rinsed out and depending on how long you are able to 'scrub'.. does a good job of cleaning. You might try that after loosening all the scalp crud with tea tree oil.
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Thank you for posting. I know how devastating it is when you elderly parent won't allow you to help her by helping with her hygiene. My mom tells me that she knows how to look after herself and that she already washed her hair etc. She has dementia and it is breaking my heart to feel so helpless to assist her.
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The shampoo board I mentioned earlier was the answer for us. The hospice folks have them, but they can be bought online too. I realize now I can't post the website but if someone needs that info msg me and I can provide it. Of course as mentioned previously, Mama is totally bedfast...
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My grandmother is almost 99 and is legally blind. She only allows me to wash her hair every 2 weeks. In between she puts it in pin curls every night and sleeps on them but when she takes them out, she tries (but isn't successful) to pick it out for some volume. It really looks bad and she won't listen to me or let me help her. Any suggestions?
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Well, I see the websites I posted did not remain so I am assuming we cannot post those. If anyone needs that send me a note in my messages and I will figure out how to get it to you. :)
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Can you talk her into a "spa day"? Maybe get her hair done and a facial or nails? The beauty schools offer these services if money is tight. Heck I have had a facial there and it was pretty darn good! If she is bedridden maybe you could do it for her? Hair first, then getting pretty!
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OK..that seems to work...the item there on the left corner...$35.31....
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OK... I don't think that worked...ugh...let me try again.....
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I don't know if it's ok to list websites on here so if not I apologize in advance, but here is the site to the exact hair washing appliance the home health folks use...it is super easy to use, to clean and makes it simple to keep elderly folks hair washed and rinsed...maybe this would help...again..my Mama never says she wants it done. I will just say OK, then proceed to do it. She seems to enjoy it actually. :) good luck. here's the site
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Mama is totally bedfast now, can't even sit up without assistance so the hair washing issue was a real problem...UNTIL...thank God the home health providers introduced us to that wonderful hair washing tray they bring. Mama can lie flat in the bed and the way the tray is made, the water drains off into a bucket (which I provide) it is fast, it is without mess, it is easy on Mama and even though if you ask her whether she would like her hair washed...99 times out of 100 she will tell me no, we just do it anyway and she always feels so much better.

We also had those massage caps they use in the hospital, but to me they didn't do that great of a job, but were good in a pinch to freshen it up for a day or so....but the washing tray is a godsend....
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If the person doesn't have sores on their scalp...using a baking soda rinse will get all the oil and build up off the hair and scalp. Then condition and comb through before rinsing. Have you ever asked why she doesn't want to wash her hair. My mom (Alzheimer's) before moving them in with us...would shower jump out covered in soap and get in bed shivering. Finally figured it out...she would wash her body parts over and over again...until the hot water ran out. She would forget what she has washed. Now I help her and cue her what needs washed next.
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I take my mother (94) to the hairdresser once a month ($15) and keep her hair very short.While out I take a short ride or to the dollar store,a bite to eat, whatever she can manage and she now looks forward to it.
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my miother in law has been in a nursing home after having a stroke since 13th January 2014, the stroke has affected her speech and she cant talk. We have noticed that she has a type of cradle cap and her her looks terrible, when I ask her has she been given a bath or had her hair washed she always shakes her head to say no. Should we be worried? could she be wrong? her hair was lovely before she went in home or could the stroke change her hair condition. Even when the on site hairdresser cut her hair she didnt wash it. any advice.
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Sherrisab, Great advice!!!!
GOD bless you also. You yourself are a blessing.
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My mother in law wouldn't do her hair herself either when she was at home. She did everything with me. I would tell her "OK Mom, we are going up the mountain to celebrate Christmas, a birthday or whatever". We are going to get all ready. I would put her in the shower and she wouldn't wash, so I would give her the excuse that I had to check her moles. She was covered with them and I do check them because of skin cancer that she has had problems with in the past. I would get her to wash her hair and then when she got out she would have a new change of clothes. (She would go for weeks at a time and not change even her underwear). She started throwing her clothes away when she was at home also. I had always cut her hair for her so I would cut her hair and fix her all up. I would just tell her we had to get fixed up before we could visit.
She is in a nursing home now but she still won't let anyone but me mess with her hair or cut her nails. I use that dry shampoo spray and that is wonderful. She will wash it before I cut it and I do that about every 4-6 weeks. It is very short but is beautiful. She doesn't have to set it. It just goes perfect. The nurses run a comb through it in the morning and she is set.
It never did me any good to try to force her to do anything...I had to deal with the situation like I was convincing a 4 0r 5 year old child to do something that she didn't want to do. But the one thing that she always wanted to do more was visit with my family.
Find the thing that you can use as the carrot. I wouldn't try to get all of that cleaned up in one session. In fact if you use the olive oil or tea tree oil, let it sit for a night so it can penetrate. You may want to check with her doctor to get some type of med that will make this less traumatic. Also he or she can check and make sure that she doesn't have a type of psoriasis or something that may actually hurt if you go in there trying to clean things up. The tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic.
I hope this helps...this is the most difficult thing I have ever had to handle in my life. My mother in law was always perfect. She was a size 8, always dressed to the T, beautiful house and nothing ever out of place. And now , her kids don't come around because they don't know how to handle it. She always tells everyone that she couldn't have had a better daughter. (She only has boys so she adopted me.) I guess this is the place I am to be because God doesn't make mistakes. God Bless!
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Unfortunatly itis not that easy to get medicare help first the person has to be in the hospital at least 3 days to be able to go to rehab where social workers can assist and you do not get on medicare without many applications and doctors reports and such and medicaide is very hard to get the problam has gone on so long-3 yrs. without hair being washed she needs someone to get in there yesterday to take charge and yes you can be reported for neglect -I would take her to her MD. whome she probably has not been to in 3 yrs. or else he or she has no clue what is going on. What goes on if you take charge and try to wash her hair does she attack you verbably or physically if that is true she needs to more care than you can give her.
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Your mother may accept help more readily from an individual outside the family. See if you can get Medicare or Medicaid to provide in home assistance, at least for a few hours a week.
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You might tell her that if she will not let you care for her she will have to live somewhere else that might get her thinking-let us know how this gets resolved.
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luann's thoughts seem VERY reasonable to me. The olive oil for the cradle cap & a sedative before you start.
You wil have to address this gradually as it has been sooooo long, but it MUST be done. You could be charged with neglect.
Be gentle, the skin could become raw and get infected as you fear. Try baby shampoo? and don't forget the conditioner or you won't be able to brush it afterward.
I wish you the best.
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I have a question. Have you had a visit with the doctor with your Mom lately? I would have the doctor address the situation with your Mother. Can you afford to take her to a beauty college to have her hair washed? That would be a little more affordable. Or, a regular beauty shop. I am sure they have to deal with people that need this help, too. We all need help from time to time. You cannot do everything yourself and I just want to encourage you to keep trying. I know you want what is best for her. Sometimes we have to do what is best for us, without being mean to our parent. Just firm. They had to do that for us when we were younger. It is a health issue. I don't know about the responsibility legally. I would just tell her that I didn't think it was healthy and that we need to go and have someone help us.
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My mother didn't wash her hair this whole month. i guess it is just depression; so literally yesterday, i broke down & started crying & finally made it about me; i said "Why are you doing this to me? Why aren't you cooperating! I'm going to stroke out!" For some reason, it made her notice how it was affecting me & she did it! It seems like your mother is worse off than mine so I sincerely wish you the strength to deal with this.
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I have to give my mom thorazine about 20 min. before her shower,just to relax her enough. I suggest (being a hairdresser myself) always meds first. I suggest a drop cloth under her head. make 2 large bowls of lukewarm water, and 2 wash cloths. soak 1 washcloth in warm water w/shampoo on it. Rub gently on scalp while adding more water and shampoo etc. When it is wet and somewhat clean fresh water 2nd bowl, and add comditioner and rinse with clean water. For the crud accumulated on her scalp use either virgin olive oil or tea tree oil with a small painters brush slide it sideways to lift cradle cap. hoper it helps
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Tell her you're going to get some help, hold her down, and cut her hair off if she doesn't wash it. Then seriously, I would follow through. But that's just me.
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Not to make light of your situation, but there are said to be 200 million insects for every person on the planet. After 3 years, I would be worried that some of them might have taken up residence in there.
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