dlove11 Asked December 2010

My mother is in independent living and she's been neglecting her hygiene and sometimes wears the same clothes for a week at a time. How can I get her to change her clothes and improve her hygiene?

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My mother is in an independant living center and she has been neglecting her hygiene and sometimes wears the same clothes for a week at a time 24 hours a day so I have been told. I live approximately 4 hours away and do not have the resources to hire somebody to help. She is 76 and was diagnosed with end stage kidney disease in Nov. and on dialysis so hygiene is very important. I have been here for several weeks and she refuses to let anyone help her shower. I don't know what to do......HELP.

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dlove11 Dec 2010
I would like to thank everybody for their good suggestions and I will take them into consideration.
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Jam Dec 2010
I have to agree with Ted on this one.....it sounds like it is time for a step toward assisted living or possibly skilled care. My mil lived alone and went for months without bathing....the stench was getting intolerable....add to that the dementia and the problems start. We moved her into mother-in-law quarters built onto our house. I just have to go downstairs and through a door to take care of her. Still has some independence but I bathe her every Wed and Saturday. It only took twice of stripping her naked and putting her in the tub before she got the message that we have to be clean. She is in diapers due to incontinence and sometimes will wear them wet for hours....she fibs a bit about "are we wet or dry". Your mother will need further help with dialysis and other aspects of daily living, so I would consider placing her in a facility that can and will dedicate more time to her. The interaction with her will have to be firm....no budging on what is expected. She may try and fight the loss of her independence, but sometimes there is no other choice.
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Linny Dec 2010
When my late father began wearing the same clothes for days and not bathing, it turned out that he was in the early stages of dementia. Maybe you could arrange for your mother to be checked out by a geriatric specialist to make sure that this isn't the case.
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nenepeters Dec 2010
My Mother is 90 and has very early Alzheimers, but she has NEVER liked to take showers or baths... she hates being cold she says, but we heat the bathroom so it is like toast! It was a weekly battle with her to get her to take a shower, and was NOT getting any better as time went on... however, she recently had surgery for a blocked aorta and the doctor ordered a Nurses Aide to come by for bathing three times a week... she is not thrilled, but she is ready and complies... If I could just get them to order even once a week, ongoing I would be soooo thrilled. I am beginning to think this bath thing is a problem for almost everyone! I surely would recommend that the doctor ORDER this... It sure has helped with my mom!
Good luck!
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Good Idea Boomer!
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Boomersage Dec 2010
Have you considered Hospice......They offer many services covered under Medicare. With a diagnosis of end-stage kidney disease she may qualify.
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MrEldercare Dec 2010
dlove11-

My heart goes out to you. Seeing your Mom in that condition has to be emotionally wrenching.

Steps you should take to get help:

1. Talk to the social worker at the dialysis center. Ask him/her for their suggestions.
2. Contact your local Agency on Aging. That's why the agency is in business.
3. If your Mom's area has 2-1-1 service, call it. Often they can connect you with the right services
4. Discuss your Mom's condition with her doctor. Sounds like she has the beginning of dementia and/or depression.

Your mom may no longer be appropriate for independent living. Ask the folks you reach in items 1-4 what housing may be more appropriate.

Looks like you have a challenging time ahead of you. Take a deep breath and realize you can only do what you can do.
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LME Dec 2010
My relative has always taken sponge baths. She does not have dementia. She is afraid to get into the bathtub, even with help, and she does not have a shower. Her caregivers give her higenic sponge baths, and this is acceptable to her home care nurse and Area Office on Aging case manager.
If your mom is on dialysis, she should have a nurse and/or a social worker, that you could speak to about this. Is there anyway they could bathe her before giving her a treatment? Just a thought. Make sure her doctor knows that she is not keeping herself clean. Maybe if the doctor orders her to bathe, maybe she will. If you could get to know her doctor, it may be easier for you to voice your concerns to him.
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michfla317 Dec 2010
To me this is also a sign of depression - not caring, etc. and not enough socialization. Maybe you could think about moving your Mom to another facility closer to you that would be more involved in making sure she's staying active and caring about herself.. Good luck and God Bless!
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Is her independent living facility connected in anyway to an assisted living facility? It might be time to make that move.
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