babalou722 Asked February 2011

My dad claims he showers but he has had the same bar of soap for over a year and the are cobwebs in the shower. How do I make him shower?

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N1K2R3 Feb 2011
Hire a caregiver who does nothing more than give him a shower once-a-day and dress him afterwards. This cost me about $12.00 - $15.00 per day, the aded cost was for the shampooing about four times a week. She walked him upstairs, undressed him, put him in the shower and completely cleaned him up. Put fresh clothes on him and combed his hair. She picked up her cash and left to go to her next job. Loved her, so did he. No complaints.
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MiaMadre Feb 2011
Thank you for posting that link Dani. Showering, preparing food, eating, paying bills, working the remote, the phone, the car, carrying on conversations, making shopping lists, locating 'stores' finding something you lost, and so many other 'daily functions DETERIORATE as we age.

Even simple tasks can seem VERY complicated to our elders. The best thing to do regarding showers is to SETUP everything "Dad or Mom" will need, and then get the bathroom ready and simply walk them down to the bathroom and HELP THEM. Don't 'ask' them if they want to shower, just let them know everything is READY for them to shower.

if you are unable to do this...... HIRE SOMEONE. Poor hygiene can lead to many other 'conditions' like depression, thrush, rashes, UTI's, in my VERY humble opinion.

Be aware of the 'dangers' of showering too. Don't leave it to chance. Burns, falls, slips and WORSE can happen in the blink of an eye. GET HELP if you need it.

God Bless.
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Carecoach Feb 2011
You're not going to be able to force your dad to shower. It's a fact of life in caring for a dementia patient like your dad. He probably thinks he has showered. One successful technique that I've learned from other dementia caregivers, is to frame tasks as part of the patient's "job." Going to adult day care is to go to work, and so taking a shower is either his job or getting ready to go to work. If you're a daughter, he may not want to have you involved in his showering in any way, even if you get his buy-in to the job scenario. Can you invovle another male?
Blessings, Joanne
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Jam Feb 2011
My mil was like that when she still lived alone.....would go for months without bathing and the stench was horrible. We moved her closer to us.....her home is attached to our home and she still would not bathe for weeks at a time. We whined, pleaded, begged, insulted, nothing worked. She kept telling us she was bathing.....we had an elderly tub installed, with the swinging door.....she was scrunching herself up in the foot area and calling that a bath. We knew she was filling it when we were seeing wet towels hanging all over the patio....oops forgot and opened the door again before the water was drained didn't we? So, one day after having gone 4 wks without a bath, she told me no and that was the end of that.....she got snatched up off the couch, stripped naked, the "adult diaper" on her butt that was rotting was taken off, and she was put in the tub and scrubbed. She is now bathed by me twice a week, is not allowed to wash herself, she just doesn't know how anymore....I try to make it as fun for her as possible.....30 minutes from undressed to redressed, she's clean and smells good and we're all happy. Sometimes you just have to wade in and get the job done. I know to some people it sounds cruel, but I'm betting your father has some dementia going on and 20 min after feeling clean, he will have forgotten the whole episode. Yes, I know....treat them with dignity......well just how far does that have to go? You do not have to subject yourself to living with the filth and stench just because your parent won't bathe. This is a NORMAL part of aging.....the elderly develop hydrophobia as they grow older....they can't smell themselves so they see no need to bathe. So, get your waders on, get those gloves out and start scrubbing........:)
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Cares4123 Feb 2011
We had this problem, and when I was searching for an assisted living a director there said they have this problem and have discovered that many times it comes from the elderly having issues with irritation to the sounds of running water and cold. Try putting some music on that the person really loves, prior to suggesting the shower, it may distract enough - you may have to work this over and over, it can distract from the sounds of the water and the irritation, also have a space heater in the bathroom also the new clean clothes laid out so there can be no drafts to complain about. best of luck, we know how frustrating this can be. If you can get help from a caregiver it is usually easier for the elderly to accept help in the form of bathing from an outside person rather than their family.
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The issue of seniors not bathing is actually quite common.
Here is a link to a helpful article from AgingCare.com’s community moderator, Carol Bradley Bursack. Note that there are links within the article, as well as “must-read” articles (below the comments) that also may relate to your particular situation.
I hope that this helps. Thank you for being a caregiver.
www.AgingCare.com/133877

Dani
AgingCare.com Editor
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Ruth1957 Feb 2011
Wow! What a problem. I guess, if it were me, I'd give a question that had no "no" option. I'd say, "Would you like ME to shower you, or get the things ready so you can shower yourself?" Once I told the elderly man I care for that there are things that begin to fall off if they're not washed. That got a laugh, and an agreement that he would take a shower.
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toadballet1 Feb 2011
Wow...how are you able to live with the stench?! Sounds like the hose idea may not be too far off, I think....
Maybe it's time to use tough love and tell him that the body odor is stinking up the house and you can no longer take it. Give him two choices, he either bathes himself or you will call the county health department and have someone sent over who will do it for him.
Really...you do not need to live like this...
good luck
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babalou722 Feb 2011
no he lives with me and he has a shower chair he is a compulsive lier he acts like he cant do stuff when people are watching but ive lived with him for 2 years. ive treated him like an adult and treating him like a child seems to work for most stuff its coming down to im gunna have to strip him and hose him down/
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toadballet1 Feb 2011
Does he live alone? This can happen when a senior is on his/her own and does not feel the need or have the energy to do normal everyday things.
Can someone intervene for you and tell him how important bathing is for his overall health? Is it hard for him to get in and out of a tub or shower? Would male in-home caregiver be able to assist? I have a caregiver come buy twice a week to bathe Mom...it was getting to dangerous for her to do it alone....good luck
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