My 94-year-old husband has been in the same clothes five days. How do I get him to change and take a bath?

Asked by

He will not let me put on pajamas. He can go to the bathrooom after I got rid of the underwear. Once in a while he will shave. We have a bath lift chair and he used to be agreeable to bathe but no more. He has dementia but he is the one in control. I am seventy four. He is often up and down at night so sleep for me is a problem.
My daughter helps me all she can. I wanted to keep him at home and hate to make a decision for a nursing home because of a bath. The days are not too bad. I can cope o.k. but it is killing me to see him dirty and smelly, with greasy hair.

Answers 1 to 1 of 1
Expert Answer
3930 helpful answers
Hi Tiger1,
This is a very common, but frustrating, problem with AD. Either your husband has some fears of bathing or just doesn't see the point. As you know, logic doesn't go very far. As I see it, you have two choices. One is to hire in-home care. Sometimes people will bathe for a person who seems like a "nurse" or something - my mother-in-law was like that. She wouldn't bathe for family, but when we hired an in-home care agency to send someone once a week, she'd (grudgingly) do it.
I do think you need to start looking for a facility. You aren't a kid anymore and there's only so much you can take before your own health is shot. You need to get some sleep. In many ways, you can "be there" more for your husband if you are rested and get a reprieve, which you'd have if you had him in a good care center. That can be a nursing home or a memory unit in assisted living. At the very least, please start to look around at this option. You won't help him if you are sick or become incapacitated.
Take care of yourself,

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