My mother who lives in assisted living makes an attempt to wipe herself after using the bathroom, but doesn't quite clean herself properly. How do I help?

Mother in assisted living makes an attempt in the bathroom to wipe herself, but doesn't quite clean herself. SuggestIons? Care aides ignore the situation because it's not on her plan of care. It would require a more expensive level of care. Showers twice per week are not really enough.
This is an elegant, retired architect with dementia. What can we do to help maintain her dignity?

Answers 1 to 8 of 8
maybe you could get her some of those moist wipes they sell with the toilet paper now... that could be helpful. They could put that in her plan of care. She could end of with an infection or skin break down if she continues to not get clean. take care, J
Get those large wipes and bring it to the facility and leave them in her bathroom. Tell her that she must use them , and throw them away after each use. Have a "meeting" with the staff and tell them it is very important that the caregivers focus on her bathroom habits. Tell them what you have done and actually show them how to wipes. That's right, teach the care staff just as you would teach a child. They may be offended, but so what.. BE nice about it.
Top Answer
There is a helpful 1-foot long handle that holds toilet paper or washcloths that might help, if your mother can remember to use it.

And what is preventing you from bringing some disposable washcloths and helping your mother get clean(er) while you are there? YOU help her shower. I wipe Mom's rear end many times a day. Because of danger of falling, I give Mom sponge baths. There are foaming nonrinse soaps suitable even for perineal use.

Reading another of your posts about your mother's mental state, it seems your mother has paranoia problems, many other problems that suggest that either new assessment should be made about her living conditions (living "alone" in assisted living). Sounds like her "dignity" is now not coming from within if she is acting out.

She should probably start hiring a caregiver to be with her several hours a day and do this kind of bathing and personal care and making sure she takes her meds.

Just from my personal experience, my mother has spent since October in drug induced delusions, paranoia, and insanity, caused by the very drugs Rx'd to stop this (first Seroquel then Ativan). At first they helped...helped probably just knock her out more, then they kicked her in the rear. The inclination is to slip her another pill, right? With her doctor's permission, I stopped the Ativan (which we think caused urine retention...a nursing home situation) to use just for anxiety attacks. And she has had no delusional behavior AT ALL since stopping these and has improved on every front, including daily functioning. And this all happened less than the initial Rx'd dose (ok'd by doctor to try less first).

So under supervision, you might want to try taking her off all anti-psychotic drugs to get a baseline of behavior, then try reintroducing as needed.

But sounds like to start with, you'll have to have the facility hire a caregiver for her.

I purchased the large wipes for my mother and informed the care staff to use them (as many as they want-I'll buy more!) and when I am there I make sure she is clean. One or two times of calling the caregiver's attention to it should help. I mentioned it right away at my mom's assisted living facility and it was taken care of rimmediately. BUT, I also heard that my mother was somewhat refusing help at times. I had a talk with her about letting the girls help her with this task and she did much better. It's a constant struggle with one thing or another with caring for loved ones but all you can do is stay on top of it the best you can and let the facility know each time in a non threatening way and go from there.
I work in a an assisted living facility with a 25 bed 'memory care' section where residents who require more assistance with activities of daily living receive showers 'as needed'(daily). Some recieve showers every day, because of their inability to handle their own hygiene, thus decreasing the risk of illness caused by poor hygiene. Most assisted living facilities do have 'memory care' units where higher levels of care are the norm and daily showers help eradicate infection etc. The wipes should be used always, as they are softer and protect the integrity of the skin. I would call the Director of Nursing and schedule a person to person meeting to discuss your concerns and the option of transferring your mother to the higher level of care memory unit, or stay in her apartment and increase her level of care to include daily showers, or hire a private duty aide to shower her daily. The nurse will appreciate your concerns and take the opportunity to re train her staff to be sure they are following protocol with delivering personal care. The sqeaky wheel does indeed get oiled.
The "Memory Care" option is more expensive. It may not be needed.
what I did is get her some baby wipes, and teach her step by step, to wipe from the front to the back, and never from the back to the front which she was doing all the time, and that can cause infecion, I taught her how to check with toilet paper of course, to make sure she got it all, use a baby wipe, look at it, make sure it was free of caca, and then put a bit of powder for freshness, and now she knows what to do, and nothing makes her more comfy for those lessons, and not having to sit in her own poop! its refreshing for her and for me to know that she can still do this herself, about that worker, she should be ashamed of herself, and find another job, where she wants to work, and doesnt put stipulations on stuff like that, things that are that important, and can cause infection, and serious problems............sounds like that one is a loser, and shouldnt be working there, has no heart either! I would be the first to complain about something like that, as I know for sure, she would get in trouble for that kind of response, that makes folks in these kinds of places feel worse about themselves, and always makes them feel like a burden, when they shouldnt as these people are geting salaries for this crap!!! Sorry I am just fuming, at this woman attitude!!!! had to vent about that one!
My Dad used to use this product and then I started to use it because it was so cleansing and easy. Try it for your Mom. Go-Anywhere Bidet by needasystproducts8

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