Bathing the Elderly

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How do you get an elderly parent to take a bath or shower, when they refuse to do so? Do you have any ideas or suggestions that would help me? My brother and I are at our wits end with this problem. Thank you for any help you may have.

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Garden Artist, thank you for your input. I've gotten alot of great info today. My brother passed away from cancer 14 years ago and I have no other siblings. My mom and I have always had an odd relationship and I can't communicate with her the way my brother could. If I suggest anything she takes it as criticism. She's 88 and I believe she's showing early signs of Alzheimer's. We have a family history of it and my sister in law was recently here and brought it to my attention. I had my suspicions but didn't share them prior to her visit. I wanted her to judge for herself. So, I'm dealing with several issues at once. I'm going to try to get some outside help and go from there. I've learned so much from the comments today. Thank you
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Dianne, this topic has been raised periodically on this forum. There have been good answers to it as well. Ones which suggest refocusing on the bathing process to make it a pleasurable experience are very helpful.

They could involve use of washcloths for cleaning or no rinse products. They can include playing pleasurable music, giving a manicure before or after, providing a treat (such as ice cream) afterward.

The goal is to turn an unpleasant and sometimes nagging experience into a desirable one, permitting more bonding between caregiver and the one being cared for.

Older people don't necessarily enjoy undressing, getting cold, having to worry about getting in and out of a tub (even with shower/bath chairs to provide stability and safety), and being told that they have unpleasant odors.

Like many caregiving chores, folks here have learned to be creative and find ways to turn what could be frictional experiences into more positive ones. I think most of us have travelled this path at one time or another. It's a challenge many of us face; the trick is in finding the right route to a successful solution.
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I'm so glad I found this information on getting parents to bathe. My mom used to take baths and now she won't. Her power went out the other night and she was at my house yesterday and the smell was awful. I had the AC on and the ceiling fan on high. The ceiling fan just circulated the smell. When I make a suggestion to her she says I'm controlling. I'm so upset and at my wits end. I have heart problems and the stress from this has sent my bp raging. I'm going to try to convince her she needs to bathe and go get whatever she suggests she might need to give her more comfort in doing it.
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Cap in summer, you just sit her in the yard and put the irrigation system on manual. I have often suggested spilling a large drink across the table, then apologizing profusely while you shuffle her into the bathroom and whoops you misdirect the shower head, constantly talking, blaming yourself and once she is sufficiently wet she will want clothes off and whoops you soak the hair and just keep going till its all done.
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you have known all along that the answer is " firehose " .
everybody here downplays the facts but na , the end solution is " firehose " .
people p!ss on your back and try to tell you its raining .
i apologise for them ..
they mean well but theyre gutless ..
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I am a home companion to an 88 year old lady with dementia and who has not bathed in five months. She stinks real bad. I once was able to give her a shower and she was crying and saying "you will never make me bath again!" I was gentle with her when I gave her a bath. She was probably humiliated that a stranger saw her naked and gave her a bath. Now, no matter how I asked her to bathe, she would say, "Are you kidding?" Every time I take my baths, I show myself to her wrapped in towel saying, "I'm done, you next, okay? I feel so fresh. So should you, too." She would just smile and ward me away. I said, "You should bathe, you already stink and don't smell good." She went ballistics and asked, "Who said that I stink?" I said it's me who said that. She was so upset that she sprayed herself with so much perfume that it gave me a migraine. A fellow caregiver told me to douse her with water so she would bathe, but I was not up to that idea because the old lady might cite elderly abuse. She is sometimes sharp and mentally intact, but at times incoherent and sundowning. For other matters, I have no trouble with her like giving her medications which she takes from no one else except from me or insisting taking the walker with us to trips outside the house. I have no other issues with her, just bathing. Can anyone please tell me what I am supposed to do? I'm distressed.

Maddie
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Buy the no rinse bath cloths you heat in the microwave and tell her to do it herself maybe. I think everything comes with lots of soft convincing talks eventually. Say you smell something and its not you, tell her anything, just get it done. I smelled my Mom in walmart many years ago and I nearly died. Once we got home I asked her to shower with me there, just in case she fell. She showered, I went in a little at a time pretending I needed to get something, and soon she was ok with it. Its so hard and they are so stubborn, good luck.
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What if the parent refuses the caregiver to bathe her?
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Kirissy call your local Senior Services and have them get her admitted for a psych evaluation. If its as bad as it sounds they will have several diagnoses and also copious notes as to her not being capable of ADL's, therefore unfit to be released home to care for herself. Whatever you do will require you to insist you cannot care for her, then she will become the state's problem not yours.
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Forgot to mention I have small children that visit and she won't stop putting her hands on them or in food her nails are very long and won't let me cut them. Her toes were same way now podiatrist takes care of those. She suffers from depression and won't leave the house unless made to go to doctor . Then she goes out looking like a bag lady. She has a closet full of clothes but weres the oldest ones she can find and shoes are a nightmare I have spent hundreds on shoes she won't wear she wears socks 24 7 please anybody anybody what do I do???????
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