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My wife and I have been caring for my 82 yr old mother for the better part of 5 yrs. She is physically able to do most everything for her self but she won't do anything... Bathing has been an issue since before my wife and I took over the care giving..She would say "I can't smell me" or "I don't stink" or "at my age, who the h*** cares".. even if she goes to the bathroom on herself.. she will just lay there.. She is making herself bedridden..most of the time, if we ask her to get up and go to the bathroom, she will just look at you and not say anything... Eating has become an issue as of late...she will chew but not swallow (sometimes, she will fake swallow) or she will get up and flush her food down the toilet.. this lasts for 3 or 4 days then she will eat a couple of days.. She likes eating from a baby bottle.. We have a respite care giver come in a few times a week, which worked for a couple of weeks, but now that my mother knows the care giver and refuses to do anything.. again... If a new person comes, my mother is all happy to do what she needs to do..like go to the bathroom and shower.... We are not the "put her in a rest home" type... It is our responsibility to take care of her.. but it is real difficult to care for someone who does not care about them self.

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OhJude: No need for me to buy a different shower seat. Mother has departed. The town's senior center is using it (or not! ). I know what you mean about the childlike behavior! Just about drove me 'round the bend! Nuts..
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Llama you can buy showerseat commodes which would solve that problem hun and there comes a point when laughing is the only thing you can do short of losing your marbles. Weirdly enough I cope really well with all the big things b ut if you really want to see me lose my cool drop round when its meal time. Constant battle. Mum gets rage, I get furious and we end up not speaking most days over her eating her dessert and leaving her lunch. Don't let her have dessert till she has finished the mains course I hear you say. I don't....then when I empty the bins I find she has put half her main into the bin and hidden it under tissues - I tell you she may have, well does have dementia, but they can still bloody outwit us
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Time to cut a hole in that shower seat. :-)) WE DO NEED AN EDIT BUTTON, webmaster.
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Jude: Your river runs through it had me laughing. I'm sure laughing was the last thing on your mind that day.
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OhJude: Oh my! You certainly had a time of it! What was her mindset (or not) in removing her seatbelt? Glad your auto didn't get pooped up, but that must have BEEN SUCH AN UNPLEASANT TASK!
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Sorry about all the spelling mistakes WE NEED AN EDIT BUTTON
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Llama luckily when we go out I make Mum wear not just depends panties but also an incredibly huge padded pad inside them - she hates it but let me tell you it was a god send that day. Not only did she poop but we were miles from home late afternoon just as home time traffic builds on a warm sunny day. Moreover what I didn't realise is that she had taken her seat belt off. On the way home she said I am seeing now (peeing) oh deep joy and a river runs through it sprang to mind!. Then when I had to do an emergency stop for a car whose driver was on his mobile phone (don't start me on that one) she started to go forward at an alarming rate. Of course I swung my arm out to stop her at which point she was flung BACK into her seat at an equally alarming rate. now this wasn't a nearly through the window moment but it was enough for me to actually hear the splurge of her bottom sit down hard on the already wet and soiled pad.

So no mess in the car as far as the upholstery went but kings from waist to waist she was covered in ....well I am sure you get the picture. I now have plastic covers on the seats JUST IN CASE
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OhJude: IKR! (I know, right). Mom even used her shower seat as a toilet and did not even know it! How did you ever get the stench out of your auto?
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As a nurse, I had a woman in her 40's hospitalized for an extreme adrenaline disorder. She could not get herself to care if she died. Just lay in the bed, wanted nothing, did nothing, peed on herself. Although she as embarrassed, she said she'd rather sit in it than let us help her get cleaned up. It took a few days of IV hormone therapy to see some results. When she was able to get her hormones orally, she was sent home. She became more active and cared about what happened to her. Maybe a blood test is in order to make sure there is no imbalance?
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Llama I agree with you my Mum has virtually no sense of smell at all now. So it is now me who deals with it. She actually popped herself at one point in my car on a warm sunny day and said it is just as well it doesn't smell - (yeah of course it doesn't - gag gag)

I don't ask my mum I tell her I am going to shower her. She rarely puts a barrier u against it. Not the same with feeding she is too lazy to put the food in her mouth and won't let me feed her (I also don't want to start that until it is essential) I say feeding but I mean main meals she will eat junk till it comes out of her ears! Go with the flow where you can and if you have to have battles pick them well or you will end up like me - bloody frustrated - you will anyway but more quickly if you don't step wisely
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The original poster wrote, "We are not the "put her in a rest home" type..." but it really can get to the point where it is not about you, as the caregiver - sometimes everyone and especially the caregivee is better off in a facility. You can't necessarily tell how much is depression or fatigue, and how much is dementia, but just labeling it "I don't care" may not be altogether right. Sometimes the "I don't care" is a mask for the fact that they really can't pull together all the steps of doing a task anymore and if someone else steps them through one bit at a time it will still be doable. Sometimes you fall into the trap of asking if they "want" to do something necessary instead of saying "it is time for" and giving smaller choices but not the choice to avoid altogether...other times they really are going to refuse no matter what and that can be a bad situation, where it's true you may actually do better than a facility because they more or less have to let people refuse care. On the other hand, if they refuse critically necessary care like turning in bed and get pressure sores or starve themselves, you can get in trouble for neglect. Realize too that if there is significant dementia, even if memory and superficial conversation seems relatively OK, empathy or taking other people's point of view is a higher level skill that is lost first, so they really can't appreciate the reason for doing anything hard or unpleasant if they don't really feel like it at the moment. Most people don't smell an odor that is always around them, and it would not be surprising at all that they don't believe you when you tell them there is one. Spraying won't work as well as cleaning - maybe use some Nature's Miracle or something enzymatic - if they really won't let you or a hired housekeeper do anything, one of the options is to call Adult Protective Services and explain there are two adults unable to care for themsevles.
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Is it possible that he, too,.has lost the olfactory sense?
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Oh and as much as I rag on my brother to "please take a bath/shower daily", I might as well be talking Swahili. It's the total passive-aggressive thing in him. He's been brow beat and bullied by my parents all his life, that now that she's so frail and elderly (my Dad passed 8 years ago), she's stopped yelling at him so he now doesn't do ANYTHING he doesn't HAVE to do. So my pleading and begging to "please take a shower. You smell." gets no reaction at all.

His uncooperation is just a manifestation of his being told what to do all his life. Now that our father's dead and our mother has regressed to a 5 year old, my brother has turned the tide on her. He now is frustrated at her physical/mental limitations but refuses to really do anything about it and is totally uncooperative. Again, he just does the minimal required interaction with our Mom that he can get away with. It's pitiful really. I feel bad for her, hence why I go over there and try to make her day to day life a little more enjoyable, because, good God, I would never want to live like that. Other than cognitive dementia and weak muscles/frail, she is basically healthy (heart, lungs, etc.). Sigh.....
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There are so many good comments/suggestions on this forum -- exactly why I come here day after day. The support is so comforting and ongoing.

That said, my Mom is 86 but has really cognitively regressed to a 5 year old sometimes, but then seemingly "okay" at other times. That's what someone posted here before. Some days are up and some are down. My 65-year old brother lives with her (always been a mama's boy but also was the object of my Mom's controlling personality from the time he was born). Although not the ideal situation, having my passive-aggressive brother living there does take some of the pressure off of me.

Unfortunately, they too do not take daily baths/showers. She was born during the depression and he was brought up during the 50's. Baths/showers were not a daily thing back then. You're lucky people took a bath once a week -- showers were non-existent in homes basically -- everyone had bath tubs. My Mom gets up everyday and washes herself the best she can with a wash cloth and soap. My brother, nothing. Not only do they smell, the WHOLE HOUSE smells. And they have a cat, too. It is horrible and embarrassing to anyone stepping foot in that house. I have taken to bringing over a dozen cans of Glade linen air freshener spray and leaving them all around the house. As soon as I walk in the door, I'm walking all over spraying, spraying, spraying. When my Mom finally passes and we move my brother to a senior apt., the house will have to be fumigated before being sold.

I know I need to get over there more often and help Mom into the shower but it's an exhausting process. Showering her is at least a 3 hour ordeal because she can barely move or lift her legs to get into the shower and sit onto the shower chair. Getting an aide in to help do this? No way -- she won't allow strangers in. Once done though, SHE smells like a daisy but, again, my brother and the rest of the house reeks. I gag every time I'm over there.

I am also not a "put her in a rest home" type and try my best to make her happy and keep her from falling. I have gotten her at home physical therapy but as soon as the PT person leaves, she doesn't do her exercises and just sits there. I've asked my brother to "remind" her to do them but again, he's passive aggressive and when I'm not there, he just leaves her be to sit there on the couch all day. I'm frustrated beyond belief.

I am constantly struggling with my own anxiety and depression and feeling like nothing I do is making any difference. It's horrible. I know I should be happy that I'm doing SOMETHING GOOD that seems to make a difference in keeping her in her home and independent, but I still feel terrible. That's the depression in me. I know I have to keep working on making MYSELF feel better because my health and happiness at this point does not matter to my Mom (she just is getting cognitively worse by the day so she's just not getting it) and my brother who just does what he does to get by everyday and avoid any meaningful interaction with our Mom. It's a daily grind mentally and I've just learned I've got to forge ahead or I'll end up in a mental institution myself. It is what it is.

I am no health care worker or psychiatrist, but your Mom could indeed be depressed, but medication for this may or may not make her more cooperative. Dealing with depression and it's accompanying medication in a "regular" person is difficult, but for an 82-year old with possible dementia/depression, the odds of her cooperating at this juncture is spotty at best. Again, there is no "reasoning" with the elderly with dementia. So ultimatums are meaningless. You need to take charge in your own mind and calmly tell her that if she refuses to bathe, eat, etc., "xxx" will happen and then follow through on it. It's tough love really.

Taking care of elderly parents is not for the faint of heart. You either decide to do it all in or make the decision to get help, whether from outside aides coming in or exploring a NH or other living situation. I personally cannot put my Mom in a nursing home, she will not leave her home and she refuses outside help/aides, so I've made the decision for myself to chug along and do what I can. I'm waiting for "the call" that she has fallen and will be hospitalized for a broken hip or worse. Then I'll go from there. I need to mentally "step back" from my Mom/Brother or I will surely go over the edge. My husband is very supportive and my sounding board. I thank God for him EVERY DAY.
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The elderly have lost interest in things they used to love. And who can blame them really-they've lost their vision, sense of smell and hearing.My mom pooped it up all the time and the bathroom couldn't be used without a complete wipeout. So gross!
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My 11 yr. experience now with my now 84 yo. Mother. Brought her here. Me or assisted living, even after much fussing about not leaving her home, or moving out of state with me. But between 2 choices, she chose me. Diagnosed AD over 13 yrs. now. Did much better here with diet, supplements. Good care. But I have said all along there may be a point I can not do it. My health is not the greatest. Have no children to care for me.
So I have reminded Mother all along she must stay active, to stay here. I can not lift her. Lots of challenges. Sometimes, you have to use different tactics, or think how to direct or redirect them.
I have given her lots of care, and concern, but I can not break down my own health.
She does attend adult day care, she is on Medicaid. That gives me a wonderful break. And she loves it and the activities. Gives her something she has come to love, and extra friends.
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I know a very wise woman who says sometimes the elderly regress into past negative behaviours, which they may have grow through over their life. My mother is doing this...abusive when I was a child (very)...learned to do better over the years, and I love her to death...but that loss of function, energy that just comes when you are 90 means she cannot gate keep her negative impulses very well...and she grew up in a time when there wasn't help for people psychologically so no deep healing has really taken place over the years. It's very tough to see and to say good bye after the things that have been said an done this past year grieves me deeply...I hope I will remember the good times...I think i will....it seems to be fairly common in the elderly....very difficult....allow yourself to get help with your mom. I can tell you love her.
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If not Dementia maybe you should threaten that if she doesn't start doing for herself she won't be allowed to stay with you. You are really no longer her child she is and your the adult. You need to be firm and tell her you can't except her behavior. Yes, you understand she has lost some of her freedom but she is lucky you allowed her to be with you.
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It sounds to me like she probably lacks motivation. It may also be that she's probably feeling lonely. If you know the term long Lanae crowd, you'll know what I mean especially if you've ever experience it for yourself. I also see what happens to be a pattern. It seems like when she gets to know someone who's caring for her, she stops complying with them then stops doing her part to care for herself. You may have to get to the point of stepping back and not catering to her. I knew someone much like this who expected people to wait on him hand and foot when he was well able to care for himself. It seems like I was used by the person to do for him what others wouldn't. What I experienced and have observed is that he turned against people when they could not or would not cater to him such as taking him somewhere. This is when he would turn against someone he would otherwise like. I know that when you step back and stop catering to someone that they can become very angry at you when you stand your ground and not give in. Sometimes someone that you're helping to care for may expect you to jump on demand and require you to drop everything just to do something they want when they want, even if you're not in a position to be able to do it such as illness or injury. What they fail to understand is that we are human and not robots. One time I hit a situation where I had to take care of a medical need. I was taking care of my own need when this person I was helping demanded that I get up from bed and do something he wanted even though it was clearly bad timing for me. I did not jump on demand, I took care of myself and stayed down until I felt well enough to get up. There comes a time when you must step back and let the inevitable happen when all else fails. Age doesn't matter when someone can physically take care of themselves but won't. Sometimes you had to step back and wash your hands of the situation like I had to. Remember that the person is definitely an adult, but when someone's elderly may have to involve APS.
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Have Dementia/Alzheimers you expect a person not to rememberhow to do.
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She is depressed as well as probably other neurological problems.

BE GOOD TO YOUR SELF & BLESS YOU BOTH FOR CARING FOR HER....
Merry Christmas!
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Behavior variability is common in dementia One dy they can do things, another day they can't. I know it seems like the are refusing, but they are not. Their reasoning ability is going, if not gone. They respond to a shower as an 8 year old boy. Sometimes they are afraid of all that water.
It is als true that novel figures, grandchildren from far away, new visitors can get a person with dementia to "rouse" themselves for a lmited amount of time. That's why when relatives come for the holidays, the person looks much healthier to them, than she does to you, who are with her every day/
SO
1. do not fight with her. When she smells, calmly lead her by the hand into the bathroom and wash her. As hr if she would prefer to wash up in the shower. If she agrees, fine, if not, just wash her.
Place food in front of her at mealtimes. If you see she is not eating after 20 minutes, remove the food. She may eat the next meal --or not.You may give her kid food that she can eat with her hands and is easy to chew--chicken nuggets, french fries. Place her dessert on the table at the same time. She may eat her ice cream first. That's fine too. You are not making her well or healthy, you are making her and yourselves comfortable.
Calm down, reduce your stress, reduce your expectations of her cooperation to zero. Do for her, love her and realize she has dementia and she is failing. She needs your love and support, but not your criticism or orders.
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My Mom was acting like that, but does not have dementia. She was just uncaring about doing anything at all and would not eat. We finally found out that she was severely anemic. This may not be the case with your mom, but it is worth checking out. After a few days of iron and eating red meat she was markedly more alert and back to her old self. She just turned 85 and is doing very well now.
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It's time for Mom to go into care. You are ruining your lives and hers. It takes a staff to care for someone in your Mom's condition. Don't let your good intentions pass for foolhardiness. This is beyond your abilities. It's beyond any child's abilities.
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I know it is overwhelming to get so much advice! You may want to try and find a private area and just go through the comments and jot down the suggestions --put check marks next to the ones that are repeated. Then take a deep breath and look them over with your husband and make a plan. What do you want to try first?? Keep in mind that plans are like experiments - you try something, see what happens, tweak it or change it up--and then try again.... If the issues are still not solved after spending some more time experimenting it is OK to move her into a nursing home. She might simply need more care then you can provide. It has nothing to do with loving her or not loving her and it is not about being selfish. It is as simple as that - you are not trained to provide such care and having an emotional attachment to her behavior can actually make it worse for her. So keep trying but give yourself a break if you cannot find a solution!!!!
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yes, sounds like some depression and not bathing, well that can be a health hazard. IF she does NOT have dementia, you might want to kindly tell her that IF anyone knows that she is not bathing to keep the smell down that you might be reported and she will be removed from the home for protection. maybe if she feels that she will now not get away with stuff in another environment she might not fight the bath thing so much. But IF she DOES have dementia.........good luck and try other suggestions in this site.
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She does sound depressed which comes when the brain does make connections with the neurotransmitters. Ask her doctor for an antidepressant and see if she improves. Because antidepressants are not all alike, it may take several times (or more) to get the right combination that will benefit her. Best wishes!
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Or it could be just her personality. My mother doesn't care about anything and shes only 74 and pretty healthy for her age. She just doesn't care about anything. She doesn't care about ANYBODY( but herself and her medications). And its Maddening to say the least. she doesn't bathe she doesn't clean her area she complains that just bending over exhausts her in fact I think she complains about everything and everybody. Taking care of somebody who doesn't care about you at all is Horrible, I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.
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I'm sorry your right I shouldn't have posted. I thought this was I had read dementia somewhere, my mistake.
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Yes, in the original post there was no mention of dementia so knowing that would go a long way to giving proper comments. Getting a diagnosis of dementia or depression or a combo of each would really help you decide on your next step. The fact that she likes to use a baby bottle and needs to be changed and washed shows that she is regressing and I doubt she is doing this on purpose. Resisting could be partially an attention getting device. The day care idea sounds great if you could get her there...that would be a reason to shower and it might lift the depression.
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