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Hi Everyone,

Any advice please for urging my mother with dementia to have better hygiene to help her avoid urinary tract infections? She has huge resentment over it when I try to help her through advice or hands on assistance to avoid them. Being unreasonable isn't new for her when it comes to having advice etc... I am just hoping anyone can please have ANY tips on urging her to be more clean or go to the bathroom more etc...?

THANKS SO VERY MUCH FOR YOUR REPLIES.

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A space heater does help and she has a commode that can be placed on the toilet as well... But really I feel she resists washing because of a combination of not wanting to take infections seriously and also because she is annoyed by what she feels is my unwanted presence with her as she washes.... I need to be there for her physical safety due to her balance challenges after her stroke... And since she minimizes infection risks I want to feel better with my own knowing by being there that she is washing well enough to avoid infections too...

THANKS For Answering...
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Oh that is super frustrating...

The only thing that comes to mind would be to warm up the bathroom with a space heater? A small room like that would only need a couple minutes to warm up and that might make it more comfortable for your mom. You could even get one of the ones that has an 'ambient' setting so you wouldn't have to manually turn it on and off each time. 

Basically doing every little thing you can to make using the bathroom more comfortable/safe will increase her willingness to do so. You have grab bars already but maybe a riser might help, some with back pain find a higher toilet seat easier to get down on and up from...however some find it worse. Hit and miss unfortunately, like so many things in these situations. 

As I mentioned before, try reaching out to the urologist in advance of her May appointment and ask them to assess her/bring up the issue of washing. If she isn't taking the UTIs seriously, have the doctor discuss the risk of Sepsis and Septic Shock. You can get that from untreated UTI and it can kill you.
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Actually I believe the cranberry juice is in conflict with her Paxil blood thinner. Also she does have balance challenges with her Cerebellar Stroke last year. There is a bar for her to hold in the bathroom but she still needs a certain amount of spotting to be safe ... a supervision need which she HATES by now. Her out patient therapy for balance and moving IS improving BUT that doesn't change her resistance to doing the suggested hygiene to avoid infections these days.

She has never liked receiving advice she wasn't interested in for whatever reasons that she was disinterested in it....

And since her stroke and the cognitive challenges it has left her with she is even more unreasonable about doing what things may have to be done to assist her health purposes.

THANKS FOR REPLYING.
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oh sorry thanks for the additional info. sorry im not much help. the sitz bath sounds like a very good idea.
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sure is hard I know/understand. Im not quite there with my mom yet. she still seems pretty independent in that dept. BUT I know it will be an issue at some point.

I was trying to think of anything....something to help
would she be interested in cranberry juice?
does she have any balance problems? perhaps having to sit on the toilet and getting back up its hard to clean afterwards? does she have something to hold on to?


would she be willing to have a
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It's not that she doesn't understand the basics of hygiene in general it is more like she doesn't have memory of her recent infections that well and then she is reminded of them and says she recalls some symptoms but she still comes up with reasons to not wash herself and change her underwear at least once a day the way it advises to do to avoid infections .... and she resists going to the bathroom to pee enough to avoid them ... Says she doesn't have to go yet.... even if she maybe could pee if she tried to do so...

She tells me I take the infection concerns too seriously. She doesn't like to take her bottom pants off and wash as well enough and change at times because she says she's cold. Hopefully with warmer weather coming she will get better about that objection to it. She'll say things like "my back hurts" etc.. cause she has back pain at times too and so she isn't into moving around to wash and change .... . I am just don't feel she understands how important it is to avoid infections even if it doesn't seem perfect for her to go and wash and change daily.... We are treating her back pain with a cream that works when you apply it enough but her feeling cold is a REALLY big challenge for her getting naked these days....

This is also complicated by how she has a PAINFUL hemorrhoid with loose stool going on and she HATES that I want to wash her anus to make sure it's clean after she has her bowel movements now too... I understand she wants to manage her own hygiene but I don't feel she recalls the need / cares for the need to prevent infections through more attentive hygiene with the bowel possibly infecting the urine area if she isn't clean enough all around....

We also apply Preparation H creams for her Hemorrhoid and sometimes their liquid brings bowel stains to her underwear which I know isn't good for avoiding infections.

She hasn't agreed to see anyone for her hemorrhoid because she believes she might end up in surgery for them. I feel there are other alternatives like prescription cream that could be tried before surgery.

I have suggested a sitz bath but she has refused so far.

She is seeing a urologist in May. I hope he will prescribe a preventive antibiotic and also talk to her about some hygiene too.

THANKS FOR REPLYING.
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Does the stage of your moms dementia allow her to be reasoned with? If she doesn't understand something as rational as needing to be clean, it might not be something any amount of urging will fix...

I wonder if having her doctor tell her point blank that she needs assistance cleaning herself might help? You might be able to arrange that conversation if you give the doctor a call before hand and explain the situation.

Let the doctor be the bad guy here if you can!
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