Any suggestions on how to get my 78 year old husband to take a shower? He is diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).

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His condition was diagnosed 2 years ago and he has been steadily withdrawing ever since. He sleeps or sits 24 hours a day. He still feeds himself. He has urinary retention issues but good bowel control as of now. I am worried about UTI because he is not changing his clothes for days....last shower was 5 days ago. We do not have any in home care at this point as he politely asks them to leave after I depart to run errands.

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My dad wears the same clothes and Depends for DAYS at a time. He sleeps in them too. I put a white towel on my car seat (with plastic) and had to “prove” that he was soaking wet and leaking in order to get him to change. I stopped in the middle of a trip to the grocery store, took him straight home, and ordered him into the shower.
we are meeting with a personal care aide this week. I can’t handle the shower war every week!
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Reply to Rattled
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How about starting a basic “wash your face, neck, underarms and bottom with this warm, soapy facecloth” routine at a strategic moment, at the sink in the morning or while he is sitting on the commode?
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Reply to GAinPA
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Try to address the reason he doesn’t shower. I know this is not always easy, but he’s resisting for some reason. The normal routine for most of his life was probably to shower and go to work, so why did he stop?

Is he afraid of falling? -Request a personal aide to help during bath time and get grab bars, etc installed.

Does he forget when he showered last? Keep a calendar and have him mark it.

Does he not not realize he’s dirty? Sense of smell tends to decline... Let him know he has to get cleaned up before going out for an event or dinner, something he’d enjoy.

Maybe call it something other than shower? Make the room warm, candles (fake) and scents... ok, maybe not for a guy, but you get the idea.

My husband has the same problem and we are starting with a personal aide tomorrow. (He was afraid of falling.) Wish us luck!
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Reply to JuliaRose
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I believe there is a lot more to this than refusing care, Cindy KT. I think your husband needs to be reevaluated on his MCI because I'm sure it has progressed more so than mild from 2 years ago. Does he have dementia or other ailments causing distress? Mood swings/ behavioral changes often reflect (eg depression, anxiety, etc.) Hygiene is also another eyebrow lifter of concern and common with Dementia/Alzheimer's- wearing the same outfit every day whether changing out of them or not. It has to do with they are not knowing the difference in change of clothing... they don't realize or remember that they had already worn the outfit. My mother wore the same outfit every day unless I grabbed it to wash at night. She "showered" but with no soap and wasn't able to adjust the temperature and/or didn't realize it was too hot. She would always come out of the shower sweating! It wasn't until I stepped in to bathe her when I noticed how unclean she was. We bought a bidet from Amazon that worked well with mom's neverending UTIs. Very easy to install. We used Depends pullups/underwear. I convinced mom they were more discreet under clothing instead of the incontinence pads. Aligning with a psychiatrist and counselor will help your husband tremendously in the psychological effects of his MCI as well as help you to better help your husband.
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Reply to InnerFlowerChld
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A doctor told me that UTIs are virtually always caused by cross infection from feces – unwiped or ‘wet farts’ (sorry, can’t think of a better expression). That’s why they are usually worse for women – proximity! If you father has good bowel control, UTIs may not be a problem. It may be best to deal with actual issues (smell?) rather than worry about the way you think things ought to be.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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CindyKT Sep 12, 2018
🤣🤣🤣
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Cindy, don't feel bad. My husband is 91 has not showered in months. I do make sure he changes his underwear every day. He refuses take shower. Every time I asked him. He says leave me alone!! He comes up with many excuses or he Will say I took it shower, while you went to work. He also suffers from dementia. It is very hard to adjust all these changes.
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CindyKT Sep 11, 2018
Sure hope he showers sooner than that 😵 We are on day 7 now. I am trying everything suggested and whatever I can think of. Today he yelled at me for the first time saying he has told me he doesn't feel good....logic is useless, any other suggestions out there?
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You are correct in your concerns about UTIs. A nurse told me once that bad hygiene is one of the main reason Seniors contract them. If his cognitive impairment is, as you say, “mild”, perhaps it might be time to visit his doctor. He may be depressed or possibly fearful of falling in the shower. Do you have handicap bars in your shower in addition to a non-slip mat or decals on the floor? Does he sleep in his clothes too, so you couldn’t grab them when he changes for bed?

Seniors don’t need to bathe/shower every day, but 5 days is too long. My husband’s step-grandmother used to promise his grandpa (with dementia) that they would go to his favorite restaurant if he showered.

But do do at least phone his doctor. There may be meds he can take that wouldhelp him reconnect.
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