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My mother gets very pissed off when ask her when was the last time you showered? Not nice to say this but she stinks. She thinks it is very rude tell someone they smell. I agree, but when you don't have good hygiene in taking care of herself and you feel embarrassed when you are with her in public, what are you suppose to do? She thinks because she doesn't smell it that no one else does. Help!!!

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anything closer than an extended arms length is getting into a persons personal space imo . id warn an elder about washing their private parts to prevent infections but otherwise frequent bathing shouldnt be that big of a deal . my mothers family were raised up a big hill with nothing but a spring for drinking water and not much privacy in the house what with 5 kids . id be surprised if they ever fully bathed in a tub of water . my dads family had 11 kids and never lived in anything more than a 2 room shack . bet they werent squeaky clean at any time either . many europeans often live without even turning the heat on in the winter because of the high cost of heating fuel . bet they dont bathe daily either . if someones body odor offends you , back up out of their personal space .
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Vegaslady, oh dear, guess I've been crazy half of my life :P

Bras are the most uncomfortable contraptions.
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Women who don't wear bras are crazy? Live and learn! Sheeez.
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Refusing to bathe was one of the early signs of my cousin's dementia. I didn't realize it at the time and thought she was being lazy or stubborn. She also didn't want to wear a bra or brush her teeth. I was blunt with her and because I didn't realize she had dementia, I said some very insensitive things. I told her that if she didn't bathe or wear a bra, that people would think she was crazy. She said she didn't care.

I could not force her to bathe, but when she was eventually placed in an Assisted Living facility, she did not resist when they bathed her.

I would look at other areas and see if she is changing with them as well. Like does she change bed linen, keep old food in fridge, etc. Those things could also indicate some cognitive decline that no amount of talk can help.
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Thank you very much for all the answers, but I am not sure any will work for me. I believe that her smell is probably getting weaker. She is 81. Very stubborn and also a hoarder. I am going to be out of town for Thanksgiving and won't be with my parents. She got the call from my sister-in-law to come there for Thanksgiving but the sister-in-law told her she needs to take a shower before coming out. Well that pissed her off and she said she is not going. She made the comment they won't have to smell me now. The sister-in-law told her that she loves her and is worried about her hygiene. She hasn't showered I am sure in well over a month. She figures because she doesn't do anything, which she doesn't, she just watches TV all day, that why should she shower. Well I was there the other night and she was sweating because her sugar was low. I have tried to tell her that because you don't do much for activity that you still can smell. That your body still goes through the proper channels to rid itself of skin cells and that being in the same clothes picks up the body odor, but she doesn't care. She also doesn't do laundry, wearing the same clothes for weeks, meaning also underwear. I have offered to do her and Dad's laundry but she doesn't want the help. I know she is afraid of falling and I get that. I even bought a big box of wet towels like those they have in the hospital to give yourself a hand wash bath, she won't use them either. She is very set in her ways and very, very, very stubborn. She won't listen to any of us. She made a comment to me earlier this year that she would not tell her friend that she smelled even if they had "s---" themselves. I have told her that you would feel so much better after you shower. She also doesn't like the water in her face, I have told her that she doesn't have to put her head under the shower, we can wash your hair in the sink and you can wash your face with a wash cloth. Nope not doing it. She is diabetic, high blood pressure, End Stage Renal Disease (not on dialysis yet) hips replaced. Also because she doesn't feel hungry, she doesn't want to eat or thinks she doesn't need to eat. I have told her you still need eat more than just peanut butter, or toast, or crackers. When she was in the hospital and she had her 3 meals a day, she looked great and had energy. She also had issues while in the hospital and nursing rehab about getting bathed. I have been very stressed over this months back but if she doesn't want to take care of herself, what am I suppose to do? So I have just let her be. I have asked Dad to tell her she needs to clean up but she won't listen to him either. My Dad is going through prostrate cancer, he is doing good, he is getting a shot every six months to help the cancer, but it has traveled to his bones and other areas.
I just feel bad about the whole situation, but what am I suppose to do if she doesn't want to help herself or let others help her. She will get very upset at me for telling her she should shower and take care of herself better because I love her, but she doesn't want to hear that. She then won't talk to me, gives the cold shoulder. I have told her in the past very nicely and told her I don't mean to hurt her feelings but you need to take care of your hygiene and she got pissed at me for that and told me that "she would never had told her mother that she smelled, you just don't do that". I can't win. I just can't keep worrying about her issues because it is effecting my life with my husband.
What I have come to understand is that she was very controlling of me when I was growing up. It was what I can do for her and her not caring what is good for me or makes me happy. I do believe all of her issues started when I got married 25 years ago. Because I wasn't there to take care of things for her anymore, she wasn't going to do it either. We bought a house 5 years ago, because we were renting my grandma's house and wanted to buy it, but she kept saying she wasn't ready to sell it to us. So we found a nice home that we loved and decided to move. We only live about 10 miles from her, but to this day she doesn't understand why we had to move so far away. Why didn't we buy closer to her? She was happy for us a little bit I think, but still mad cause we moved so far away. I told her that we wanted to buy grandmas house but you wouldn't sell it to us, we asked many, many times and you would not let go of it. Physical items are more important to her than family.
Well thank you for your information and I really just also needed to release my feelings. It hurts me very much that she is like this and won't except my help but what do you do?
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and be safe.
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FF I took my mom out today to get a perm and before we left, I powdered her up, put heavily scented lotion on her legs, and some cologne on her neck as well. So she had three conflicting scents going (all pretty strong), but I figured better that than any kind of bad smell, LOL!
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I know that when one gets older that their sense of smell is no longer as keen as it was years ago.... therefore, they don't smell what we smell.

I remember back when I was much younger that older women use to smell like roses... either it was talc or perfume. I don't notice older women aren't using fragrances any more. Wonder if a nice gift of rose talc would help mask the smell and maybe bring on a sense of wanting to feel nicer. Or would all the talc be used in one day and be all over the bathroom?
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P.S. I'd also ask her if she loved someone, would she rather embarrass them by telling them the truth that they smell or let them go out and smell around other people? Would she tell someone she loved that they have toilet paper stuck to their shoe? Or a big piece of spinach in their front teeth? Same thing. It's better for her to suffer the momentary embarrassment of you telling her than to go out and have a bunch of people smell her.
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I think you need to help her with regular showering, if that's feasible. She may be too tired or afraid of falling to do it on her own. You could try to show her that her sniffer (nose) isn't working, but she'll probably argue about that. If you could help her once a week, that should be sufficient, since you're in a colder area. I agree with the "can't take you out" if she smells too badly. How old is your mom and what's her general health condition? Would she let you help her?
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Pink, is your mom's only impairment diabetes? Because this sounds like there might be some cognitive impairment going on. Have you talked to her doctor, if this is a recent change in mental status?

I guess I would tell her that I love her, and only people who really love you will tell you these things. Like when I told my daughter at her bridal gown fitting that the dress needed to be re-altered that, it made her look fat. Nope, I wasn't diplomatic, there wasn't time. And when she threw a fit I said, you have one mom and she is only here to tell you the truth. Do you have that kind of relationship with your mom? Can you shrug your shoulders and say " then I can't take you out"? Sponge baths are fine if she's scared of falling.
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