What can assisted living do about bathing?

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Mom is in her late 90's, still in independent living, refusing to move, although with her dementia getting worse she doesn't do anything for herself and is often confused, can't remember anything, etc. She has not taken a shower in years and six months ago, stopped washing completely. The soap has been in the dish, dry as a bone for the past 3 months and there are never used towels or washcloths. Obviously she is not even washing her hands with soap, let alone any other part of her body. Of course she lies and says she is bathing. She refuses our help, won't let an aide in the door! Certainly this is detrimental to her health, especially since she abuses laxatives and loses control and wears depends. We have given up, she doesn't cooperate with us at all. If we move her to assisted living will they make her bathe?

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You really need to take the MD to task. Refusing to bathe is a clear sign of dementia and a serious health risk. Screwing up medications is a health risk. Put all of her deficits in writing and send those to the MD. Same with memory loss. Tell him you need an independent evaluation with a neurologist if he doesn't want to be the bad guy. And you tell her to work with the aide or you will take her outside and hose her down. Treat her as you would any five year old who refuses to bathe.
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Not to be gross, but based on what you are describing, I would be shocked if she was not suffering from irritated skin, maybe sores. The elderly are so sensitive, maybe something like that is enough to get her admitted to a hospital, where they would no doubt address any sores adn upon discharge you can force the issue witho a different doctor.
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I wish! We have been trying to get her to move to assisted living for 3 years. She refuses and threatens suicide. We know she needs it, but she is still able to "fool" people into believing she is competent. We told the doctor everything and begged him to indicate on her annual physical form (required each year to remain in independent facility) she couldn't stay and was not competent mentally. The doctor said he couldn't do it - "she has dementia but "isn't there yet" and advised we would have to wait for a crisis to move her. We tried getting an aide for bathing, she refuses to allow anyone in. She won't let us help either. I am all for simply forcing it, but my sister won't go along with it because of the emotional breakdown my mother will definitely have.
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I have found that the terms "independent living", "Assisted living" and "skilled care" differ from region to region. Here in MO "assisted living" is one step below independent living and one step above skilled care (nursing home). If your mom goes into assisted living they don't deal with bathing issues (or other issues that require more hands-on care). She would need to be in a NH for assistance in her activities of daily living.

Independent and assisted living probably have guidelines about private duty care so you might want to check but maybe your mom would benefit from home healthcare aides. People to come into the home and help her with her shower. Since she hasn't bathed in any way in 6 months is alarming and she needs help ASAP.

With the confusion and the lack of bathing you might want to begin to consider a facility that provides more care. It doesn't sound as if she can be 'independent' any longer. And the laxative abuse needs to addressed. Elderly people have a thing about their bowels.
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