My elderly father (nearly 83) lives with my family. He has his own room and private bath on the first floor. He has had some health challenges the last few years but, for the most part, is in very good shape. He still drives, exercises almost daily and while he has slowed down mentally, does OK overall.
He is a generally very tidy person (e.g. his car, room and clothes are always in order), but his personal hygiene is generally disgusting. He uses the bathroom and doesn't wash his hands, spills food in his room, and has used a hospital urinal to relieve himself because he doesn't feel like putting on his bathrobe to go to the bathroom sometimes. As far as we know, he has always been this way but has only really come to our attention since we invited him to move into our home two years ago.
Here's what I have spoken to him about and how:
1. "Dad, I noticed you didn't wash your hands before dinner. You need to wash your hands every time you go to the bathroom." (One of my children is OCD, and we had to buy him his own mini-fridge for his room because he refuses to touch the refrigerator his grandfather uses). I have reminded Dad of this WHILE HE IS IN THE BATHROOM and he will turn the water on and off quickly and then says, "I washed my hands!"
2. I removed the hospital urinal and threw it away. I reminded him that he is no longer in a rehabilitation facility (where he was a year ago following surgery) and that he is to get up and go to the bathroom like everyone else. Not long after, we caught him peeing into a drinking glass. I had a calm, eye-to-eye conversation with him that if continued this practice, he would have to go live somewhere else. That seemed to stop the practice but now I am constantly cleaning his room because it smells like urine.
3. I have required him to eat outside of his room. He is one of those people who has to be watching television or reading something at all times, and there is no television in our dining room. Face to face conversation is very difficult for him unless you're willing to only talk about things that happened to him 50 years ago.
Like a trusted family member has accurately observed, Dad thrives on pity and he's only happy when he's being waited on hand and foot. I manage that aspect of his care as best I can, but the general uncleanliness is getting difficult. Like I said, I have been firm with him but typically he goes off to his room and stops speaking to me for a while.
He had previously lived alone for many years after my mother's death, with the same habits -- food-spilling, no hand washing, nasty bathroom habits. But I suppose I never really paid attention to it directly until I had to live with him. I have spoken to several doctors about his habits and had him checked for dementia. They have all said he has no physical or mental limitations other than just those normal for a man his age.
My question is this: Do I remain firm with him and just ignore the guilt and the sulking?