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He is 80 and has had COPD for about 20 years. I came to live with him in 2012 and he has not bathed once. Can't get him to do more than a sink bath once a week. He smells, all the furniture in the house has had to be replaced because of the oily stains and the new stuff covered with blankets so he doesn't ruin it. I offered to get him a shower chair and a back brush and he said he would do it, but still hasn't. I am at my wits end. I understand him not being able to breathe though, I've tried putting fans in there to vent out the steam, but he still won't do it. Help?

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It is a good idea to keep the bathroom door open amd the exhaust fan on to keep the air cool. This will help with the COPD.
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You might consider talking to his doctor about his mental health. He may have undiagnosed depression. Sometimes, when people have a chronic illness, it wears them down mentally as well as physically. If there was some way he could agree to using the oxygen just part time, he may find that he really feels better with it. Could your children help you out in that area? I'm not sure of their ages, but if they ask Grandpa to take his medicine or use oxygen, maybe he would.

As far as the bathing goes, could he get in and out of the tub and just take a bubble bath or something? Rather than a shower I mean. Does he have a long time friend who could, man to man, tell him that he needs to bathe?

I think your husband would not be the right person for this job, since they do not get along already.

If there is a window in the bathroom, maybe you could crack it just a little bit to ventilate the steam.
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He refuses to go on oxygen, so that's also not really helping. I buy food for the house, but he prefers to buy his own breakfast, lunch and snacks. I talked to his doctor and was told his vit. D and iron levels were low, so I got him some vitamins, and am trying to get him to eat healthier.

And I'll have to get a hand held shower, I've been meaning to anyway.

Thank you both.
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He can get by without a shower or full bath if he uses something to remove the oils and odors. Walgreen's sells a No Rinse product that can be used for skin and hair - just work it in well, then towel dry the skin and hair. No rising is necessary, no plumes of steam generate from a shower head.

If he uses it often enough, he can remain odor free. It's a product that's used in some hospitals in my area.

I assume he uses oxygen 24/7? If he does, I can understand the discomfort from bathing in a room in which humidity is raised by water. From experience, fans don't really remove the humidity- they just move it around. A dehumidifier might work better, but I tried one in a small environment and it just made the room hotter because there wasn't enough air to ventilate the heat from the machine.

I do have a small portable dehumidifier that I use occasionally. I'm not convinced it's really worth what I paid for it, however.

Some foods can aggravate respiratory conditions, especially in hot weather. I've found that foods high in processed ingredients, especially sugar, can cause nasal congestion and make breathing harder. Chocolate in winter can be great, but in summer it oftens forces me to get out a nasal spray. Perhaps you can alter his diet to decrease the processed foods; I have a suspicion he's not eating well either.

I'm wondering though if there's something else going on with his refusal and apparent loss of interest in personal hygiene. Does he have other medical issues? Do you have the sense that he "just doesn't care any more?"

I think you would be justified in finding other living arrangements, because I suspect the situation isn't going to get any better, and the odors could be affecting your physical health - they likely will affect your mental health too.

There's a limit to how much a son or daughter can tolerate when the parent isn't cooperating.
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Maybe he could breathe better if the water was not so warm and not in his face. One of the reasons I don't like showers is I feel like I'm being waterboarded with the water running in my face, and I don't have COPD. Someone with COPD may find it very unpleasant. Do you have a hand-held shower head? That would let him shower without getting the water in his face.

My father didn't like to bathe. Before I got here, he would go months without bathing. It was not healthy. The skin on men's private parts needs a good cleaning frequently to keep it healthy. We didn't give my father an option about bathing. We told him it was time to bathe and got things ready for him. Once or twice a week is good if he does a sink bath on other days. My father always felt better after he bathed, but it never made him dread it less.
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