My mother is 89, still lives independently and does pretty well. She is not 100% stable on her feet and has now developed a logical fear of getting in the shower. There are appropriate grab bars and no slip strips on the tub surface.
As her son I find myself very uncomfortable assisting with “personal care” issues. Helping her bathe is something I refuse to do, for both of our dignity.
My question is; baring something prohibitive like changing her tub to a walk-in shower, does anyone have a suggestion of what I can to to make her feel more comfortable?

My name is Brandon, I was my mom's primary caregiver for about 5 years. When I made the decision to give her the care and love she deserved instead of placing her in a facility the rules/I wont's changed. Before she needed 24/hr assistance I told her I would never wipe her behind or bathe her. Well I did those things and much more. Mom and I trusted and loved each other more than ever b4. She became my child and to her I was the one person she could trust wholeheartedly. Those were the most incredible 5 years of my life and I wouldn't change them for anything. I miss my mom so much, I still cry daily sometimes all day long. She's the greatest gift god could've given to me and I will be forever grateful for the decision I made to be her primary caregiver. All the things she taught me as a child I was teaching her. If you make the decision to be her caregiver all those fears and awkward moments won't be there for long. Taking care of her hygiene and other daily duties will be 2nd nature.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to BrandonS
Ricky6 Jan 20, 2020
BrandonS, You were and still are a wonderful son.
She might like a transfer bench so that stepping in and out isn't an issue, and perhaps hire someone to come in and help her once a week.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to cwillie

This is what I could find for services in Broward County, which I gather is your local area?

Elder Helpline
Accesses a qualified Information and Referral specialist who can provide information about services available for elders and their caregivers within the local community 

They should be able to advise you on finding support with personal care for your mother.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Countrymouse

I understand you EMFLA as I found my Late Mother petrified of taking a shower, tho She used to take a good long hot bath six nights every week
before bed time. I too felt the same as You as I did not feel it would be fair of me to invade Mom's dignity so I asked a retired Nurse to call for three, four hours one day every week, and She did which worked handsomely. Mother had an en-suite bathroom off Her ground floor bedroom. I fitted a folding shower chair onto the shower wall for Mom, so She could sit while being showered. Hand rails galore, and lots of towels so Your Mom does not slip when coming out of the shower, also place a towel upon the toilet seat so Your Mom can sit while being dried. The refusal of Our Elders not wishing to shower stems from the fear of falling. You are a good Son to Your Dear Mother and We wish the very best for You Both.
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Reply to Johnjoe

Does she have a shower chair to sit on? They don’t have the energy to stand for that long. Get a sturdy seat, preferably with arms. Look on amazon and read reviews or go to a medical supply place and sit it one for yourself if they have a model out. Make sure that you have a removable shower head. Here’s a tip that I learned from my mom. Leave it unhung rather than for her to reach up to remove it off of the thing that the shower head is connected to. Just allow it to hang.

Also, the grab bars are slippery is hands are wet. My mom likes wash dry cloths handy to grab the bar with when exiting the shower.

If that doesn’t work then you may need to call Council on Aging to have an assessment done. They contract out with a caregiver company and will send someone out a couple of times a month for four hour shifts. That is what we had anyway. You could hire someone for the alternate weeks.

They will help bathe, tidy up her room, prepare a light meal, sit with her as a companion to play cards, put a puzzle together, etc.

Best wishes to you and your mom.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

My mom had a shower bench that went over the side of tub. Two legs inside tub (with suction cups on bottom), two legs on floor in room (rubber tips on those). She sat on bench, then moved her legs over the side and scooted over till she was in middle. The trick was to tuck in the shower curtain under her butt to keep water inside the tub. Needed a hand held shower head, too. (Good idea not to hang that up-keep it in reach). A home visit with an occupational or physical therapist may help assess her needs, and show her how to manage it.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to L84dinner

I also suggest having an aide. Our CNA comes twice a week to bathe Mom. She helped Mom with showers until Mom became too weak to stand that long, and we have since transitioned to bed baths.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to PeeWee57

The hospice aide had me put a small heater, blowing on low on the counter in the bathroom. This seemed to soothe Mom, the hum and warm breeze.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Lunalovesru55
cwillie Jan 18, 2020
Yes, a chilly bathroom can be a real turn off, but do make sure you buy a bathroom rated heater and/or have GFI outlets.
My mom was always the most docile person but always VERY modest. Showering was a tough move. What has worked is a shower chair(1/2 in 1/2 out to safely get her in shower) because she is a fall risk.
Due to her modesty (one g for me too) she wears her bra in the shower and swim skirt with the crotch cut out so she can properly clean herself . A nice beach robe with short sleeves follow the shower and all is good. Can easily take off bra and swim skirt and not reveal anything.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Lovepris

Does she have a walk in shower or one that is in a tub that she needs to step into?
If it is a tub then a shower bench or chair will make her feel more stable.
If it is a walk in shower a chair or bench will also work but with the bench there is no back so there is the possibility of leaning so far back that she could go over.
Some benches may have backs that can be put on so look for that as an option.
In the walk in shower my Husband used I bought walkers at the local resale shop and he would stand with his hands on the walk er for more stability. There were grab bars but he did not seem to use them as much until we started using a shower wheelchair. Then he would hold the grab bar and he would use it to hang the washcloth I would give him to use.

A few things about the walk in tubs.
They are expensive going all the way to super expensive.
You have to sit in the tub while it is filling and then sit there until it drains. I am guessing it could take a while to do both so you sit there wet and chilly while it drains.

If you are going to make any change I would make a tub shower into a walk in shower with NO threshold and if you have a walk in shower spend the money to make that one a walk in with no threshold to step over. I think they call them Zero Entry Shower or Curbless Shower. Money well worth spending.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Grandma1954
cherokeewaha Jan 19, 2020
I agree with you on the shower. I have to fight with my husband to get him to bathe. I started marking it on the calendar to I could show him how often he didn't bathe. We have an old, claw foot, 6' long tub with a sloped back. The edge of it hits me several inches above my knees. We had estimates on a walk in shower and was ready to have it fixed when we were told we would have no bathroom facilities for about 2 weeks!!! We only have one bathroom so, this is not good! Does anyone have ideas on getting in and out of an old, tall tub
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