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I really cannot get her to change her clothes or shower and it's really concerns me. I have been with her about a month know and every Time I mention it she gets really up set. I have tried to get her by saying u get dressed we can go out for a little bite any where u want to go and s he has not been out of the house in like 3 to 4 weeks ..What do I do know ??

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I have to admit this is a problem I know first-hand. I have some form of dementia but I also have fibromyalgia and the idea of showering or bathing is scary! If I get cold EVERYTHING HURTS...so I make sure the bathroom is really warm and that the water is really warm and this makes it way easier for me....so I do keep clean and bathe regularly. I think many of our loved ones with severe dementia or Alz. can be helped by keeping everything nice and warm! Blessings, Lindaz
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I know how hard this is fa daughter whose mother has mobility issues and an extreme, almost Biblical modesty (think Noah cursing his grandchild because the child's father looked at naked after too much wine, never understood why he did that, maybe Noah had a hangover? think months on a boat with your family & a bunch of animals, you finally find dry land, plant a vineyard, have grapes to harvest & press, I'd get tipsy on a jug, these days I'd be tipsy on one glass. No disrespect for Noah meant, I'm just saying,,,) Mom can still quote those verses but she has mobility issues so her showers take more time & effort than I feel I have. There are times when I sound like I have dementia and I barely have time for a quick shower, so I may not have BO but I have not shaved my legs in 2 weeks. So I long for a long hot shower or to just soak in a bubble bath, add a glass of wine too, oh yes please, lol, I'd probably fall asleep
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Singing during routine activities can also ease the stress. Singing a bath song, every time you wash up can bring back childhood memories. Rubber Ducky, Splish Splash I was taking a bath, are catchy tunes. You can apply songs to other activities as well, if she is signing along or humming along or even nodding her head you may not encounter as much resistance. Teepa Snow teaches a hand holding technique that is very calming. People can lose the understanding of the steps required to do an activity. Instead up knowing that you take your clothes off to wash, they just know someone is taking off their clothes. Try to do only one part of the body at a time like we used to do with newborns. Start at the top with face and hair. then do the middle portion leaving the lower half dressed. When you are done dress the upper part of the body and then move on to the lower. If the old clothes get wet it's a good reason to put them in the wash and get clean clothes out!
Good Luck
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Well I don't think it is fire, but it can sure feel like ICE. I am 64. I do preheat the bathroom to 85F++ (30C), Run straight hot water to steam things up, run hot water on the shower chair to warm that up. Wish I had a towel warmer, too.
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People with dementia fear running water and think it is fire (according to research done at ASU). So get some wash cloths or disposable wipes and let her do it herself. While she is doing that, you can change her clothing. Also, don't worry about taking her outside for outings for people with dementia feel "safe" where they know their environment. People rushing around in a store are very frightening to people with dementia (as I found out with my husband). If you are there to help, then allow her to do what she wants. Ask her what she wants to do. If she says nothing, then sit quietly, do a puzzle or better yet, color. There are marvelous coloring books for adults these days!
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Elders get so cold when they undress for a bath so maybe you can get a small bathroom heater and turn it on about 30 min. before bath time so it will be nice and warm in there. get some imitation candles so there won't be any accidents of knocking one over and they have some pretty colors which change color if you like. The bubble bath soak will clean her for the most part and give her a washcloth to wash her private area by herself and sit on the side of the tub talking about old times or about some experiences she had that was funny when she was younger if you can. Make it where she thinks she's bathing without anyone seeing her nude. Sometimes, elders don't want other people to see the wrinkles and if they have flab, they're embarrassed about it so cover them up. Even to the point of covering her in the tub with a lightweight towel. She will appreciate it. Both of you will enjoy the closeness of the times and always keep it at the same time each day or night so she will be expecting it. There are many good ideas here to help so hopefully it will go easier for you after reading all these ideas. Having a shower or tub chair will help too. Washing her hair will be a job unless she is willing to go to a salon for a shampoo and cut. Most women still want to look nice! Good luck .
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Robin: Yep, good idea! My mom would get back into pooped up pants until I put a halt to that!
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One thing that has helped with my mom (who has the same issue) is saying, "Mom, it's shower time. WE both need showers today. Do you want me to go first, or do you want to go first so I don't use up all the hot water?!" Mom pretty much always opts for an immediate shower so she'll have enough hot water! Then I sneak in and replace the dirty clothes that she wants to get back into, with clean clothes. It usually works pretty well. Good luck! This is not an easy time...
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If you can't get her in the shower, a sponge bath would be better than nothing. Put some Vicks under your nose if you're the one having to do it so you can stand her stench, assuming it's been a while since she's bathed. Get a large basin and fill it with warm, soapy water. Get her to lie in bed and move her to get her back and rear clean. Promise her an ice cream, whatever to get the job done.
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I heard not to turn water on high as skin can be sensitive.
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Mar126, thanks for the Readibath tip. My 95 year old mother has had hygiene issues for several years now. As her dementia progresses she becomes more stubborn, but she is not far enough gone to be open to anyone assisting her with bathing. She still thinks of herself as a perfectly capable, rational, independent person. She will claim that she showered, but often the shower and towels will be miraculously dry. Then she gets upset because I don't believe her when she says she bathed. Even when she does get in and run the water I can't be sure that she actually washed the critical areas.

Afterwards she climbs into the same dirty clothes unless I can sneak them into the laundry while her back is turned. Mind you, she has two closets filled to the brim with nice outfits but insists upon that one pair of smelly slacks with the stains on them. She doesn't understand why they need to be washed. I distract her by showing her how pretty this blouse looks with these pants, and soon she forgets about the purloined garments, which I toss in the trash if they are too stained, and never mention them again. Soon out of sight and mind.

I did the same with a heavy old beat-up purse that was not good for her back. It was filled with used tissues and enough tubes of lipstick to rival a Revlon cosmetic counter. I bought a purse that looked similar but was slightly smaller and much lighter. her first reaction was "This isn't my purse!" After several assurances that it was and showing her all her (much trimmed down) stuff inside, eventually she accepted that it was indeed her purse.
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My dad, with pretty bad dementia, would not shower for weeks at a time, and would always tell me he had just showered, even though the shower and towels were dry, and he smelled terrible with his urinary incontinence and refusal to wear Depends. He lived alone but had visits from his kids twice a day, for meds and meals. Poor thing just did not realize how bad it was, and as his daughter, I was NOT going to be the one to help him in the shower (nor would he allow it). He WAS capable, and had shower bench and all he needed, just had no inclination to get in there. (I hear that some dementia patients begin to fear the falling water.) But when a woman (who was not his daughter) was coming to visit, he was sure to get in there and get cleaned up and fresh and shaved! Maybe your mother would clean up if there were a charming man expected to visit? Someone who would stay ten minutes and smile at her and hold her hand?
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Although my mom had willing aides, she would only allow me to shower her. I was honored to provide that to her (she would still only want it once a week) and i would talk to her the whole time about everything but the actual Task at hand so she wouldn't be embarrassed or humiliated by focusing on the fact that the daughter was now bathing the parent. It was important as it gave me an opportunity to observe her body for marks, sores, etc. I guess the point is we gotta do what we gotta do but they don't have to be as aware of it. Another tactic is to focus on health, that bathing is a necessity for good health, not only smelling good. Perhaps your lady week respond to wanting to avoid health issues? I hope so. Best to you
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As a Home Instead Caregiver, I had one lovely lady who refused showers as well. I solved this problem using music! I would ask her what she'd like to hear...could be anything from Tony Bennett to the musical Oklahoma.I used Youtube on my cell phone and the music helped her to undress and shower. The music broke her stubborn attitude and showering became pure joy. She even sang along!
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Thanks Ladylee. And that reminds me of another. I bought a baby wipe warmer for when my mom cleans up with either baby wipes or feminine cleansing cloths. She doesn't like it when they're cold. I would also recommend changing her socks every day and keeping an eye on her feet. Also, moisturize whatever she will let you with a gentle lotion, like Aveeno or Vaseline Intensive care. If brushing is an issue, perhaps she'd be willing to open her mouth so you can floss her teeth. You can ask your dentist for a prescription for Peridex, which is an antibacterial mouth rinse. Have her rinse at night before bed. If you can't get the script for peridex, you can buy periogen from periogen.com which is excellent. It's a powder you can mix with water to make a toothpaste, or you can dissolve in water to make a great antibacterial rinse. I also you the Readybath brand cap to wash her hair without water. It's excellent, like magic. Gets rid of dirt, sweat, smells. God bless you for what you do for your mother. And good luck.
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If you or your mother has the means, see if an aide or an occupational therapist can help you out. I don't know if she has any kind of other health issues. My grandmother has kidney disease and refuses to bathe for weeks at a time. But when she had a knee replacement done, the nurses wouldn't let her go for more than three days time. One nurse somewhat put the fear of God in her and said that if she gets sick, she will most likely end up in a nursing home.
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Christine73, Great Tips!
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I have the same issue with my mom. I can't help with that, but I can help with some alternatives in the meantime. I heat water in a kettle and put it in a basin. I wet a washcloth (warm ,not hot) and spray perineal (sp?) cleaner on it. she is willing to wipe her own private parts and rear end with it. I supervise. I do find that cleaning one body part at a time helps. Like, one day we'll do torso, etc. My mom enjoys soaking her feet in warm, soapy water, so we do that. I also give her AZO cranberry pills to prevent UTI since cleanliness is an issue. HIghly recommended.
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If all else fails, try using medline readybath wipes as an alternative to a shower. There are instructions on the package for a complete 'bath'. You can order them on amazon and cost about $35 for a case of 30 packages; there are two versions, 'select' and 'luxe'. They are the only wipes I've found to eliminate urine odor and underarm odor from the skin.
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When I had to help my mom shower she really disliked how cold she would be after the shower. Luckily the clothes dryer was very close to her bathroom and having really warm towels to wrap her in helped a lot. I agree that getting a helper and starting by explaining in detail helps them understand.
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There are some strategies that work in some situations. I have heard of a technique where you only wash one part of the body at a time. Face and hands
next day, face, hands and arms, next day feet and lower legs. this technique takes the getting naked part of showering/bathing out of the mix. Once you have a routine down and have taken the conflict level down it is easier to add more parts to the routine. Many times being cold is part of the problem. Incorporating loving care into the process helps with relaxing. For instance starting with " let me trim that hangnail", adding " oh let me put some lotion on your hands". Transitioning to adding a warm soapy washcloth to wash before lotion isn't as scary.
Good luck!
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I draw a nice warm bubble bath with fragrants to attract my mom...Then when she needs to go to the bathroom anyway...she looks over, sees ,smells, etc....I then guide her to sit on the side of the tub, then lower her in...She is then covered by the bubbles so she can relax & enjoy the scents, etc. It becomes an nice time to fill some time. Singing, ringing out the wash cloth...my mom has late stage dementia so it is quite a blessing.
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We had the same problem with my Mom. We did put clean clothes out for each day. She is now further along with dementia and she would let us help with sponge baths. We also have a chair for the shower and a hand held hose. I gave her the choice of sponge bath or shower at first. Now she gets in the shower and I tell her step by step what we are going to do so there are no surprises. Best wishes to you, it is not an easy situation.
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Sometimes a family member assisting helps with compliance. It also may depend on where she is in the dementia process (and kind of dementia) if that is a factor. The Teepa Snow videos are good and will help with far more than just showering. If you are going to assist someone with dementia then watching all of her training material and subscribing to her newsletter is a great way to become more prepared.
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Get a shower chair and watch her and help her so she doesn't slip. Put clean clothes out for her. She might not like the intrusion, but hopefully she will go along and not fight you.
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Go to youtube and watch the videos by Teepa Snow. Very good training.
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