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M, I had the same problem with my mom, dont know if it was to the extent of wanting not to live anymore, but that happened to me.....I got her immediately into a community center locally cause it seemed to me to stem from depression, a nuerologist too execellent idea, I dont know if this is possible for u, but I sat down with my mom and discussed it with her! I told her that it was a really bad sign when we start to fail to take care of our hygiene, that it should come as second nature,blah blah, and from then on in even if I had to shower with her thats what I did! WE MADE IT FUN!
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I have a "nice" pail of hot water and perhaps a dozen washclothes. If mom helps with some, and I do her back or harder to reach places, then it goes quickly. Sometimes not all at once. Those foamy non-rinse cleaners are great too. I go through washclothes quickly then the water is always clean. Use ddry washclothes instead of a towel, then easy to manage, not get tangled up. Then use that dry washcloth as the next wet one. also dipping cold used washcloth into hot water really cools the water too fast, thus keep using fresh ones.
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how creative of you... God Bless!!!
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Oh, forget official bath. When she goes to the bathroom, pants down, use opportunity to wash legs. Other time change blouse, then wash top with wash clothes. I gave up on showers and take mom to the salon just for hairwash. I enrolled them in lavishing her with hugs and kisses, and now they all fight over who gets to give her a hairwash...and who can do it without emotional meltdown. Watch for excessive noise of hairdryer. That will provoke a meltdown instantly. Get hot towels to dry hair quicker...dry hair next to the laundry dryer so you have quick access...that sort of thing.
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Let me know when she reaches 7 months. Though think she did wash it occasionally. Once I moved here, I let her go three weeks before putting my foot down. Believe it or not she can move past this. What did it for my mom was Zoloft and knowing she had anotehr life that involved me, fun activities. The best thing I did was "stage" photos of her being hugged by friendly neighbors, and print them up. She was loved even in her hermit outfit. Now Mom cannot stand to be sticky (from sweat)...from because her body gets to hot cause she feels cold...so cover with blankets and electric blanket...sweat evaporate, she feel cold...but sweat because she is REALLY cooking. Let me know if you have a solution for this one...
I know, thyroid. Every time we have it checked it's ok. Maybe do again.
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I think with COPD everything gets hard... I would just make things as easy as you can for her. It does sound like you ARE doing that... Many times a little "bird bath" at the sink can substitute for a shower or tub bath. Do you have a bath tub chair etc??? take care, J
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I have this problem also. My mom's COPD does not help the situation, as she uses breathing issues to her advantage. I have found that if I give her some input on the task it is easier to get through it. I tell her let's take a bath today, she says no, she's tired so I say well then we'll do it tomorrow.The next day I say it's bath day and she'll say after my nap.Then I prepare the bathroom and get out clean clothes.After her nap...I don't take no for an answer and bathing is done. She considers it "an ordeal" even when I make it as easy as possible.
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Hi M~ Yes it sounds to me that you have a challenge on your hands, but one that can possibly be overcome. Is there any special reason why your Mom is being so difficult about her hygene and changing her clothes? Are you able to discuss this matter with her? If you do find that you are getting no place, but frustrated-you may want to contact your local agency on aging and run this question by them, as they perhaps make a visit and give your their assessment of the situation. Another alternative can possibly be to have her attend a local senior center-where also she may be assessed, and possibly bathed by a staff member. If you have a physician or a neurologist who is familiar with her case, they possibly can offer you some suggestions.
So yes there are options, so it appears.
Best,
Hap
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My aunt ( his daughter) did that once. Literally. My grandfather wouldn't get a bath, my aunt was in town, and she went up to him and said: " You need to get a bath Daddy you stink." Just like that. Well, he took a bath. Then. That was like 6 years ago however, it doesn't get any easier, what a depressing thought.
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Oh My!
I think we should all get together & create a national Senior Spa for our non bathing parents!
Walk in tubs, fluffy hotel robes, manicures & pedicures, pampering to the point they will want to bathe!

Who'se our investor?
I know Dad used to go to the Elks Club for pool, the game, pool, a swim, the sauna & steam room.

Having him shower is a major chore but he feels better after.
How can we create an atmosphere enticing to our seniors?

Remember, many of them grew up taking a bath once a week. Usually Saturday, sharing the water with their families. Depression era..

Even my friend (56) lived for years taking a shared bath once a week with her 3 siblings. 1950's & 60's.

Bathing is routine & necessary for me! Not so for that generation.
But how do you tell a loved one he or she stinks?

I'm looking forward to more suggestions on this thread!
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THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!! Your comments and advice have been a great help. Yes, I think that this behavior may be attributed to depression. She was recently precribed Zoloft and it seems to have kicked in. She is more tolerant and we have begun to see a change in her mood and habits.
I am so happy that I stumbled across this website. It has literally been a lifesaver. Thanks to you all!!!!!!!!!!
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I care for an elderly lady who is like a mother to me. She sold her condo and moved in about 8 months ago and has gotten worse since the move. Bathing has become a real issue but it seems she is more willing since i started washing her hair seperately. She complains that the showers take so much energy and appears fatigued after a shower even tho I get everything ready for her she also makes comments about wanting to die which I find heartbreaking and irritating at the same time. I remind her how blessed she is and she usually agrees but it's so sad to see a loved one who used to be so full of life decline to this point.














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And here my mom just now told my grandfather she was..going to "have him get a bath tonight" and he has a fit as usual "I just had one...!" "No you didn"t Daddy it was two weeks ago.." "IT WAS NOT TWO WEEKS AGO!" "Don't argue with me Daddy, I write it on the calendar." You had a bath on the fifth it, is the seventeenth now that is almost two weeks." mummble mummble....He doesn't have dementia, he is stubborn, old and yes stupid. My mother does EVERYTHING for him, sets it up has the wash cloth and soap and rugs plaved just so, all ready, (yes, grab-bars too) all he has to do is sit on the bath bench and rub the cloth over his skin...He once said he just "Never liked water." Fine, what have you got against soap? Ya know, if you don't keep up with your hygiene old man you are gonna have to go to a nursing home, would you like to do that? No, I never say that, I think it. He has very little idea how stressful all this is on us. He is embarrassed by obvious things but aside from that he just thinks it is fine the way it is. As the annoying cab driver said, "That's the way it should be, famiy taking care of family." Right, I don't recall him taking care of me. Grandma yes.
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I was thinking about this thread this morning while stuffing Mom into the shower. I have found that in addition to the hand shower attachment, which helped, I have gotten shampoo, conditioner and shower soap in pump dispensers and it has made the showering situation much easier. I can get the soap and shampoo into my hand without letting go of her too much.

You may want to try that.
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I agree with moms1daughter, when grandpa wears the same shirt day after day you have to catch it the moment it comes off and do a load of laundry right away, before things have to be thrown away.
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thanks to all! I learned alot just by reading what others have shared, thanks guys, as there are so many different ways of looking at things!!! that is sure true, about it becoming scary and overwhelming, and how now I can see why someone, would just want to put it on the back burner and do it later, later meaning weeks or whenever!, its frustrating for lots of reasons, and not as easy as I thought...............again putting myself in her shoes, really makes all the difference in the world! everybody is different, and now I see that it may not be depression at all, just an overwhelming task period! thanks for the other ways to look at things folks, its a bit more complicated than I thought! wow, learning alot from this site, and look forward to all comments by everyone, thanks to all!
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From what I have read and been told by medical professionals, this is very common. I'd say the amount of responses to this seems to back that up. What they claim is that older people with dementia are overwhelmed by the number of things that need to be done to take a shower or bath. Thinking about it, I now understand. We need to have clean clothes, take off old clothes, run the water - not too hot or cold, have soap, washcloth, shampoo, conditioner, towels - for the floor to dry etc. If you think of it step by step, there are many little "chores" involved. For someone who is struggling with remembering all those little "chores" or who can't stay organized in their brain, showering is daunting. I know it is odd, we do it without a 2nd thought on a regular basis.

It is just heartbreaking, isn't it?!
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Sometimes I think perhaps it's just easier for elderly folks to wear the same clothes and not bathe in the tub or shower. I know my Mom (96) tells me she'll bathe when she gets ready. Yet, she gets up everyday; after she makes her own bed she washes heself and brushes her teeth; fixes her hair. If she has worn the same outfit for a couple of days she selects a clean one. One week she wore the same outfit everyday; but she changed her underwear. She changes her own bed and does her own laundry (small load). My point is she is not depressed. But, she simply refuses to bathe the way I want her to. Last night before she went to bed she laid out her clothes for today. I'm here to help her with anything...she simply wants to do it her way! I guess.
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Wiggy, another one that made tears fall from my eyes......Sometimes my mother also says things like that too, and they cut like a knife....I dont know if its because I would probably feel the same way, or because I just get overboiled when she says such a horrendous thing, and out of my own selfishness! I want her here! But then when I do put myself in her shoes I surely understand why she has every reason in the world to feel the way she does, but it must not be her time, and God has something in mind for her,,,,,sometimes I even get upset at him, for making our parents suffer so, just like its so unfair! I battle with this all time, and often wonder why all these drug addicts and killers and really bad people arent the ones who are made to suffer! Life just isnt fair, and there is not a thing we can do about it! and sometimes it goes way beyond frustrating, I cant think of another word to even use...........Maybe we can come up with a new word have it patented, and put in Websters, and all encyclopedia's for a deeperm more painful and heartfelt word, I tell you, some are so lucky they dont have the problems we do, or just choose not too, I am so amazed like I have said before, how kids just throw their parents away into these places, alone, scared, and never come back, to even say hello,,,,How selfish is that? Thats why I feel obligated to visit mom and other residents who dont get visits at all, and it brightens their day, like u just cant imagine, I have the time to do this, as I am disabled myself, so doing this is almost like volunteering but with a perk of having my own mom there! Its truly is amazing to see the sparkle in someones eyes when they see me coming, its such a wonderful feeling, and makes me feel that I have done something to help another, who is less fortunate than me, and who I know for sure will appreciate it, It gets me out of my own head as well, and gives me a sense of purpose...............ok thats enough if I already havent started rambling already!
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Hi Susan,

Once before mother started having a problem with her memory, I was driving her out to Walmart one day when out of the blue she said,
"I don't think I'll be here much longer." I said, "Oh Mother, don't say
that. I don't want anything to happen to you." Then she said, "How many people can say they have lived to see their children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren? Now she is in the last stage of alzheimer's and I often wonder if maybe the Lord was going to take her years ago and
my words somehow held her here. I don't even know if this makes any sense. But I think about it sometimes. She has said several times when she has a lucid moment in the nursing home. "I would rather die than live like this" and I know she really means it.
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sounds to me that maybe she is a bit of a depression, and rightly so, put yourself in her shoes, it isnt fun to have to be where she is and at the same time have to rely on others to take complete control of her needs, by the way, my husband did the same thing with mom! how ironic!! He told mom she had one choice, either get a shower in the backyard with the garden hose, or do it in the shower! THat make me laugh! thanks for letting me share this with u! sometimes if dont laugh we will cry!
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Before my mother went into the nursing home, she didn't want to bathe either. When we would tell her that she hadn't had a bath in three weeks, she didn't believe us. Finally, my brother told her he was going to take her out in the backyard and turn the hose on her and then she finally let us give her a bath. My aunt (mom's sister) is the only one who would just take her home for a day and then run bathwater and take her in the bathroom and have her get inside the tub and give her a bath. But mother would complain that she didn't like my her sister doing that :-)
This went on for years. Mostly mother would just sleep on the couch
all of the time and then get up and sit at the table but she would hardly eat anything. She just wanted to sleep and is happiest at the nursing home when she is sleeping.
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moms1daughter hit it right on the nose! u must make her do it! my mom started to do the same thing as well! her hygiene went to pot, she never wanted to shower anymore and actually fought me about it! I pretty much told her if she wanted to live with me she had to shower and thats that! So every morning there after I got mean stares and King baby syndrome out of her, but she begrugingly got in the shower! and thats true about the shower nozzle coming off, its easier to do a better job, when u can manuever the water exactly where u want it to go! Now the new thing is she never wants me to wash her hair, so I compromised on that one, and she must do it 2 times a week, period, no options allowed, I think when this type of thing starts to happen it is a sign of depression......Especially my mother who was always as neat and clean as a pin! If anything, she showered 2 times a day at one time, always had ironed, clean, pretty clothes on, matched her accessories, and wore makeup too! she was fanatical about appearance, so when that started to go, I truly got scared and worried, I took her to a phychiatrist, but she hated him, and said all he wanted was her money! and this is how she feels about all doctors! good luck and let us know how it goes, oh yes do it ritualistically, like have baby powder there, perfume, brush and comb, body spray, hairspray, make it a fun thing if u can, I did now she doesnt mind too much at all, I even remind her how much better she feels after, and that works too!
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Thanks for raising the issue. My Mom 96 year old mom hasn't bathed for weeks. Cleanliness is not an issue; she makes her own bed; does her own laundry. While she doesn't bathe, she washes herself daily; brushes her teeth; grooms herself; and dresses completely including knee highs and leather shoes. I take her out to get her hair done and she also goes to the nail salon for acrylic nails. She also makes her own bed. She has a way to safely bathe and I would absolutely be there for her.
I'm thinking there could be serveral issues...#1. wanting to stay in control of her own body; 2. feeling like being in a coffin while sitting on the tub stool; 3. just not enough energy to get the job done.
Very sad, as bathing daily was a tremendous pleasure for her. Then, it became a weekly thing. After a 7 day stay in rehab following hip surgery she hasn't wanted to bathe at all. I don't push it as she doesn't have body oder. However, I would think her private pieces n' parts would enjoy warm, soapy water.
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Lucky you!! You certainly aren't alone and there are times that it is just heartbreaking. It is great to have a place where others truly understand and have great advice.
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To all of you that have replied - god bless you - I have been so miserable for the last few months with no one to talk to or people that can relate to all that I have been going thru. This site is fabulous and it actually made me laugh rather than cry - this morning - thanks you! The bathing is not yet my problem but can relate in everyones comments: mom enjoys the shower and having her hair washed.
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put a space heater in the shower room and really get it hot in there. I can be 75 in the house and Mom still wants to wear gloves. If sponge bathing, do one part of the body at a time, and maybe not even all at once, and make sure the rest of the body is covered. A 'here, let me wash off your feet while we're changing your shoes," is much less intimidating than an hour long wrestling match with the shower.

I now take mom for weekly shampoo at a specific Great Clips salon. They are all aware of her condition and fuss over her, giving hugs and kisses, even if they are not the one doing the shampoo. It's now a challenge to them to see if they can get Mom through both a shampoo and a conditioning rinse...and then the noisy blow dryer (bring ear plugs)...without mom getting too upset. We had a meltdown once in the salon that wasn't fun. Now we have no problems. ;-)
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i can relate. Just have to make them do it. I try to walk in on her while she is using the bathroom that way she can't leave the bathroom and get past me. This morning she did ignore me, so I am telling her that she will get lunch after she takes her shower. Food is a motivator for my mother. I have also had issues with the grungy clothes because she sleeps in her clothes some nights. She gets stubborn and will not change into nightgown, so I usually get the clothes off her when we do the shower. It is a vicious circle of events.
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Before I moved to Mom's house to care for her (two of my sisters lived her supposedly caring for her)...I was told that Mom hadn't bathed in 7 months, but did right before I arrived. She wore the same clothes, but occasionally threw them in the wash. My sister finally threw them out.

At first I'd see how far she would go by herself before taking a shower, and after three weeks, gave up and just made her do it . Oh, depression contributes to this grunge behavior, so perhaps have her Rx'd Zoloft or other suitable...That made a world of difference in mom's attitude and willingness to be part of life again.
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good plan Pattie... sometimes I think our parents become somewhat child like in that they will want to wear what is comfortable all the time and they will not realize that they need to bath!!!
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