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My grandmother is incredibly stubborn and think she is fully independent. When her mind tells her she has done something there's nothing to change that fact no matter what I say.
When trying to make her take a bath her daughter first started approaching just by saying its time for the bath like always she used to bathe in the afternoon. Failure after failure when we came visit grandmother smelled horribly and her daughter says she hasn't bathed in weeks. She then turned to saying to her that she stinks, that's when we got a lenghty phone call from our grandmother telling us her daughter said she stinks, but she DOES we just never tell her that.
Now her daughter moved away she couldn't take anymore and grandmother is left to us. We tell her to take a bath and she always replies she already has. We started with telling her bath is ready, made sure everything was great, we have great facilities for her to take a good comfortable shower.
If we go all out and debate her she hasn't taken the bath she will just want to leave the house and go to her old home, as if she could. Adding new things to the bathroom like most advice on the internet is a complete waste of money we now think all them are just to sell us things we don't need because what good would getting "X" thing for her shower would do if she won't even get off the sofa to go and see it. We could get all the things in the market and the problem doesn't rest there it's getting her to the bathroom to take the bath. After daily attempts we keep trying as she starts to smell worse and worse our only successful plan was to put a really sticky and grossly bothersome shampoo on her head wherever she is currently sitting and after it starts to slide across her head it would start bothering her and she then goes for the shower. Problem now is that's the only way. Recently this "already have done" thought in her head has spread to food now, so she is starting to starve herself. Luckily we've gotten her OTC meds to make her hungry and have a stock of her favorite food she never says no to. We've gotten no useful advice from multiple "doctors", from her concierge to neurologist and all they seem efficient at is charging the medical plan a hefty lump sum. So family won't do it, doctors won't do it, I look now for advice over the internet to see if somebody would give us the answer to all riddles without seeking a million dollars.

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Our hospice doctor prescribed a sedative on bath day. They don't even have to know they are getting it. If safe to crush it, put it in a bite of food or in a small amount of juice. If the first one prescribed doesn't work or has undesirable side effects, ask them to prescribe something else or possibly a different dosage.
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I asked basically this same question myself, as my Mom would not bathe or wash her hair and I just could not handle it. She keeps saying I just took a bath yesterday and i washed my hair too, when in reality it has been two weeks.

I finally told her that if she refused to bathe and wash her hair of her own free will then I would hire a nurse to come in and bathe her. After she screamed and yelled at me and called me every name in the book and told me I was going to find myself sitting in the street looking for a new place to live, she went into the kitchen and washed her hair and then took a bath. She took a bath every single day for about 4 days and then she began slipping but it hasn't gotten back to the two week intervals.

It think this is all trial and error in figuring out what to do. I can tell you that water that seems warm to us, for some reason is hot to them, so let them adjust it to their preference.

God Bless Us All!
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i take care of a woman who think she hasnt done things like brushing her teeth. What I do is tell her is i watched her do it and i think if you tried the same with your grandmother. Say" I have watched you. You haven't taken a shower lets do that". or maybe have her write it down when she takes a shower so she will see when she does.
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Bthumper-try to give her a sponge bath or hire someone else to do it for you. There is not that much bacteria that will accumulate on her body unless she is digging ditches or in really hot, humid weather. Tell her doctor she won't bathe, document the times/dates she refuses, and you cannot be held liable. Even in nursing homes, if a patient refuses showering, they could refuse showering, unless they have an ongoing open sore, spilled food, etc. on their person. Just do the best you can and hopefully as her dementia progresses this phase will pass too.
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I've set this in another post and I'll say it again briefly here. If you are the caregiver in charge of a person, cleanliness and hygiene is important. If the patient is noticeably smelly and ends up having to go to the hospital for some reason, the caregiver can be charged with negligence. It very nearly happened to me when we allowed my mom not to shower for 2-1/2 weeks (and she was also refusing to do a sponge bath). We allowed it because she was feeling so badly, and we didn't know she was pre-heart attack. But she was smelly after she fell from her heart attack and was taken to the hospital and that provoked quite a stir, requiring interrogation an explanation, with conjecture about why we didn't simply give her a bed bath. But nothing is simple when you have a stubborn 94 year old, with dementia, who knows she still in her own house and, even feeling as bad as she did, needed to control her cleanliness. I said in my other post that considering the ramifications, if I had it to do over, I would have gotten two ladies who were like nurses, gone away, and let them deal with the bed bath. I and partially disabled and I needed a little bit of corporation for my mom to be able to keep her clean. She knew that and managed to thwart me, at the same time never tolerating our daytime caregiver to help with the shower. Even if your patient is terminal in the next week or two, you are still expected to bathe them in some way twice a week. Hospice does it and home caregivers have to find a way to do it too. It cannot be ignored.
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Arizona State University did research on showering with patients who have dementia. The results are that the patient thinks the running of water to be fire, and who would want to step into flames? At any rate, for whatever reason she doesn't want to bathe, can't you change your behaviors for now and give her a damp wash cloth with bowl of soapy water and let her decide? Smelling bad is minor compared to having dementia, and you don't have to get that close to her if it bothers you that much. This is temporary, the illness is terminal, and you can bathe all you like. There are worse things in life...
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Bathing generally does become an issue with the elderly. I believe it's exhausting for them to do it so they just don't want to. They can't remember it's about health and hygiene, not to mention social graces. I assume you have a sit-down shower chair with a back? Some here have mentioned they're hard and cold and could be helped with a warm towel placed over the stool and the back. And you have a long-handled hose for the water to spray? Plus grab bars for safety so she feels secure?

All that set up, now you have to be creative. The sticky hair thing you're doing is workable. stealing something stinky on her blouse maybe. My moms toilet was right next to her shower. Once she was sitting down, should have to have her trousers off to change her pull up undies (depends diaper pull-ups), so we were halfway there. All I had to do was show her that her blouse was dirty from food or whatever and get her to remove it so we could change it. Once I had all of her clothes off, I just said okay time to step into the shower. She complied almost every time and the time she didn't want to we just wait a little while until she was willing, which she eventually was because she was sitting there with no clothes on. I found that the trick was never to tell her in advance that it was shower day. I would just wait until she went into the bathroom, give her a few minutes of privacy, then go in to "help" and do the rest as already stated. Let us know how you eventually work it out with your grandmother.
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It so hard as they decline. My mother is 90 yo with dementia (2nd stage) and she says she just took one. So now I have her write it down every time she does take a shower. Usually every Friday. She writes everything down. The days of the week. Who she talked to on the phone, etc. I also tell her that I won't take her to church or out for ice cream, which she loves if she doesn't shower. She isn't eating as much as she use to, but she is in a lot of pain from her 2 yo hip surgery and degenerated discs. I always wonder why they live so long. It's hard on everyone to care for them. Even though we love them.
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If it was me, I'd spill something on her so she has to change clothes AND wash. Spaghetti sauce, something sticky, something she historically didn't like the smell of.
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Sounds like your grandmother has reached that stage where she needs either a full-time caregiver or to be in a facility where they know how to deal with this behavior. My observation is it's a common occurrence among the elderly, particularly in cases of dementia, that they fight bathing. It's a constant fight with my 95-year-old mother which luckily I win most of the time by persuasion and persistence. Blessings to all of you in this challenge.
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