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The Alzheimer's Association helps produce some amazing training for caregivers on dealing with dementia patients. Here is the website for it: http://www.hcinteractive.com/CARES. It deals a lot on how to help dementia patients do all kind of things in in regards to their activities of every day life.
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cont: to have it!
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Rainmom: ROFL! That would be my husband...a new gizmo comes on tv (probably a piece od junk), but he's got
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Llamalover- good Lord! The laundry is a whole other industry I certainly contribute to. I'm a sucker for the lavender scent dryer sheets and fabric softeners. I even feel for the scented crystals you add to the wash. To be honest, I can't really smell any lavender after all that effort and money! But I know I fall for the next gimmick that comes down the line.
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RainMom: You and I must be "cut of the same cloth." Good grief...I even have to brush my teeth after I've eaten every meal! I keep Bath and Body Works in business. I use their shower gels as bubble baths...works great! Love them! Funny story-years ago I was like "hmm, I smell....turns out I had left wet laundry in washer overnight and then dried them...not a good thing!
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I looked to see if Teepa had any suggestions about telling someone with dementia they stink. She did, and it falls under reasoning with a demented brain that cannot reason. In other words, it doesn't work.

According to Teepa:
"Starting at stage 5 of dementia, the logistics of bathing – with its rituals, schedule,
order, gadgets and steps – become somehow complex. What used to be a pleasant time dedicated to grooming and self care slowly turn into an annoying chore, and people start neglecting it. At stage 6, bathing is not only difficult, but the reason for bathing becomes utterly elusive. In addition to being unable to understand the need for bathing, people find it uncomfortable: bathroom is cold, water hitting on skin is scary, being disrobed feels vulnerable and embarrassing, running water sounds loud and there is a fear of falling."

Teepa goes on about how to prepare the bathroom *before* inviting the person in for a bath:
"Start with preparing the bath room. Remove locks from bathroom door. Make sure
electric dryers and razors are out of reach. Install grab bars and a hand-held spray
attachment to shower head. Use non-slip bath mat on the floor outside the tub. Remove clutter. Consider a padded shower chair. Make sure room is well lit and warm. Lay out soap, washcloth, towel and clean clothes in sequence. Consider a towel warmer. Use less water in tub, adjust water temperature to the person’s comfort. Use curtains and robes to enhance privacy. Play soft music on the
background. Bath is prepared!"

Teepa gives other valuable tips:
"Evaluate the best time of day for bathing. Consider old habits and time of day
when person is most relaxed. Try not to get too anxious when a person
refuses a bath. Wait and try again later. Try bathing instructions on a
prescription pad. Try offering a couple of choices: do you want a bath or a shower?
Simplify the task as much of possible. Take your time. Do not rush. Gently guide the person through each step. Use simple cues and respectful language. Let them touch the water before getting in. Provide a wash towel to hold while bathing. Provide encouragement saying things like the water feels so nice or this feels good. Make sure they are covered and warm when drying. Offer a reward, such as a favorite food or a ride in the car. Compliment the person on how good they look and how nice they smell."
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I'm with you, Llamalover. When it comes to a booger in the nose, food on the teeth or smelling badly, I would much rather the momentary embarrassment of being told than eventually figuring it out on my own and wondering how long I've been that way. I love my showers - fancy soaps and a good loofa and I'm in for 30 minutes. If I ever resist a shower I think I'd have to know something is wrong with me - at least I hope so!
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I am sorry, but sometimes it just comes down to telling them "you need to get in the shower." I hope when I get up there in age that someone tells me "hey lady, you stink." Seriously.
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My mother never lets any of her offspring touch her as regards her hygiene and would insist that she had already showered. Most of the time the shower (which has a seat, a hand spray attachment and a liquid soap dispenser within reach) would be completely dry. Occasionally she would turn the shower on but never get in. I could see her walking around her bedroom fiddling with stuff while the water ran down the drain. Maddening!

The solution was to get in-home assistance. The very first time a helper came in she had Mom all cleaned up, including dentures (which I was not successful getting her to clean either) and in fresh clothing an hour after they were introduced. It may not happen that quickly or smoothly for some, but a properly trained visiting caretaker will usually be successful where family members are not. A lot of it I'm sure has to do with the fact that a parent has vivid memories of raising us and changing our diapers but has no realization that the roles have been switched and that they are no longer able to care for themselves. It is difficult for me to relate this person to the capable and caring mother I once knew. It must be especially confusing and at times frightening for her.
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I had the same problem with my husband (61 yrs old) with frontal temporal dementia. He would not step into the regular tub, so I did sponge baths for quite awhile then tried to get him into my walk in bath...it works! He holds on to the ledge by the shower for dear life but I gently push him in with my body and he goes in. I am right there to shower him and soap him up. There is a seat in the shower if needed. Only gets a shower 2-3 times a wk but I am glad for that. Sometimes you have to be creative. I use a periwash bottle for other times to get his bottom clean.
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Instead of trying to force it, I find it's better to just use a no rinse body wash and shampoo. You can also get moisturizing no rinse body wash. Better than causing stress to both of you.
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Sometimes pushing the issue is a last resort because it's the only option left when all other efforts have failed. Obviously this was the case with my foster dad, and therefore I must side with the nursing home that made my foster dad shower, good for them! They didn't hurt him at all, in fact he was grateful afterward. Sometimes putting someone in a situation where they must do what's good for them will get them over that fear. This is what it took for my foster dad because he was very grateful after they cleaned him up. Again, sometimes this is absolutely necessary as an absolute last resort, and the nursing home had no other choice but to take that last resort when all other efforts failed. When they reap the rewards on the other side of what they don't want to do and they actually feel better, they tend to become grateful even thanking those who put them through the task they didn't want to do. This is why I must side with the nursing home on this one, and my support goes out to anyone else who must do likewise. As long as it's done in a proper manner, I've seen how the results and outcome were actually very good
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There are other ways to bathe, if she just can't stand a shower. She or a caregiver or both together could do a sink and washcloth wipe-off. A caregiver could do a bed bath and a bed shampoo. Generally, doctors say that twice a week is enough bathing for the average person. Definitely, never use physical force; it will only create more resistance. Use compliments, encouragement, whenever she takes concern for her appearance and grooming. Get her a mirror, make-up, perfume, lotion etc, that she likes. Sometimes, a lady will take more time with grooming if a gentleman might notice. So, find a gentleman who might notice her. When you visit, inspect her clothes and set out something "new" or "new to her" for her to wear each week. Temperature of the water, the room, even the towels can bother some people. See what the routine of bathing in the facility is so you can possibly make changes that would make an improvement in behavior and attitude.
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Hi,
I am Cindy, I am a patient. Ha! Ha! - When you get an answer, PLEASE let me know! I am getting Frontal Lobe white matter dementia, from Neuro-Behcet's disease.. I don't KNOW WHY I don't want to shower... I just don't. I feel so exhausted all the time - It is ONE MORE thing I don't get to! I mean to, I "forget to remember". It is like picking up shattered glass - you never get ALL of it and you can't put it back together. I can't finish anything because my BRAIN and thoughts are like Shattered Glass" ! I don't know if this is how YOUR loved one thinks or feels - but it might give you a clue. Maybe keep it a FAST "in and out", with a spray/hand held & a shower chair?
This is why it is called DEMENTIA! I have no Idea "WHY", for many things in my life now. I can't organize and every thing is a mess, I can't follow through on anything. Not even "undress, get in the shower, etc., etc.,!" I feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start.
I hope my insight may be helpful to you in some way. I really don't know what it takes to make someone shower. All I can tell you - Is why I don't.
Cindy
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GD auto correct!!! That would be claustrophobia!!! Sorry!
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I disagree with physically forcing someone who is afraid of showering - into a shower. It's crule and frankly, abusive in my book. I don't care how dirty they are or how badly they smell. It may take time, research, bribery, whatever - but there will be a better way. I have severe (thanks, cwillie) clostriphobia- and I do mean severe - if anyone ever shoved me into an elevator, even for my own good - I would probably loose my mind. At the very least it would only make my condition worse and I would likely never get over the incident. And, I would search out the horribly mean, crule person who did it to me and extract some serious payback. Force is NOT the answer.
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SUGGEST THEY WEAR A HAT!!
Depending at what stage they are with their Dementia, sometimes only a ridiculous idea will work in a ridiculous situation. My elderly clients are still in their own homes so are still quite capable physically - just need some inspiration mentally. Why SHOULDN'T they wear a silly hat?! Make it a laugh for both of you. More than likely they won't remember 'Hat' day so you get to do a repeat performance for the 'first' time again, on every shower day!
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If you have help available, perhaps a little bit of manpower can get the person in the shower just like the nursing home would clean up someone who comes in smelly and dirty. This happened with my foster dad who landed in a nursing home at some point and the nursing home made him clean up because obviously they put him in the shower and cleaned him up
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I have the same problem with mom who has dementia. Its sad. Cant get her in shower and neither can anyone else.
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When my friend over whom I had POA became resistant to getting cleaned after she soiled herself, the wellness nurse urged me to take her to a geri-psych ward at a hospital where they could find an anti-psychotic drug that would calm her without doping her up. It took 3 1/2 weeks there for them to find the right combination and timing for the meds and after that it was smooth sailing as far as her cooperation was concerned. It didn't stop her brain from shutting down due to her frontal temporal dementia so she eventually passed away, but the un-cooperativeness was no longer an issue. The drugs could be reduced as her needs changed.
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Actually, this is a pretty common problem for patients with dementia. There have been some studies showing that these patients have more fears about water, about slipping, and can get very emotional about bathing or getting bathed. A home health care bather may be able to deal better with your mom about this. That makes it less personal and your mom might want to please the bather. I told my mom that she was helping this lady keep her job and take care of her kids because she was being paid to bathe her, and if she didn't do it, then she might lose her job. My mom wanted to help her bather then, and did all she could to be cooperative with the nice lady. My mother hated being cold, and often did not want to bathe unless the bathroom was heated to the 90's. There are some good articles titled Elderly Resistant Bather and Senior Bath Time Solutions you can google some that might give you some good ideas.
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My experience with my foster dad was the same, I could never encourage him to shower. I also didn't have any physical back up to just put him in the shower and wash him myself. The day came when he finally landed in a nursing home, and they cleaned him up because he would not shower on his own. Sometimes the best thing to do is just pick them up and put them in the shower and wash them yourself like a nursing home would do. Again, the nursing home is the one who cleaned up my foster dad. Yes, you heard right, they cleaned him up because he would not clean himself up
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Helpwithma, I truly feel your pain. My moms dementia sneaked up on me. I had someone staying with my parents 8-5 and then I would go most days. I began asking if they took their baths in the morning. Mom would say yes. Then I noticed towels were not used. Additionally a support group I attend told me that dementia patients become scare of water especially running water. I wd put water in bath sink and used a non soap soap that I purchased at the drug store. Since this was a new task, it was very difficult. I would block mom in the bath The wipes did not work. She didn't like them. Over time it became easier with praise and even rewards. Keep in mind the "very personal body parts" are the most important. Mom even began not wiping throughly.
I took my parents to ride in a new development one day. There were water lots. Mom became VERY anxious. Scared. And I had to get away quickly. With this said keep in mind the fear of water. Also keep in mind that rewarding works. Put marks on a calendar each time she is good. After a couple times show her and give her a reward. A special ride, ice cream. Anything that u can label special. I do hope this helps.
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We cannot afford assisted living for my Mom but we can afford a CNA twice a month so Mom gets a full shower twice per month from the CNA and sponge baths the rest of the time. I take her to the hair dresser once per month and to get her nails done. So far, so good.
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Teepa Snow has videos online about bathing a patient with dementia/Alzheimer's.
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How far has your mom's dementia progressed? Your profile says that she's living in Independent Living. What kind of care does she have there? Does she have a caretaker there? Is there someone who is working with her daily to assist her with bathing? How long has she lived there?

I might take a close look at where she is and see if it is still meeting her needs. For people who lose their initiative to take care of hygiene, grooming, etc., it may be that restoring that skill is not possible. They either can't remember, think they have already done it or just don't like doing it. For whatever reason, it's usually time to have someone there to ensure that they are cleaned. It might be with wipes or bath from the sink. It doesn't always have to be a shower. You can no longer rely on them to do it.

Is there an assisted living or Memory Care unit in the facility? I might explore how they could better serve her daily needs. Maybe, an assessment would be helpful.

Based on my experience with my loved one, begging, reminding, explaining, etc., did not work. The only thing that got me anywhere was just running the water and getting the soap lathered up on the washcloth and handing it to her. She wasn't pleased, but, insisted it be done and I talked with her in an upbeat cheerful attitude while she did it. Once she got to AL, they ensured she bathed too, and gave her her showers a couple of times per week. I think they were pretty persistent too.
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