Grandpa has not showered/bathed in 2 years! What can I do?

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My grandpa is very stubborn and will not take a shower/bathe. I don't know why and he won't tell anyone why. His catheter is constantly coming out and pee goes all over him and couch and carpet. He won't let us clean up that either he just yells at us and it is making it difficult to be around him because he is really starting to smell bad. He goes to doctors visits often but they just act like they don't smell him or something. I'm very confused about what to do. My grandma is to weak to help him shower and I think it might be a little weird to him and me if I tried to help.(if he ever did decide to take one). Please, any advice would be helpful!!

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There has been a lot of terrific input from the community. I'll only add that for my mother-in-law, hiring a person come in once a week for a bath was well worth the money. She was exceptionally modest and did not want family members bathing her. She wasn't crazy about the aides, either, but she did as they asked without much of a problem. As mentioned above, sometimes "getting naked" in front of family members seems taboo where a "nurse" (any CNA, caregiver or helper outside the family who is a professional at what they do) is okay.
Good luck with this tough issue,
Carol
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OMG this is just awful for all of you, it amazes me just how taxing our caregiving experiences can be, so diverse and yet the same, just a different twist on a familiar nightmare. I wonder where are your parents in all of this, but I understand being alone for many different reasons. I would get a public health nurse to come out to the house and get involved, it is beyond you by yourself. He either gets him home care, or goes into a residential care setting. Your Grandmother at 70 is relatively young so to speak and would benefit from a doctor's visit and eval for depression. This sounds like it has to change now, you are too young, you could be doing this for a very very very long time, time to get some help on board, remember it takes a village, there is no shame in getting help, it is part of the reality of life, aging and dying.
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I agree 100% with Madeaa. Get ahold of the Office of the Aging or the Public Health Nurses and see about getting someone to come in and clean him up. They will force him to get cleaned up. I remember when my father-in-law was going to Dailysis treatments 3 times a week. He wouldn't clean up either but the CHC aides came in 3 times a week, just before his Dialysis appointment and they told him he didn't have a choice and moved him into the bathroom. They don't understand how putrid the smell is and how unsanitary and unhealthy it is....for fear of infections.

You definitely could use some assistance, even if just one or two times a week to get him cleaned up. Also, he may be afraid or unable to get into the shower, for fear of falling, or maybe he is afraid of the water (drowning). There is some issue there that he isn't telling you guys, that maybe an outside person can get out of him. I would also talk to his doctors and tell them that they need to say something to him when he comes in for a visit. It usually is received better by an outside source, than from family. Good luck and definitely get some help...you and your gramma need it.
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Does he have a seat in the shower or tub with a hand held sprayer to help him bathe himself? This might help. Also maybe you and grandma can convince him to do so and then you will go out to lunch or do a special treat. I can't imagine. Ask him point blank what he is afraid of. If the seat is in the shower or tub and he can maneuver in there, you could at least have bucket of warm water nearby he can hand dip wash cloth or wash mitt in and body wash with large washcloth and or warm wet towel to drape across his legs and back and keep off the chill.

Tell him it makes grandma uncomfortable for him to never bathe and or that dr says he might get infection and bacteria will get in catheter and he might easily end up in hospital...see if that helps, or tell him you see bugs in his hair, and he better shower and wash his hair...

Lastly, threaten if he doesn't do it himself, you will call in a nurse to come in a couple times a week to bathe him. Case closed. Then do it.

I wouldn't put up with it.
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There were some great points brought up here, with very difficult issues. Hugs sent to Lucysmom501 & Lizony. I work in the Healthcare industry, and also have to deal with issues of cleanliness and infection control caring for family. It is much easier to deal with Dementia Patients at Assisted Living, Nursing Homes, and in the Hospital. When trying to get a loved one, whom you have known for years, and they are living at home, to shower, brush teeth, use soap and hot water to wash dishes, and all around to prevent illness, they get very combative and refuse. It doesn't matter whether they are have dementia or not, it is just that we are emotionally involved and for good reason, they are our family. We feel can't be disrespectful, and also on the other end, we are taking away our parents, grandparents, spouses's independence and freedom. They lived their entire life not being under the age of 8 and want to keep their freedom and dignity. That comes at a huge price to both the caregiver and them.

At the facilities it is so much easier. We are trained, but don't force other peoples loved ones to shower, or do bed baths. It is illegal to use restraints, so we persuade them gently. With the Dementia patients, they are loaded with fear, and need to feel safe and not have their dignity compromised.

This is the technique I use to have someone at one of the facilities to be clean. I will first ensure they have privacy. Then, to make sure they are warm, and tell them every step of the process. If they can help or assist in any way, I let them, and ask for their help. I don't use the word shower, bath, or use terms that are negative. Every little accomplishment, no matter how small, I praise them, since it makes them feel very happy. We all want to feel happy, and safe. When getting them ready for a bed bath or shower, I get every thing ready. (6 washcloths, 4 towels, bath blanket, special body shampoo, and ointment to dress any wounds). In the bathroom I get the hand held shower nozzle, turn it on low to medium, and test the water on my wrist to make sure it isn't too cold, and also to prevent burns. When bringing them in a shower chair, and doing the transfer I ask them, "would you like to freshen up and feel good?" "It's going to feel really good, and you will feel nice and warm and safe." When helping to undress them, whether a bed bath or going to the shower room, I will close the door, draw the privacy curtain, and then tell them, " I need their assistance, and they will be kept warm, and that I will keep them covered to protect their privacy." Next, I will cover them with a sheet or bath blanket, undress one arm, ask them to hold the sheet, undress the next arm and ask them if they can help lean forward to take the shirt off. Even if it is a bed bath, I will ask for their assistance to roll over, while keeping them covered. When taking them to the shower room, I will have them fully covered in 2 bath blankets, one on the back of the chair, to prevent drafts, and one on the front to keep them warm. It also prevents them from feeling exposed, and their private parts from being seen. In the shower room, I will turn on the hand held shower nozzle, and warm up the water so it won't be too cold, or to hot to burn them. I'll test the water on my wrist first, and then ask, "can you test the water, is it too cold, is it good?" They always answer and will say, "too hot, too cold, or nod ok". Then, I never spray directly over their head, I use my hand to gently aerate the water, and when placing soap in their hair, have them hold a washcloth over their eyes. I use one washcloth for the face, one for their eyes, one for under each arm, one for the front of their chest, and front private part, another for their back, and one or a few for their rear end. When rinsing off, I always tell them exactly what I'm doing, and keep the hose down at approximately shoulder height. I will also try to warm them up several times by running warm water on their back, and arms. I also tell them, "you are doing great, thanks for helping, doesn't that feel so good?" If they can help clean their face, I ask them to use the washcloth to clean their face, or give them one to do their arm or chest. Also, it doesn't matter if they clean well, since I will make sure I clean that area. It just makes them feel like someone is asking permission, they feel great about being able to care for themselves, and they feel warm and protected.

When helping out in other peoples homes, I also check to see if there are grab bars, transfer benches, non-slip strips on the shower or bathtub floor. Always place non-slip shoes on their feet, do they have a shower hand held hose, if not use a clean plastic container for soaping up the washcloth, and one for rinsing. When bring them in, I already have the water warmed up, and will close the door, and close the shades or blinds for privacy, and to keep them warm.

The most important things that the loved one, or the loved one in a facility are dealing with are that they are losing their independence that they had all their life. Their privacy is being compromised. They get cold very easily. It is very unsafe to take a shower or bath, since that is where the most serious falls can occur. They don't want the family member to see them naked, since it is inappropriate from their point of view. They get comfortable and don't think it is necessary to bathe. Their eyesight, sense of smell, and taste aren't as good as what it was years ago. If they are taking any medicine, (Pain, heart, Blood Pressure, Diabetes, etc.), it will affect their judgment and they will not be aware as we are about the situation at hand. If their doctor doesn't address the situation, you may need to have a private consultation with him or her and tell about the complete living conditions. They may need a Eldercare Social Worker, and Eldercare attorney, someone from a licensed agency (Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Home Health Care Worker), that is licensed with the state to come in a few times a week to help out. Maybe even a housekeeper once a week, once ever other week to keep their living conditions, including their own person hygiene in check. Also, remove trip hazards, and slip hazards. Throw rugs, have to be removed, or place non-slip backing underneath. They are afraid of spending, money, so say it is not a problem, you are treating them, to remove their fear of financial difficulty. The Eldercare Social Worker, can help get costs covered. The social worker will also make sure they are getting proper nutrition by sending in a dietician.

Family is the hardest, and very difficult. This entire thread has given me some great ideas. Whether the family member is competent and doesn't have Dementia, or not, I will definitely get a CNA/CHHA in to help assist me, since it will eliminate the combative loved one's protests. It also has reminded me, that it might be best to get outside help with my loved ones.
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Agree with answers. Just like to add that depression may be a part of this. Has that been discussed with his doctor?
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You don't say if he has dementia or not. Patients with dementia do not like showering because it reminds them of fire. Yes, I cannot explain it, but Arizona State Univ. did research and found it sounds like they are burning up. Either hire a big male home healthcare worker to come in and wash him off with a wash cloth, or use a gentle spray bottle. He probably won't react so violently with a total stranger as he does with family members. Two years with a leaking catheter is WAY too long to go without bathing. At the very least, hand him a disposable wipe to wipe the genital area and his arm pits (different wipe of course). If that goes well, maybe the rest of him can be washed that way. Wipes come with aloe vera infused, but at this time I would not use anti-bacterial wipes. His skin is full of bacteria and it may compromise his skin more. Good luck!
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The doctor and his staff will probably never address the issue unless you intervene. They only have to interact with him for a maximum of 30 minutes and then he's out of their office. So, I'd write a letter to the doctor (confidentially) and ask him or her to specifically address bathing during your grandfather's next doctor visit. Tell him that the house smells very strongly of urine and body odor and it's affecting your grandmother's quality of life. Ask the doctor to instruct your grandfather that he MUST have weekly baths and that a home health aid will give them if necessary. It's time to overrule grandpa's 'wishes'.
Someone who can't manage his catheter care and refuses to maintain minimum hygiene standards is someone who needs help. If your grandmother can't physically do it, it's time to bring in help or move your grandfather to an AL or SNF.
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2 years? Home health care should have been called soon after he stopped bathing. I helped my father bathe. We had a walk in shower and shower chair. He could wash himself and then I'd use the hand held shower to rinse him. It's hard to believe he hasn't bathed in 2 years. Where are his children? You need to get some help and good luck.
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I am all that my dad has. An only child and mom passed away 7 years ago. She had dementia and was in a nursing home for the last 2 1/2 years of her life. My husband was a plumber and when mom was still home, he installed a hand held shower with a transfer chair so that dad could bathe her. Never used. Now he's 93 and lives alone in the house. Does he use the shower? No. He says he washes every day. He sees a few different doctors and nothing has been brought up about his odor, but I smell it. I called his GP with my concerns and he agreed that his hygiene is slipping but that he's fine mentally. He still drives and I had concerns about that. GP says leave him alone, he's fine. The cleaning girl that goes there once a month told me that when she runs water in the bathroom sink upstairs, dirty water comes up in the tub. Obviously a problem! She told him and he says he will have it taken care of. I have POA, but until he's declared incompetent, there's nothing I can do. Yes, I've told him that he has an odor and his answer is no he doesn't, he washes every day. The house stinks from when mom was there smoking with the windows closed and was incontinent. The upstairs is the worst, I guess the urine is in the hard wood floors. He won't sell the house and go into assisted living. I'm at my wits end. I want him to stay as independent as long as possible, but I also don't want people saying how he stinks either. Am I a youngster myself? No....I'll be 71 soon and I have orthopedic issues or trust me, I'd be over there scrubbing! What in the heck do we do? Especially when the GP gives you no help!
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