My mom has been at an assisted living facility for about 4 weeks. She is 94 and very old fashioned and modest. She will not let anyone clean her private parts and is not capable of doing it herself.

She insists that she wipes herself with wipes after a bowel movement but I have told her that it is not enough. She is also wearing depends. She has recently developed a UTI. Yesterday, she had diarrhea. She told me she wished I was there. She expects me to clean her butt and her portable potty filled with poop when the assisted living is getting paid for this service. I understand it is hard to let strangers do this but is it my job to do it?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I’m sorry that your mom is struggling with this. My mom was extremely modest too. She eventually got over her modesty. I hope that your mom will too.

She may not be trying to make you feel guilty. She is struggling with having a stranger care for her so intimately. Others don’t want family members to do these things and would prefer a caregiver.

I think the best way to handle this situation is to tell your mom that you would be uncomfortable washing her private parts and that the caregivers have experience with it and will be able to do the best job.

It is not your place to do this. This is what the staff is for.

Best wishes to you and your mom.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

Your mother requires a higher level of care than what she's currently getting in AL. You don't mention dementia so Idk if memory care AL is an option, but my mother was thoroughly cleaned up and bathed by aides who were experienced so utis weren't an issue, and neither was hygiene as she had showers 2x a week. Properly trained caregivers know how to handle shy residents and help them past their issues so they can stay healthy and clean at all times. If not, mom needs a higher level of care in a SNF or AL with more experienced staff.

Let mom know that she must accept help with her bathing and toileting needs, or else you'll need to make arrangements to move her to a nursing home in short order. We often reach a point in life where we don't get a choice in certain matters.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to lealonnie1

Do not do it.
You may have to consider reducing your visits for a while . This may be challenging but especially when someone is new in a facility it helps them learn to build trust with the staff and, if she knows you are not coming, it may make her ( mad, upset etc) for a bit, but she will ultimately let the staff do the tasks. You can explain to her perhaps that you have to be away for a week for example and, have the staff assigned to her in the room when you tell her, and emphasize that you will be away and that you trust the staff to take care of these needs.
Ultimately you are helping her to adjust to others helping her, by staying away a bit.. Also should anything happen that you were ill etc, you would know that she is getting the help. If you continue going and doing the tasks, it is an intentional way of enabling her behavior to refuse help.
Do not allow her to continue to control you and the situation as it is not healthy for her nor you.
This is not unusual behavior that you are experiencing with your mother. Also speak with the staff about how they have dealt with this before. The supervising staff should have professional suggestions for you also.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to janicemeyer18

Some ALs offer more services than others, although there may be a higher fee. If your mother needs someone to "check" on her periodically and empty the commode or assist in her toileting some ALs offer "extra" care to provide this; others do not with some only offering medication management.

Your mother sounds like she is borderline between what a full service AL can offer and needing more attentive nursing care. You may need to find someone to attend your mother in her current AL or start looking for a facility that is a better match for her needs.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to TNtechie

You’re unlikely to convince mom of anything at this stage. It’s up to the professionals to figure out how to care for her. That’s their job.

If she’s beyond their capabilities, she needs a higher stage of care.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Fawnby

Of course she wants you there.
This is natural and understandable.

It is an adjustment for her ... and at 94.
Many of us have a really hard time adjusting to change when we are 20 or 71.

You ask if it is your job? I do not understand why you are asking us this question.
This is a question to ask yourself on how you want to proceed?

I believe what you are asking us here is HOW to handle the situation / your mom's reaction / insistence.
- Talk to her with loving kindness.
- Tell her you understand her wants, needs, concerns. Let her know you hear her ' loud and clear.'
* Even so, with feelings of embarrassment, she will continue to feel the same way UNTIL she feels more comfortable with staff - and she may not ever feel comfortable with staff, although she WILL resign to 'what is' being in facility where others need to manage her hygiene / bathing needs.

I think the only avenue is to give her time to adjust.
Be kind and compassionate. Although do not give in to her demands/requests of you doing ... what staff needs to do.
* If you give in to her and clean her once ... she will continue to expect it. And, she will (has?) learn that by asking or telling you to clean her that you will eventually do it.

While it may or likely MAY NOT matter if you try to use this LOGIC. Mom, if you do not allow staff to clean you, you may end up in the hospital and then hospital staff will need to clean you - on top of whatever medical issues develop (as a result of not being clean(ed up) in the first place. I would phrase this as succinctly as possible - so she understands ... that medical issues may develop (or have) and that others MORE STRANGERS in a hospital will end up cleaning her 'anyway.'

Give her a hug and tell her that PROFESSIONAL staff needs to ensure that she is healthy and safe. These are your priorities for her. She will adjust as she does to the care / facility services you are paying for, although I understand it hurts you to see your mom like this, embarrassed and wanting you to care for her.

Gena / Touch Matters
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to TouchMatters
CaringinVA May 27, 2023
Well said Gena. "Be kind and compassionate. Although do not give in to her demands/requests of you doing ... what staff needs to do." So true. "Give her a hug and tell her that PROFESSIONAL staff needs to ensure that she is healthy and safe." Yes indeed.
You are paying good money for the help of those aides. Just tell the stubborn old gal it’s them or nobody to do that gross job. This should not even be a topic of conversation between you,
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Emma1817
GrannyinVA May 27, 2023
Emma, you might not want to do that. Older people tend to dig their heels in if forced to do anything. Maybe mom does not like the caregivers?
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If your mom is handed a soapy wash cloth, can she clean her private parts?

If not, then she is beyond what any AL can provide.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
JoAnn29 May 19, 2023
Really, you should not use soap in that area. The soap gets into the urethra and causes urinary infections.
See 4 more replies
Of course your mother wishes that you were with her - you probably would too if you were in her shoes.

Your mother needs assistance cleaning herself and it's your responsibility to see that she gets it - whether it's you or someone else.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to southiebella

-demonstrate for caregivers how you have done it in the past & how you expect/want things done; tips are always appreciated
-tell caregivers abt mom; previous career, children, hobbies so that they can distract & chat with her while they provide care. Will give her mind something to focus on other than feelings of embarrassment.
-let her participate, give wash cloth, spray/squirt bottle if able to use so that she can simultaneously help
-tell her, we’re
placing this sheet/towel over you so you don’t feel so exposed & you’re covered up; only expose area of body being washed
-ensure washcloth is folded enough so that only the cloth is felt, no fingers.
-“I hope someone does this for me
when I need it”, “We’re all
gonna need help at some point in our lives”, “we gotta wash well so you don’t get an infection”
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Stephanie48

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