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I think taking showers is getting too hard for my Mom. The assisted living facility she lives at will help her (I have offered as well) but she keeps fighting me, and them, on it. Yet, she is spacing them out to the point that she only takes once or twice a week. I'm concerned - especially since she has frequent UTI's. Has anyone got advice on what I can do about this?

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I spent the day with my mother-in-law recently, and I asked her what she would do about someone who refused to bathe anymore. Being she is 85 and has dementia, I thought what the heck? Maybe she has an idea or two still. Her idea was to have a friend of the person, a peer, help with the shower. She said it's hard having her children always tell her what to do, and thought maybe someone 'old' would be better. Who knows? Not me. I did tell her though, that if she ever got like that, I would throw her in the shower and she could scream all day long. She has no friends outside of the family, so she's gonna have to deal with the hosing down, screaming method I guess.
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JoanneSS, my heart goes out to you. Really praying you can get some help. What a Christmas present that would be...
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I had the same problem with my mom. What I found is getting in the shower was the problem for her - it was confining and difficult for her to deal with. Now I put absorbent towels/ blankets on floor by shower. I give her a washcloth with soap on it and she soaps herself down. I use the hand held shower and rinse her off. The blankets/ towels absorb the water and I just throw them in the washer when done. As to hair - I take her weekly to a salon where they wash her hair for $5. Well worth it to save the difficulty with doing it myself.
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I think my reply left too soon, my cat stepped on the key board. I was saying , I am sorry for your loss, it is only a short while.... you must miss her, I know, even with the abuse here, and all that goes with the sickness, I still am thankful she is alive, and still can walk, (with a cane), and somedays, she is nice. Although, she certainly is not the woman I knew and loved so dearly. Her actions certainly alter my ability to hold, and hug and kiss her, I try. Somtimes I can. She switches from one minute to the next, and after calling me horrible names, (names I never would believe a mother would call a devoted daughter), then she wants to hug me, and tell me she loves me,,,, and I'm so guilty for this, but it makes me sick to my stomach. Sometimes, I need to turn away, when she wants to kiss me, because it actually makes me feel like I am going to puke. It is a tough battle, of course, you know. I am so sorry your little Mommy is gone,,,, but remember, she is healed, not suffering, and walking streets of gold in heaven. I'll try to remember that myself. I have no brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, grandparents, so my Mother has been my everything,,,,, all of those wrapped into one,,,,,, all my young life, until I had my own children. Even then, she was my constant companion,,,,,, and I mean constant,,, so this turn around for her is just totally shocking for me to cope with. I do feel trapped, and depressed. Even if I want to go see one of my sons, she wants to go, so it is double the work to get ready, so I dont go. My out of town son, says come and stay with us for a few days,,,,,, he doesnt have a clue, how physically demanding on me that is,,, to get her ready, packed, (all she needs), then myself, then, deal with her outrages, out of town for a few days,,,,, its just the whole scenerio,,,,, it is wearing me down. If you can, enjoy Christmas....... atleast you have closure, and you know Mom is at rest with Dad. I just wish there was more being done medically for this illness, it is horrible for the person that has it. I can see her fear, and her inner suffering. We both suffer. JoAnne
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Dear JoAnneSS, My dear mom just passed away, I buried her on Oct 5, 2009 her little body could not take any more of the illness she died with love and diginty. She is at peace. I go to web site to try and help others. I have not even been able to cry much yet. She was so sick with the ALzheimer/Dementia. She had it for years. Yes mom was up north when I first knew something was wrong, but the doctors said she had only the begining. But i knew it was worse. I had to move her down to Florida. We did before the move set up our own house as child proof. Set up her own bedroom, new bath with safety things and also a room for a nurse if needed. Not knowing how bad she was. we also did look at ten different assisting living places, there was one I kept going back to 5 times. they even had mom over for a meal one day when she came to Flroida. That was for day care or case I could not do it myself. Well only four days and a emergency call had to made to the Fl Tampa rescue unit. I was hit and yelled at by mom and she would not take her medicine and my husband was at work. I called 911 20 fireman where there in minutes. My uncle is a retired firechief in New York and explained what to do in case someting went wrong and I needed help . My husband came home and the fire dept took moms vitals and did hold her down so I could give her medicine and shots to her. It took four men to hleod her. They advised me that my mom was too ill from all the different types of wedicines alone to do it on my own. That Wed we took mom to the assisting living of which I liked. There she was treated with respect, was always clean, always looked nice in her clothers no odor to her or at the place. It was a family type place. She died in my arms Monday Oct 5, 2009 and was sent up to New York and buried with my dad in A VA cementary. I just got back. It is a hard road and I was there for her. However I could feel all her wishes I had to place her in a assisting living where she would be well taken care of and safe.She at peace. beleive me my mom knew me until the very end, and I felt bad about what I had to do. I was there 24/7 if I could. I also did sleep over, came in the day ate dinner with her , then watch Tv with all the residents and was there when she woke up for breakfast. I still go back and visit the other residents of whom I made friends with. it is nice to see a smile on their faces and call me by name. You are not alone. The fighting and yelling will not stop it is not directed to you. You can do only so much. It is in the book. Bless you patrica61
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The book the 36 HOUR DAY is great for all family members to read. it also has a part about planing thing out and what is needed. I read it so many times. it helped me get through mom illness. I still have it close by to read and always advicsed any one who is caregiver to pay it. It also comes in large print and in spanish. The dementia patient does not feel safe at all especially when they may have to go into a hospital. The fear of not knowing what is going on over comes them. It is up to the nursing home to bath him, but you can help or be there. They do not like the idea of the bathing part. It has gone from there sense of mind. It is hard and sad at times. You are doing your best. patrica61
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Bobbi, where is your Mom? Is she with you? Yeah, that showering problem is really rough. Even though I got all the extras, she still doesnt even know when she needs to bathe. Its a little easier, now, but she still makes reference to me being a peeping tom, in there with her. She says awful things, that will follow my heart long after shes gone, even though I tried so hard to take care of her, and protect her. The things she says are piercing..... it is really abusive,,,, and the rest of the family, doesnt contribute at all with their time, and yet she hails them as wonderful.
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It's funny, but today the aid at the nursing home where my uncle lives asked me to try and get him to take a shower. He hadn't taken one in a week, which isn't that terrible. He didn't smell I told him, but he needed to take one tommorrow because it is good for his skin and he doesn't want to get an infection. I told her "good luck" and to let me know. Hopefully, he will remember when asked to take one tommorrow. All good advice and as I'm reading the 36 Hour Day book, it states how especially dementia patients feel unsafe and sometimes don't remember what the tub/shower is even for :(
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Hi Patricia61: So where is Mother now? Is she with you, or in a home? I 'm not sure how long I can continue to do this,,,,,, I promised when she was well, that I wouldnt put her anywhere if something happened,,,, but I never thought it would be this hard. I'm going to have to recruit some help, I cant do this alone. I have no helpers yet. I thought when i said I would always be there for her, we would have coffee in the morning,,,, laugh, share, talk, have lunch, giggle, and just love and share our lives while she was so old. This have been by far the hardest thing I have ever done.... 15- 18 hours a day,( and goes to the bathroom 2-3 times a nite, just to walk around), still making 3 meals a day, and serving her, (I thought when my kids were gone, I could just take care of myself, and my medical needs), but she constantly ridicules me, hits, insults, and I am left to clean bm's off the floor, walls, sink, toilet,,,, left to go find my own underwear, (in her dressers), desk supplies, mail, toothbrush, toothpaste, everything, is handled by her, and she thinks it is all hers. I am just depleated, especially with the arguing, and I must start enquiring where to get help. Christmas is almost here, and I have not even been able to go out once, for the grandchildren, I'm bound to the computer to order. Well, boo hoo,,,,, but I have to plan a better way.
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Dear JoAnneSS, I do know where you are coming from, before mom was even in pull up , even before she got so ill the docotr put her in a hospital and then a nursing home she did some things I was amazed at. It was summerr time I wass up in North on a regular visit to check on mom and she had over thirty pair of underwear hanging on the clothes line. The next day I got up to make her breakfast and found a big pot in the kitchen sick fill with more panties, once again there were now twenty more on the line. When I was cleaning I found even kotex she had went out to buy and use. That is when I went out and got the pull up diapers and explain she she wass having problem getting to the bathroom in time at night wear these they will help you and I also clean up the carpet from the smell due her little problems at night. The smell was also making me ill. She would not wash herself and their was a smell. She was a a very clean person before things happen. When I ask mom where did the kotex come from she said they were mine! Sometime you do what you have do to get through the day trying to stay sane in the mind and stay calm. patrica61
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Oh, you are so funny,,,, I couldnt help but laugh, as i identified my situation with you. It was like a war zone here trying to get my stinkey beloved Mother to wash. Wonder why they cant smell themselves? I was walking through to get to my bedroom (she shares my bedroom, help!!), and I smelled this awful smell,,,,,,, I looked around and couldnt find anything, and the smell, was making me ill,,,,, she spoke up to me, and asked what I was looking for,,,,, and I asked her, if she needed to change her depends. She said NO, i just changed it. I remembered, to ask her where the old one was,,,,,,, and she said "it is under my pillow,,,,!!!! yikes!!!" So, now, I remember always to watch her put her used depends into a plastic grocery bag, and into the compactor.!!!
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My mom did the same, fighting the clean! I had to tell her that she smelled bad. Just is. One of my problems is that I don't do stink. I will literally throw up.
Mom was enraged that I would dare to tell her that she stank but if I was going to get through this we had to address this issue and fast.

I gave her a spritz with Febreeze to be able to get near her and I only had to do that once.

We have worked through our issues and now she gets a shower every other day unless something happens to break that pattern (accident, real hot out).
Every morning she gets a sink wash and clean clothes for the day and she is much happier now because I tell her that a 'sweet smelling mama is always welcome everywhere'.

I know that it is considered 'rude' to tell someone when they smell bad but in my book it is way more rude to have to put up with stench and breath and yuk. The bathing issue was not open for discussion, period. It was tough love all the way but I refused to live with a stinky mama.

Mom 'acted out' when I first started bathing her, acting like I was killing her, and that went on for a few months but I kept the humor going, talking about the different parts as I was scrubbing them. there's the face, the chicken titties, the 'area', the drumsticks, etc.
Here's something that can really work: get one of those handheld shower massage heads. When mom realized that her sore spots got some first class attention, (she has scoliosis) and that she had some pain relief she was really into it.
I also put beautiful grab bars and a nice shower chair in the tub so she feels secure. The fear of falling can keep someone out of the tub for good reason and then you do the cat's bath in the sink.

oh..and my mom used to get uti's all the time but since I've been scrubbing her, not once! With the dementia sometimes they wipe the wrong way and really cause themselves problems. Her 'area' is clean and shiny!! This is also a way to stay on top of things like bedsores, etc. Old people get infections on their skin because nobody ever saw the bedsore get started in the first place because mom or dad won't let anyone touch them.

this is so totally wierd, but what are we supposed to do?

Good luck. Aside from dropping her off at a do it yourself car wash with a roll of quarters.....


Be good to yourself,
Bobbie
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My mother fights me when it was time to shower also, telling me, I'm not the boss, I stink, hitting me with her cane, etc.... until I purchased a slip free pad, (its thick and cushioney), and a strong comfy seat she can sit on, in there, and a hand held shower head, and she loves it. No more shower problems. I back away, and tell her, just call me when you need me,,,, (I pretend I am brusing my teeth, right near her, and pretend I am busy, so she thinks she is on her own) I keep glancing, without her seeing me look over there. It works great!!
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It is hard to get someone who is in assisting living to get into a shower. I beleive they fell like they are unable to do things any more. It is hard to watch them shower them at times especially when they fight with the staff and you. But it needs to be done. Self respect is someting no one wants to loose even it is from Alzheimer/Dementia or any other kind of illness. There are some staff members that have that extra care touch. My own mom just passed away and she fought with the asssisting living she was in for two years alot,( she was in assisting living home that was like a home life style). bring her some special baby shampoo, a nice smell cologne, may be some lotion or powder to put on after her shower. Don't get made or upset just talk to her with love and care and say how about a shower with the girls or yourself if you can do it. You can only try the best you are doing.
When mom first came to Florida we had a new tub place in our bathroom that was safe, however she was dead weight for me and she was covered in pee from her hair to feet. I try the bath but I then got a seat for the bathroom and used that in the shower stall. That is easier for them a shower.patrica61
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Thank you to all that responded to my question. Those were excellent suggestions! When I was sick with a fever the other day and couldn't go over there, things kind of came to head with this issue. She had diarrhea issues and the Nurse's Aide came down and gave her a shower. Luckily, this was her favorite one and my Mom didn't fight her on it. I have just added showering twice a week and getting help with her daily dressing on to her care plan. I have asked the facility she's at to have this same person do it the first little bit so my Mom can get comfortable with it. All as I can do now is pray that it all goes smoothly and know that if it doesn't, I have your comments to fall back on!
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I have the same problem with my wife. She used to shower every day, but now resists taking a shower and washing her hair just once per week. But she's fastidious when it comes to avoiding dust on anything in the house -- divergent views. We have grab bars and a stool in the shower area and I tell her that she needs to be clean for when people visit. But it's a perpetual struggle. She does wash herself thoroughly but can't reach her feet due to a back operation. My technique is to keep reminding her of the need to shower and compliment her when she does, but it's a very imperfect technique.
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I'm wondering if full showers are necessary? Perhaps she is struggling with insecurity, safety in the shower, feeling like she has lost some control. Is it possible that a simple wash up at the sink would be good? Many times the people I care for are so much more at ease when I do all of the "prep" before I even mention that it's time for her to wash up.

I make sure she has a nice sturdy chair near the sink, a warm bathroom in which to wash up, a nice fluffy wash cloth and towel. I make sure the soap she's using is pleasing in smell to her (or no smell, depending on her preference). I make sure the water is warm. I de-clutter the counter top and make sure she has room for all that she needs. Make sure her favorite lotion is nearby.

Then I might suggest you say something like, "Mom, I got some of your favorite lotion for you today. It's been so cold (or dry) lately that I thought we might both like a hand massage today/tonight. Maybe after you wash up today/tonight we could put on some of that lotion, what do you think? Where should we put this bottle of lotion, Mom?" (Take her into the bathroom so she can show you where to put it. Once in there, say, "Mom, I got out a nice washcloth for you. This would be a good time to go ahead and wash up. Can you go ahead and get started with this or would you like me to help you?"

If she fights it, resist the urge to fight back. Just say, "Ok Mom, we'll do this whenever you're ready." Then go find something else to do with her, or take her to the kitchenette for something to drink, etc. After a couple of tries, she'll be ok with it. Just try hard not to make it a fight.

Sometimes I have to remember that generations older than me didn't always shower every day. That might be what she's remembering.

I know you're worried about the tendency for UTIs. Ask your mother's physician if an increase in liquids would help? Would a cranberry supplement help? Are there other options? It's great that you care so much about her!
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