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My dad has Frontotemporal dementia. How do I get him to take a shower? He outright refuses and bribes don't even work. I don't want to force him. Any suggestions?

Maybe the water is a little too cold for him.
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Reply to shad250
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My friends mom refused to go in the shower. It was suggested they get a shower chair, and hand held shower. They started with just doing her feet every couple of days, next time they did a little higher. It took two weeks before they got up to the shoulders. She was terrified when they tried to spray her head. They found out from her sister she had almost drowned as a child. She will go to the hairdressers for a wash and set with the rollers under the big dryer though.
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OldestD Jun 21, 2019
I like your idea of starting bottom to top with the shower. Thanks for this great suggestion!
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Hi OldestD,
My Mother hated to get wet so she didn't like baths and showers and also ,she was very modest too,so I would put Mother in a pair of panties with a matching bra and I'd throw on my swimsuit and we'd both get in the shower together.Then I'd help her wash her back and legs,etc. but when it came time to do the private parts,I'd hand her a washcloth with some soap on it and I'd step out for a moment,then get back in and rinse her all off.
Maybe you or your brother could let your Dad wear his swimsuit or boxers in the shower and one of you all could get in the shower with him and help him wash himself too.
It's a chore,but it feels so good to be clean~ I hope you all find something that works for you too.
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OldestD Jun 21, 2019
Hi luckylu,
This is a great idea! I will suggest it to my brother.
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Use baby wipes right now, then progress to sink baths (we called them bed baths in the hospital), then progress to a shower chair/stool in the bathtub and have a moveable shower head in your hand to use because an actual shower is probably "out".  Make sure of all safety devices in place at all times because a broken hip won't help the situation.  Sometimes, it will take a home health aide to get it done, or if you are a female, then get a male to get in there and do the "deed".  It takes a while, and there will be relapses and you have to go with the flow when that happens.  Yup...I've been there with both parents.  And I am a nurse.  Doesn't make a difference on my "job" status.  Good luck!
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OldestD Jun 21, 2019
We've used baby wipes and he hates the feel of wetness. We did get a shower chair, grab bar, and detachable shower head. It's just getting him in there that's the struggle. We will keep trying. Thanks for the response!
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I don't know if you're a male, but if there is a male relative who could help that would be good, You could center the shower timing around doing the laundry, by saying that the clothes are still being washed and now would be a good time for a quick shower -- sometimes an excuse of one thing is a good enough reason for another. My mother also wouldn't shower, nor were her clothes clean, so I told her we needed to wash her sweater, then her pants and so on, and then helped her take everything off. Put a robe around her and told her I had the shower running. She panicked but after much cajoling and having another family member waiting outside the bathroom to help me, it worked out. I stood there, getting wet, but I was able to help her wash everything including her hair. She was crying to get out...I did everything quickly but also in a way to try to make the mood as light as I could, telling her what a great job she was doing and how nice she would feel etc etc. Make sure you run the water to get it warm enough but not hot. Have a chair in shower, soap and clothe. Also a large plastic cup so he can rinse areas not easily rinsed by the water falling. Make sure the bathroom is also warm enough. Have 2 towels waiting and clothes ready. Then praise the heck out of him!!
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OldestD Jun 14, 2019
No, I'm not a male. I do ask my brother to help but he is a little more rough about it. We even have a hard time getting him to change clothes or wash his hands. His last shower was over 2 months ago. I do prepare everything like you mentioned but he keeps saying he is clean. Thank you for your response. I will keep trying.
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OldestD, as one get older, taking a shower is equal to doing a workout at a gym. It can be very exhausting. I am only in my 70's, and I dread the shower chore :P

Also as one gets older, claustrophobia comes into play. If Dad has sliding glass doors, try to keep the back slider opened a couple of feet to give Dad a more sense of openess. I know I plan to remove my shower doors and go back to a shower curtain. Plus it would make cleaning the tub shower sooooo much easier.

With today's liquid soaps have moisturizers and hair conditioners having oil, that can make the floor of the shower very slippery, even with a bath mat. Does Dad use a shower chair? He might feel more secure doing that.

How often do you want Dad to shower? If he isn't doing any hard labor during the day, then once a week would be ok. Heck, I remember way back when Saturday night was bath night. In-between times, Dad can use baby wipes to clean areas that need a more frequent cleaning.
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OldestD Jun 14, 2019
freqflyer, thanks for the helpful insights. My goal is once/week in the morning. Trying to get him to do it before going to church (which he sits in the car). He will wash his hands (swearing the whole time) to get a car ride. However, he is adamant about not taking a shower. We've tried wet wipes but he fights us on those even after warming them up.
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When are you asking him to take a shower? Does it coordinate with the time that he always took his shower on his own? If you offer it in the morning, was he one that always showered at night, or vice versa? Keeping his routine closer to what he is used to may help.
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OldestD Jun 14, 2019
Hi sandy1955, I agree about keeping his routine. The hard part is, I think he's lost his routine for showering since he has not done it in so long (2 months). At least we've changed his clothes but should I settle for this?
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