My husband just turned 72 and was diagnosed with early stage of Alzheimer's in 2000, but i knew something was going on before then. It's a weekly struggle to get him to shower & shave even though he's still able to do himself. He says he doesn't do anything to get dirty, but he looks awful and it's not normal or healthy to go a week or some times 10-14 days if i let him until i get on him. He wasn't always like this & i can't stand it!!!

Find Care & Housing
I had a conversation with my husband about how often he thought he should shower and discussed the fact that skin sheds without you knowing it and you don’t actually have to be “dirty” like a construction worker. We both agreed on how refreshing it is to shower. The fact is with his memory problems he keeps thinking he did just shower so we made a plan that both of us would write on the calendar when we showered, sharing the “forgetfulness” and need to take showers. It has been workin.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to KathleenQ

The only way I can get my 79 year old client ( for a few years now) to shower is by telling her she ASKED me to come over and be there while she showered—- and here I am! She ASKED me to come.
That seems to make her feel she’s still calling the shots —- and she USUALLY will gladly comply. For this shower and clean clothes to take place, it’s the only way I have found to make it happen.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to RobinO1961

My husband was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia four years ago. I hope it isn't offensive to say I recognize your stage of caregiving. I was there. It's denial. With every loss - no way, he's got to see this isn't right, I DON'T want do to that for him! Because putting all the flowery "I am a caregiving angel" stuff aside, none of us wants to do this. We want our partners back. And we can't have them back. We are losing our partners and gaining someone who needs more and more physical care. Someone who isn't even nice about getting the care. So take a deep breath, acknowledge your grief for the life together you are losing, and figure out how to deal with each disability as it happens. Practical suggestions: my husband disliked forceful showers. I had a handheld shower head with a valve to lower the water pressure installed I replaced the tub shower with a walk-in shower. I take my husband for a walk or to the gym and come home saying "it's time to hit the showers!" and help him in the shower. I preheat the bathroom because he's very sensitive to cold now. I give him a stack of hand towels to dry with because he can't handle bath towels. There are probably barriers you can figure out that make showering hard for him. Sometimes an OT can make suggestions.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Pressurized

Debshiff: As your DH's (Dear Husband's) brain is broken, he is going to continue to require prompting for showering and shaving. I am sorry that he's suffered from Alzheimer's for four years.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Llamalover47

You will benefit from going to Teepa Snow's website to learn about dementia - and how to interact / communicate with a person inflicted with dementia.

* You may not be able to 'get' him to shower w/o support. As things progress, reminders may not help either as he may be resistant (due to confusion, depression, fear of water (it happens).

I would recommend that you start with getting someone in there - a care giver - a neutral 'professional' person that your husband may relate well to - (a man for showering likely best).
- He may also be resistant to anyone else caring for him (caregiver needs in general or more personal such as showering). However, you need to take care of YOURSELF, too. And consider how things are moving along - more reminders, more resistance, more frustration for the both of you.

You might first try introducing a new person / care provider 'as your old friend' and see how that goes. Even two showers / hyigene needs a week might be enough (for bathing / shaving).

You do not want to be in or involved in a 'struggle.' You need to let that go.
You need to learn how to work with him - not try to push (counter-productive - won't work).

Learn to be patient (as I am sure you already are / trying to be) as well as learn that you need to STEP BACK when the struggle starts. Let it go. If you need to, shift to a bed-bath. "fighting' with him will not get his needs met. You need to learn other ways - by trial and error.

Always give yourself a lot of compassion and breaks.
This is very hard and painful for you. It is a process of grieving really.
Allow yourself to have some time for you; get out as you can (a caregiver will be good for you/r respite) even if a couple of hours a week or a 'one day off a week' as you might be able to manage / do. You need to take care of yourself.

Lastly, see if. there are any dementia support groups in your area.
That may help you a lot.

Gena / Touch Matters
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to TouchMatters

Please do him and yourself a favor and speak with his PCP about these challenges and, observed behaviors. The PCP needs to be kept informed of the challenges in the home so that they can further assess the pt decline. Have the PCP complete a
" level of care needs assessment" on your husband and, go from there with possible new needed home care assistance. For example perhaps it may be time for PCP to refer you to a home health care agency ( ies) for assistance in the home with what they call " ADL' S" ( Assist daily living skills) .....
This is all important for your well being ( emotional, spiritual etc) also .

Also speak with Alzheimer's Support group or having home health support in the home will give you an added path to education about Alzheimer's changes, challenges etc.

Bathing is one of the challenges observed with dementia patients. His PCP or home health care nurse skilled in Alzheimer's care can speak with you more about this

Practice good self care !!!!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to janicemeyer18

A friend's parents went through this.

Councelling was offered to the Wife. "HE's the problem!" she said.

They helped that lady to look at what he could still do. To explain that skills to start a task (initiate) fade.
To be thankful he could still shower himself, even with reminders.

Next would come battles over washing. A bath aide would be needed 2-3 times a week. (My folks have had this situation for a few years now).

After that comes full care for bathing, eating & toileting.

It is an awful progressive condition. I am sorry.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Beatty

He will never be able to do it without reminders. As you've seen, dementia gets worse not better. I would hire an aide to come in once or twice a week to help him with the shower/shaving routine.

So sorry he has early onset. That's really the worst.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to againx100

24 years he has had ALZ?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JoAnn29
againx100 Jan 24, 2024
Her post says he's 72
Here's my humorous answer - take a shower with him.

Serious answer - making bathing a part of his usual daily routine. Use the same cleaning products, the same linens, and offer to help wash his back. You might also offer to help him shave. Many men like a shave with warm, wet towel treatment beforehand and a nice lady doing the duties. If he sees cleaning up as a treat, he might be more amenable.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Taarna

Debshiff, your dear husbands brain is now beyond broken, and all the reminding in the world isn't going to get him to do what you want him to do. Surely you've learned that by now since he's now had Alzheimer's for over 14 years.
It's now time that you take the proverbial bull by the horns and start doing these things for him yourself.
I had to help my late husband in the shower, wash him up, help him out and dry him off. I also had to shave him myself after I couldn't take his scruffiness any more.
And you don't ask your husband, you just tell him that it's time for a shower and shave and then lead him in the bathroom.

And of course if you're not comfortable doing the above, you can always hire a CNA to come out and give him a shower and shave twice a week.
And you can also use the extra large body wipes and waterless shampoo and conditioner caps for the in between shower days. They work great and both can be ordered on either Amazon or
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to funkygrandma59
Atlasshrugged Jan 24, 2024
I agree. My husband also says he is not dirty. We have settled on one day a week, Sunday before dinner between 3-4 o’clock. I start on Saturday night telling him tomorrow is “shower day”.Then remind him on Sunday a couple of times. No dinner until the shower is done. All his clothes go in the hamper. I wash his hair, feet, and legs. Then remind him of the other parts. Funny thing is, I have a hard time getting out of the shower. He likes to stand in the hot water. I had to turn the hot water heater temp. down, as he won’t get out until the water gets cold.
Call your husbands primary doctor and request home health services. Explain that he is difficult for you to manage. He will be evaluated for services. If they can help him, he will have a nurse once a week to check his vitals and set up his meds. The nurse can arrange for him to have a bathing aide who will bath him and shave him. She can change his bed linens. He will bathe when the aide is there and you will just need to have his clean clothes ready. You can also ask he receive physical therapy. This will give you a layer of help. Medicare Part B covers this if he has original Medicare. It is a benefit of his insurance. If he doesn’t have original Medicare, call his insurance to see what service is provided. For someone who wants to live at home as long as possible, home health is very helpful. It is not custodial care.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to 97yroldmom

Without reminding him?
You don't really.
And you are lucky if it works to remind him.
Sometimes, for some people, the worst person to deal with them is family. You can try an aid once a week to help with cleanup, someone strong who will just kind of muster him into the shower and take care of things. But overall you may be looking forward to in facility care. I am so sorry.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Debshiff Jan 21, 2024
Other than his hygiene and the short memory issues i guess i'm lucky. I'm not looking forward to the day when he can't do for himself at all. I will continue to care for him as long as i'm able to. I just told him 2 hrs ago & laid his clothes out, but so far nothing. He's obsessed with that darn TV!!
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter