How do I get my Mum to wash?


She is refusing to wash, I don't know if it is because she get scared or if she just simply doesn't want to.

Either way she smells and I don't want her to get an infection, i am lucky if i can get her to change her clothes more than once a week. When we have visitors I hand her the wet wipes and she will rub her face.

Does anyone have any suggestions to coax her into the shower or any alternatives?

She can get violent sometimes too. Its my dad that is the main carer and i really do feel for him.


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Owlyjen, this is a very common problem. Even with my dad before his stroke. If you look on the top right corner, there is the search box. You can find so many people asking this question and some of the various answers. This is a very very good way in finding answers. I do this all the time when I'm trying to find answers. Sometimes, I would have searched through 5 pages of scrolling the pages and using other 'search words' trying to find the answer to my specific question. I've learned one thing - when you find something interesting, copy and paste the weblink to your WORD file. Several times I forgot to do this. Then when I wanted to go back to that article, I couldn't find it! Very very frustrating... And I've been here for 3 years.

One quick search, and I found this:
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I can't give much help on bathing but as far as hair washing goes will Mum let you brush her hair?
If yes then invest in a natural Boar bristle hair brush and don't panic about washing hair. I was very ill for 3 weeks and couldn't wash my hair during that time. I did though get someone to brush my hair twice a day gently but thoroughly.
The brushing distributed the natural oils right through my hair and stopped my scalp itching. After 2 weeks my hair looked as though I was shampooing as normal. Now 2 months on I keep this routine if I've been out somewhere then I wash my hair in apple vinegar but to be honest my hair's never looked better.
If you really feel that Mom's hair must be washed and she hates it then you could try combing it in to sections and "wash" each section that's less daunting than the whole lot being done. Good luck
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I just get so upset, this disease is horrible , I'll give Nilaqua a go.
Where did you get it from?
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I am in the same situation as you, I think that everyone has dealt with someone suffering from dementia can relate to this post in one way or another.

My mum refuses to wash all the time, I tried all sorts, music in the tub, offering treats, nothing really worked. So i searched online for alternatives to the traditional wash.

Found some dry shampoos, they weren't much good, mums hair looked cleaner but in reality it was just made it dry for the day and even greaser the next day. We also use baby wipes but I read online that wipes just spread the bacteria around rather than removing it.

Anyway, I found Nilaqua , its like a towel off body wash, it works really well, im not quite sure how it works, but the smells and dirt are gone with the liquid as you towel it away. It is especailly good as my mum doesn't always recognise me so the thought of taking her clothes of infront of a "stranger" scares her. On those bad days it means i can wash her in a vest at least. They have shampoo and body wash, may be worth having a look.

Just remember, its okay not to be perfect x
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Oh, I forgot to add that it may be that your mom's illness has progressed so that she's not mentally able to bathe on her own. She likely needs gentle assistance and insistence.

She may not need a bathe everyday though. Most people who don't exert themselves physically, may do fine with a bath once a week. You can read more about that here.
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I see on your profile that your mom has dementia. Refusing to bathe is a common problem with dementia patients. I think there are many tips on this site on how to deal with it.

I think the wet wipes are a good idea. You might also try to figure out if there is anything in the bathroom that scares or bothers her. Is it warm? Are the lights too bright? Some suggest that you try a short bath from the sink while leaving her partially clothed. Some don't like taking all their clothes off at once. Try playing soothing music during the time or talk about pleasant things such as a nice treat when the bath is over.

You might also discuss her resistance with her doctor. If it's anxiety that is overwhelming her with the baths, maybe medication could help her feel more relaxed and open to the baths.
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