Follow
Share

Mom's ADLs are slipping. She no longer remembers to use soap when I get her to bathe and she no longer remembers to use toothpaste when she brushes her teeth. What "secret" interventions have helped others of y'all that allow your LOs to keep their dignity and still feel "independent" and yet hygienically "safe?"

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
My approach with my LO, who was not my mother, but, a family member that I love, was to be kind and matter of fact. I had to also be firm, because, her idea of going out was to not bathe, not wear a bra and not brush her teeth. So, I would insist and guide her through the activity, using humor and bribes. I'd run water, lather the soap on the wash clothe and hand it to her. I'd hum a song and talk about what a great treat we were going to have later or how I wanted to look at some old photos later that day. I'd keep it cheerful, so she didn't feel embarrassed or that anything was unusual. I'd have to insist on her wearing a bra. I'd promise she could take it off when she returned home and that placated her. It was really like she was a child. But, she didn't realize it. I think it's important to get inside their mind. Looking at things as we would view them it seems one way, but, looking from their eyes, it's not necessarily that way, imo.

I'd also tried to give her as much control as she could handle, so she would still feel vital. LIke, let her pick the color blouse she wants or pick out the shoes she wants to wear. I also would compliment my LO on small things, you sure look pretty in that color. I'd praise her for making good decisions. And, I didn't harp on mistakes, but, say that anyone can have a bladder mishap.

Another thing that I still do, even though she is in late stage dementia now and I really don't know if she understands what is being said, is that I brag about her to others. In the MC, when I visit, I bring up her prior jobs, hobbies, family members, history, talents, etc. I talk about the good times we had, how social she was, what a great family she had, etc. At times, she had forgotten, so she loved hearing these stories. Plus, it gives the MC staff a good idea of who she once was. I've told the Hospice staff too.
Helpful Answer (27)
Report

Thank you, Sunnygirl1! All excellent suggestions. We're just arriving at this new part of our journey. Sure does help having others who are farther along the journey share and input!
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

I know exactly what you mean! ADLs do start to slip and the hygiene issues are a challenge. I use disposable toothbrushes with my mom and she sometimes tries to use them backwards! You have to have a sense of humor especially in the bath. Mom was sitting on a bath chair and I handed her the shower hose to rinse. She accidentally turned it on me and it shot between my legs and hit the far side of the room! We both laughed so hard we could barely breathe! You just have to try to make the situation as non-stressful as possible and roll with whatever happens. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report
pcgirl56 Oct 8, 2018
Love this! Yes, keeping a good sense of humor helps Mom and me both. Thank you!
(0)
Report
Yes Sunnygirl1 is right on point as usual! Every morning before work I lay out my mother's outfit for the day. I turn on her radio that is tuned into her favorite gospel station and I bring her an incontinence pull-up, soap, washcloth and towel. If she is awake, I coax her into the bathroom to start the washing process so that I can make up her bed so when she comes out of the bathroom it is done with a towel for her to sit on the bed while she gets dressed. My mom had a fall in the bathroom at her apartment over 7-8 years ago and so she fears the shower. She will only wash at the sink. I wash my mom on the weekends because I am up too early during the week for work. Other times, I let her do it herself or get the caregiver to step in if mom allows. I leave a "mommy bag" with the caregiver that has extra incontinence pads, her toothbrush and toothpaste, lotion and compression socks in case her feet swells.
It is trying because sometimes she just won't wash or let anyone touch her. We just had a two-day experience this weekend. Patience is key, but SUPER fibs about cleanliness, "the doctor says" and "you don't want anyone to say what's that smell" usually gets mom to take care of her hygiene.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

What a wonderful way to look at things. I think telling the positive stories also helps us as caregivers remember that this was a wonderful person that you loved. How uplifting!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

What a great topic! I’m pretty bad about using the right tack. It sounds like great ideas to lather up the washcloth and put toothpaste on the toothbrush and leave them out like that. I wish more folks would reply, but then again sunnygirl’s reaponse sure covers a lot! And with great spirit. pcgirl, I clean the toilet and sink when I’m shut up in the bathroom, and speed-clean the kitchen counters and sink when she’s in the bathroom. She used to be a great housekeeper and thinks she still is. Best to you. :)
Helpful Answer (1)
Report
pcgirl56 Oct 8, 2018
Thank you. I started preparing her toothbrush twice a day and so far she hasn't questioned how the toothpaste got there. I suppose she thinks she did it and forgot, lol. I also put several pairs of her incontinence pull-ups in what usesd to be her underwear drawer since on her less lucid days she hunts for her panties. The supply is right by her toilet, but sometimes it's either the forest or the trees. I hope more folks will post strategies and I will post anything I try that helps us!
(2)
Report
I so admire all you folks who have answered so far. You inspire me and have given me some new tactics! Thanks to everyone for all the encouragement, too. This is truly a season and a journey.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My 95 year old father lives in a retirement home with his wife and neither of them will accept any help with their personal hygiene. My family and I have never had a good relationship with his wife and she has always dominated my father since they married 38 years ago. We have never been allowed to have any say when it comes to anything regarding my father, fortunately his health has been excellent over the years and still is, but when we try to help now all we get is a shouting match from her. The assisted living does their laundry for them but all they give to them is a few items every couple of weeks. They hang their clothes back up in their closet and continuously wear clothes that never get washed. We have had staff try to work with them and gain their trust but it has done no good at all. They are both on waiting lists for long term care because they can no longer care for themselves. We have been told by various workers that a person can't be made to bathe, shower or wash clothes if they don't want to but I keep feeling it's a reflection on us that they are the way they are and we aren't doing enough. We could care less about her because of the nasty person she is and always has been towards us but have also been very angry at our father for allowing her to treat us the way she has done since they first got married. Because he is our father though we feel it's our responsibility to take care of things for him but it's just not possible.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report
Zdarov Oct 9, 2018
giving, that is very hard and you are doing excellent! You’re just doing what you can, and remember that so many don’t. I don’t know about you, but I do marvel at the simple caring we can find within ourselves despite how the person/people have behaved with us. We can show simple human concern. It is Enough.
(0)
Report
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter