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Mother has a myriad of health issues, mobility (or the lack thereof) being topmost.


She lives with YB, he chose this path and we other sibs jump in where we can and help. Still, 80% of her care falls to him.


I have been driving her to her beloved BINGO days at the Sr Center which is literally less than 5 minutes from her house. Just from 10 minutes in my car, her body odor is so profound and nasty I have to air out my car and practically saturate the seats with Febreze. Still, the odor lingers. (It comes primarily from her 'strap on' catheter bag which she is too cheap to replace.) She cannot clean them appropriately and so they always have a few ounces of old urine in them. Her apartment smells so bad if I go to visit her I won't sit in the apt for more than a few minutes. The smell is in deeply imbedded in everything.


OK--I can live with that--and her lies that she is showering 4 times a week when I know she hasn't showered in a month or more. (She refuses aides).


The other day she said she's had such a nice hot shower that morning..and so I went into the bathroom and there was a stone dry shower and towels. When you have COBWEBS in the shower, you know it's not being used.


This week is my niece's wedding. It will take place in a very small room--and mom's overhwhelming smell is GOING to be noticed. After the ceremony there is a family dinner, also in a smallish-room.


I'm not wanting to offend her in any way--but her smell is so bad---old urine, primarily. I KNOW she's not washing her privates,, she can't reach. Sometimes she has bowel incontinence and the depends just doesn't contain the smell.


What to do? Brother has 'spit bathed' her many times, but never done an 'undercarriage' wash, to my knowledge.


I do not see myself doing this--or even approaching her about it--but I think of my darling niece and I KNOW the smell will be very powerful and I do not want this long awaited wedding to be ruined b/c mom can't/won't wash.


Luckily she has a new dress to wear, so the smell has not permeated that.


She's nose-blind and so she cannot smell herself.


This is the first time in 2 years she has gone 'out' into the world and she is so excited. I am pre-embarassed for her.


I'm going to take her to a beauty shop on Tues to get a 'woman's haircut', YB has been taking her to a barber shop and her haircuts are awful. That I can do---this other...IDK.


Help! It may seem silly, but very likely the last time she'll see all the family in her life and I don't want it to be remembered that she smelled awful.

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Welp--

Took a deep breath and called YB yesterday and had a straightforward discussion with him.

End result ( and we'll see how this plays out) he is going to get mom in the shower on Wed night and make sure she scrubs EVERYWHERE. He also told me that he had let the cath bags replacment just 'go' b/c his own health is so poor. He is definitely a character--and HAS to be in charge. Yes, there are some mental health issues afoot, but I can't dx him and I sure as heck don't get why he's SO opposed to letting mother have help that is 'not him'.

He SAID he ordered 2 new bags and will be sure she's wearing a brand new one. And that she would have a 'double shower' meaning wash, rinse & repeat. He agreed that she is now incapable of doing for herself what needs doing. Whether that means we can now hire some help for her or not is going to be the next thing.

I am taking a bar of LUME soap up to her. I know I've mentioned this fabulous product before, but it really does keep odors 'down there' at bay for up tp 72 hrs.

I also talked to OS, & she will throw money at ANYTHING but won't go hands on, so she just said "so she stinks, big deal"...and I knew she didn't care.

I feel I have done everything I can and I just pray that YB follows through.

I appreciate the place to vent and get ideas. If we had a normal family, mom would have help and her apt and she wouldn't smell so awful. My other YB is a total Dr No Shot and will not step in for anything. YS will not be at the wedding, so she won't be aware of any drama.

Mom did refuse the hair stylist, so it is what it is. I won't fuss that.

Thanks for all your support.
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SamTheManager Jun 4, 2021
I don't know if you've already been to the wedding by now but I just want you to know that it's pretty likely no one has "a normal family". I too am glad to be able to read these comments and learn things. I don't comment all the time because I'm sort of new to all of this. It's been this last year that my mother has needed a whole other level of care. Reading other people venting is actually very helpful. We're all going through similar things.
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Nowhere in your post did I see that anyone has flat-out told her she smells horrific. Has anyone done that?

My mother, too, wouldn't bathe properly, but I ended up doing it. You just get some gloves, close your eyes, and think of England. It made a world of difference.

If your mom isn't cognitively aware of her smell, it's a kindness to make her aware of it and fix the issue before she's embarrassed at the wedding.
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Midkid58 May 30, 2021
No, nobody has mentioned it. She is totally nose-blind--SIL keeps 2 very strong smelling wax melt air fresheners in the hall going to mom's apt. It barely cuts the smell. Mom hates the smells of these---b/c I think in some part of her brain, she thinks SIL is doing this to offend her.
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Midkid58, I LOVE the way you write- compassionate and classy.

I wonder if you could find a SPA of some sort? YMCAs around here sometimes have special days, SilverFoxes, that kind of thing?

I’m sitting here thinking about how nice it would be to have a simple reasonably priced place with some elegant (but low priced) touches, where our elderly could be both pampered AND also cared for in terms of bathing needs.

Could you possibly sell her on the idea of someone coming in especially for the BIG DAY to help her bathe, dress, do her makeup …? Someone beautifully dressed herself, savvy to the needs of the elderly, who could encourage a lovely steamy shower…..

Wish I could come up with something better, hope YOU are feeling top notch, and hope the wedding is a lovely, special, perfect day for all involved.
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Midkid58 May 30, 2021
This is a good possibility. We would have to do it the day before, as she is very weak and will be in her wheelchair all day on the wedding day.

Probably it will all fall on my sisters and myself.

I think I will hand it off to my OS, who cannot be offended and can just get down and do what needs doing.
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Wedding is today--in fact I am about to hit the showers myself to get ready. It will be a long day as the ceremony is at 1 pm then the family dinner is at 5 and the reception will be from 7-9. I won't hang out for all the fun, I'll be done in myself!

Will mother be bathed appropriately? Who knows? I can't worry about it and I won't.

To answer about YB's weird relationship with mother: she was a very hands off mother and was barely present for our lives--we kind of raised each other. YB felt esp ignored, and he was, so that is probably the core of his 'abusive/loving' care of mother. She drives him absolutely bonkers and when it came time to downsize her and daddy (daddy had Parkinsons) he built on to his home and took them in. The family vote was for them to live in an AL condo type facility, but YB talked them into moving in with him. It's a decision he has regretted everyday since.

People think he and his wife are angels. Truth is, they are kind of neglectful AND backdoor mean. Mom HATES SIL and SIL just ignores mom. YB is just checked out as far as mom's care the last 5+ years and does the minimum, but nothing more and WILL NOT allow outsiders in. Mom complains incessantly about both of them, but she never follows through with anything. I'm not going to the mat for her ever again as far as her needs not being met. Both YB and myself were seriously abused by an OB whom mother defends to this day. Not enough therapy in the world to make that be OK, but I'm functional now and not in a constant anxiety spiral. (OB died 10 years ago--no closure on that).

I HATE HATE HATE family drama, but it's there, isn't it? I feel like often I am the only one who 'cares' and I 'care' very little. TBH.

As far as this amazing deodorant--LUME is sold online, just google it and try out a couple of scents, or no scent. Comes in soap, deodorant and now freshening wipes. It's AMAZING stuff. For elders who simply cannot clean themselves everyday--it is a godsend. I do wish it were a spray also--but part of it being so natural means it probably will never be an aerosol. (Warning--the ads are a hoot, but maybe a bit much for older people.) I'm addicted to this stuff. While I still shower daily, I take a few meds that make my urine smell strongly and this stuff cuts down the smell like 90%. (I"m probably overly sensitive to smells). It's said to last 72 hrs--though I've never gone that long w/o washing.

I should get paid for the word of mouth advertising!

Off to the races--and thanks to all of you who weighed in on this weird dilemma. Once the wedding stuff settles down we ARE meeting as sibs. Mom cannot go on with the half-hearted care and she has money for aides. If she refuses them one more time, then I'm done.
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sp19690 Jun 3, 2021
Have a good time at the wedding and eat a piece of wedding cake for everyone here!
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I have a nephew with a problem. He is not allowed in my car unless he has showered top to bottom. That what is what I would have told Mom long ago. I would also be honest. Mom you stink. Can't take you to get ur hair done or to the wedding til you get a good shower. But this will be hard to do now.

If u can get her to shower use a shower chair with a handheld shower head. Rinse her down and then suds her up good. I had My Mom stand up facing the wall holding on to the bar, and wash her behind then spread her legs and use the shower head to get up there.

I actually get nauseated around people with bad BO problems.
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Midkid58 May 30, 2021
Me too. Her whole apt reeks, but she never leaves long enough for us to seriously clean it and throw out some the old cath bags. I shot an email off to YB and asked him to step in.
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I am not trying to be rude but does your younger brother who lives with her have issues? I cannot imagine anyone being able to put up with that smell and lack of hygiene if they are if sound mind. Maybe he is not the best person to be living with and taking care of her since things are so out of control there. I would not let her anywhere near my wedding smelling like that. She will ruin the entire day for her granddaughter if you let her go and she needs to be told

Unless it is not at her place that new dress probably smells to since the odors latch onto everything. I had totes with clothes and blankets prior to a move and there was a leak under the house that the landlord refused to fix so there was a constant odor of must and mildew and mold in the air when we got to our new place sure enough everything in those totes smelled like that house even though things were washed and clean that were put in the totes.
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The wedding day went well and mom had showered HERSELF and done an OK job. YB checked. We wound up being in a much larger room than I had thought we'd be assigned to and never stayed in one place very long--she definitely smelled, but you had to get really close to her. YB had her in a wheelchair and she can barely hold her head up anymore, but she was THERE and did get to see niece get married.

The reception/dinner was at a venue about 45 minutes away---I left early b/c it's a notoriously bad stretch of freeway and brother left as late as possible so mom didn't have to stay 'up' any longer than necessary. They missed the ring/vow ceremony and were over an hour late to the dinner, but they made it. Mom was furious about the lateness, but there was a bad accident on the freeway and everything was shut down for 45 minutes.

As much as she wanted to be front and center at the ring ceremony, she missed it completely and, well, it is what it is. OS and I were 'singles' and sat together, which was nice b/c I never see her...the whole thing was lovely and LONG and we both commented that we were so glad we're both through with weddings for our own kids.

All in all--tho mom was very disappointed in the fact she missed a big part of the day-- she probably did as much as she possibly could. SIL said she complained the entire drive---so I was very glad I had not offered to take her. The room where the dinner was, was big and the doors were open---so my over concern was not a real worry. It could have been, but wasn't. YB said it did open his eyes to the fact her hygiene is failing and he might be amenable to some aides--we'll see.

Sigh of relief. And possibly a change in how YB lets others help. He is now on oxygen, post COVID and will be for life. His health is as bad or worse than mother's.

Thanks for the support! It was a small thing, but it's these small things that make us crazy in elder care, isn't it?!

You guys are great :)
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Could you hire a caregiver to bath her? If she has accidents, wouldn’t she have accidents at the wedding?
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Midkid58 May 30, 2021
One thing YB and she will NOT allow is 'strangers' coming in to help. Otherwise, this would not be an issue at all!
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Who will mom "hear" about this issue?

Bride/niece? One of your daughters? Anyone?

Someone needs to draw a line in the sand and tell mom she can't come to the wedding unless she bathes completely and has a new cath bag. That should be the bare minimum in terms of hygiene for coming into a crowded venue.

I agree that a lovely "spa day" would be a great idea. Just don't know if you have something like that near you.

Might the Adult Day Care director have some ideas?
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Isthisrealyreal May 30, 2021
I would become unhinged if someone wearing a cath climbed in the hot tub at the spa. Just saying not everyone is okay with spending hundreds of dollars to have their day ruined.
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Hugs to you, Mid.

Praying that you all have a wonderful time at the wedding.

You are a dang trooper, and an inspiration on this forum!
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