Mom really thinks she baths everyday and isn't incontinent. She refuses help and has been in AL for nearly 3 yrs. with Alzheimer's/Dementia. When we moved her there she was the social butterfly and very happy. Her disease is progressing and in the past 6-8 months she has completely stopped doing anything with others. She sits in her chair all day, and refuses to go to the dining room for meals. Most days she never dresses, and staff has tried everything to get her to do so. She refuses help taking a shower, and says she takes one everyday, but she doesn't. She's gotten incontinent and refuses to wear her depends to bed at night, or during the day if she doesn't have clothes on. She has accidents when she gets up to go to the bathroom, but swears she doesn't. When she does agree to a shower (seldom) she WILL NOT let anyone help wash her, and she isn't able to do a good job herself. Her room stinks. According to the director of nursing, she really wouldn't benefit from being moved to the locked memory care unit, because she's not an exit risk, and so far hasn't been violent. They feel the move would do her more harm than good. She's in a wonderful facility, and they do everything they can to try and convince her to do what needs to be done, but as I said, she really believes she is taking care of herself, and doesn't need help. She has excuses everyday about why she can't get dressed, like "I'm going to relax today, and don't really want to get dressed", or "It's too cold to get undressed, I'm warmer in my robe", or "I think I'm coming down with something". Her doctor has said this isn't terribly unusual behavior for the ALZ patient, and that by law they can't force her to go to meals, dress or bathe. I've tried going over there to try to get her to do these things and she gets nasty with me. It's been suggested that I hire someone to come in to her room everyday at the same time for about an hour or so to do nothing more than be her "special" helper for her hygiene. The doctor thinks that if she has the same person at the same time everyday, and she grows to really like and trust that person, she may agree to the help.

Has anyone else dealt with this? What ideas and such do you suggest, or what has worked for you?
I'm getting desperate.

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Mom's MD sent a bath aide. Mom did not argue with MD orders. That generation seems to think MD's are gods to be obeyed.
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Hugs to you! This is a really frustrating problem!

I like the idea of a hygiene aide to come in at the same time each day. Call her the "beauty aid" and perhaps she can rub on some nice lotion after a bath, polish the fingernails on Wednesdays and the toenails on Thursday -- try to include something "fun" each visit. It might not work at all, but it sounds worth a try.

Withdrawing and not wanting to socialize, go to lunch, etc. is indeed part of the dementia. But I wonder if an anti-depressant might not help. I think that is worth discussing with the doctor.

And I agree that there is no reason to transfer her to memory care. In spite of the name, they don't fix memories there -- she will still think she showered yesterday. A move would be disruptive for her.

The problem with the underwear has got to be solved -- maybe the aid can help with that. But then is it so important that she gets dressed every day? What if she has several nice robes to be comfortable in? Are there any activities she is interested in? Bingo? SIng-alongs? Bible study? The aid could say, this is Tuesday so instead of a robe we are going to get you dolled up today, and you can go to bingo this afternoon.

My mother fought us all the time on taking showers, but she complied immediately and without a complaint when she went to the nursing home. I'm sorry that you are having so much trouble with this.
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