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My sister-in-law is 79 years old and has dimentia. I live in her and help support my brother. I am not able to get her bathe or brush her teeth. Do you have suggestions as to how to get her in a hygiene routine?

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Another thought is post clean-up, post tooth brushing rewards. What does she still like to do?
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These are hits on similar posts. You can use the search function (click on the 3 parallel lines, upper left corner, on the tool bar.

Search term: "no shower alternatives":
https://www.agingcare.com/search.aspx?searchterm=no+shower+alternativs

Search term: sponge bath alternatives:
https://www.agingcare.com/search.aspx?searchterm=sponge+bath+alternativs

Search term: "no rinse products":
https://www.agingcare.com/search.aspx?searchterm=no+rinse+products


Search term: "bathing elders":
https://www.agingcare.com/search.aspx?searchterm=bathing elders

Search term: "elder won't bathe:"
https://www.agingcare.com/search.aspx?searchterm=elder+won%27t+bathe

Some of these hits will provide overlapping/duplicate posts, but there are enough that you can get a good idea how others have addressed the bathing issue.

Look especially for the suggestions on making cleaning a pleasant experience by playing your sister's favorite music, getting her in the mood, and using treats afterward to make the whole experience more pleasant. With dementia, you can't necessarily reason, so try to appeal on a more basic response level.

I'd try the same thing with teeth brushing but also have a dental checkup done to ensure that her teeth aren't in need of attention or that she has other issues which might cause discomfort when eating. You might also consider getting an electric toothbrush and helping her hold it in her mouth.

Does she have any coordination issues that might affect brushing her teeth? Sometimes weakness in arms and just standing and holding a toothbrush can be tiring, so it's easier to just not brush.

You might also consider the "swish and spit" method; get some good quality mouthwash that doesn't smell like a combination of strong medicines and try that. It might at least get some of the accumulated debris from her mouth.

You could also try searching "dementia and bathing", "dementia and hygiene", or similar terms.

But there are a lot of posters here with dementia experience and I'm sure they'll offer suggestions as well, beyond the basic search functions.
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Ann, sometimes we need to bite the bullet and hire a "bath aid" from a caregiving agency. These caregivers are really good at getting a person to take a bath/shower. Would this be something that your sister-in-law could afford?

With dementia a variety of things could be happening. The person could become scared of falling in the bathtub or shower... they could dislike the feel of the water coming out of the shower.... and some become claustrophobic to a shower stall.
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