How do I get Mom to bathe?


Mom is 99, living in independent living (but needs to be in assisted living - won't go!) Two years ago she stopped showering and started taking sink baths. Now I notice no wash cloths or towels used, the soap is not shrinking. She is not washing at all. We have forced her to let us wash her feet once in a while because they were so horrid that it was embarrassing to take her to the podiatrist to cut her 1 inch toenails. She has dementia, won't let any stranger into her apartment and resents the housekeeper who cleans once a month. She is always accusing her of stealing, which she isn't. How in the world can we get her to take a shower? She won't let us, she won't let my niece who is experienced in taking care of seniors.

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Ask her doctor to order an Occupational Therapist (OT) who will come out and make recommendations for grab bars and show you how to bathe her. Also watch the Teepa Snow video on youtube about bathing dementia patients.
Helpful Answer (1)

I think this has come up many times before with a lot of good advice. Many elders just don't like to bath because of fear of drowning, water in their face, slipping, falls, privacy and just plain difficulty in completing the task as simple as it seems.

You might hire someone to help her with a weekly bath who has experience to help. The other thing might be to help her by having the right hand held sprayer, lg bath towel pre-warmed in dryer, liquid soap that you put on bath mitt and assist her with moving her arm and hands to get her started on her arms, legs, neck, hair etc.

Is there something special you can bribe her with such as going out for ice cream, a drive, lunch? In which you can say " mom, if you take your bath this morning we'll get a special treat!" Or, I'll let let's get cleaned up and put on your pretty red party sweater and we'll invite Loretta over for lunch today.
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