How to approach my sister (78) about her hygiene w/o offending her?

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Although I am not a caregiver in the 'real' sense of the word I live w/my sister and over the last few years she has developed health issues but is not pro-active in dealing w/them. She is depressed, has bad eye sight, bad back, COPD and the list goes on....I feel a lot of these issues would improve if she consciously would put forth the effort. But she just doesn't do it. Some of me thinks she doesn't Want to get better. She is lazy and likes being waited on, that's her personality. The most offensive is her lack of hygiene. It's come down to once a week for showers, changing bedding and washing clothes about every 3 months. No kidding. She's fine w/me doing the cleaning and washing and kind of feels 'entitled'. I feel an able bodied person should clean up their own personal space, She could do better but she plays the 'my back hurts' card. I feel a lot of her issues are b/c she is not active. She gets defensive when I try to talk w/her. Maybe my approach is wrong? I am not hostile I am honest and she just won't accept that she has prblms. I am thinking real hard about moving out for my own sanity. There is only so much one can do if another is not willing to do for themselves. I could go on for days but you get the picture I'm sure. Any advise?

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Is there any way you could get outside help in to do her laundry and change her bed and/or assist her with showering? Maybe that's a solution if in fact she's medically or psychologically unable to do more. Has she seen a doctor for her depression? Does she follow doctor's orders about her general health care?
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Oh, if she has COPD, maybe she's not getting enough oxygen.
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You sound like a nice person so I'm not surprised that you don't want to offend your sister, but....it may be that offending her would help the situation. Is it fair that you are being clean and you feel bad and she is unclean and has no problem with it. It's mixed up. I think I would be blunt. Hopefully, she would feel a little bad and change her ways, but who are we kidding. I think I would try to find out what is causing the poor hygiene and then decide if I could deal with it.

My cousin used to refuse to bathe. I would ask her about it and tell her point blank that she could not go out without bathing. She didn't want to brush her teeth either. She would get angry, not speak and then lie and say she bathed. She hadn't. She would not do laundry. I checked. I thought it was laziness. Later, I discovered it was dementia. She was forgetting about the bath and was too confused to work the washer. Then I understood. So, we had to assist her with insistence.

Have you noticed any other things that she is doing odd or different from before?

If it's depression, maybe some medication would lift her mood and make her feel like bathing and doing laundry again. Can you ask to attend doctor visit with her and discuss it there.

I would put aside being nice and avoiding hurt feelings. You are family. You have the right to step in. I wouldn't just tip toe around it. Get the facts and try to resolve if possible. If you move out, things will likely get worse for her. Though, I can certainly understand not wanting to stay under the circumstances.
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The once a week shower or bath, if one is continent, doesn't strike me as worthy of remark. Wearing clothes and waiting three months to launder them is not only REMARK worthy, but beyond the PALE.

I've found if I'm matter of-fact with criticism, it works pretty well.

"Strip your bed, I'm doing laundry." Or, "Laundry day, give me your stuff."

Now. If you just don't want to include your laundry with hers, I'd just suggest you move.
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I am not a medical expert but I would think depression has a lot to do with not wanting to get up out of that chair and do things for oneself.

Your sister is probably going through the woe with me, I can't do anything phase. Let's see how would one handle this with a teenager? You take away privileges until they change the bedding and clean up their room, etc. Would that work with someone who is in their 70's? Maybe yes, maybe no.
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