How to help with showering in a house where they have no access to a shower? - AgingCare.com

How to help with showering in a house where they have no access to a shower?

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We live with my mom in my family home. All the tubbed/shower bathrooms are upstairs and she refuses to let me utilize a disabled shower in the kitchen. She says it’s too cold and she is too modest to stand naked in her kitchen to shower. We have a half bath downstairs where she can use a washcloth but she says it hurts too much to stand for long periods so she only washes her hair when I take her to the beauty parlor and rarely washes herself. I’ve offered to take her shower chair to my sister’s house where they have a basement bathroom with a shower. But she won’t do that either says she is afraid she’ll fall. Basically it’s been nearly two months since she bathed herself and she smells terrible. I don’t know how to say it to her without hurting feelings or upsetting things. There is nothing wrong with her physical cognitive abilities other than her still grieving over my dad’s unexpected passing in 2016 and her own declining physical health. Any suggestions?

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My mother no longer walks with out assistance. In the morning I wake her and walk her to the toilet. While she is on the toilet I can get down to business. I put a soft long towel over her lap and legs to help her feel modest and comforted. I put a hand towel in her hand and I have the sink ready with warm water running. I start with her face, hair, then rinse clothe well. She will automatically begin to dry her face with the hand towel bc she hates to feel wet. I sing and talk to her to reassure her the whole time and explain each processes right before I do it and as I’m doing it so she is not surprised. Then I brush her teeth, I have a little cup for her to rinse with and spit the water into when finished. All while she is seated. Then I wash upper body, neck, armpits, chest, arms belly and back, then quickly rinse with warm water wash cloth to wash off soap. While she tries to dry her front I use another hand towel to dry her arms and back ect. Then I repeat process whith legs and feet. I admit legs don’t get done every day. And feet I sometimes do while she is in bed bc it is easier on my back. Once that is done I stand her up “to wipe” now that potty time is over. After she is wiped with toilet paper and baby wipes I then do a quick and gentle wash on front to back personal area. Rinse well with warm water wash cloth, dry well, baby powder then sit her back down for dressing or put her undies on and walk her clean to bedroom for dressing. It sounds like a lot but you get into a routine and get faster and better. I set out everything I need on counter before I get her up. It is important to be gentle and soothing but quick. It helps with the embarrassment and the discomfort of sitting too long on the toilet seat. It’s not ideal but it works and having mom dirty is not an option. Good luck. I hope this helps 💗
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GAinPA Aug 7, 2018
Your routine is lovely. Compassionate and well thought out.
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How about using the half bath? Make sure it is cozy warm. Use an over the toilet bowl basin filled with warm soapy water for her to sit in. While she is sitting, hand her a freshly wetted, sudsy disposable facecloth for her face, underarms, arms. After each area lightly rinse cloth with warm water to to keep it warm. Keep reinforcing the routine by saying “doesn’t that feel good?” Don’t expect a positive reply, but keep working through the process: hand her small towel to wipe each area so she stays warm. See how it works out on a daily basis, and see how much she can cover. Just work on getting it setup as a pleasant routine first and improvise as you go to see how much body area she can do on her own. Don’t give up, relax and gradually slip her into getting comfortable with the experience.
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This is something that we are dealing with ourselves. I have a half bath downstairs close to my laundry room that my parent uses daily. Because of the resistance to bathing, we wait until they enter the bathroom After parent uses the toilet and when pants are down. we enter and gently disrobed. (we are hovering right outside the partially open door). We have found that getting in at the right time really reduces the resistance and parent is very compliant. The sink is right there and we have that full of warm water. We use microfiber washcloths (find that they are very gentle). We rapidly clean and rinse. Most of the water falls into the toilet and some doesn't. We have nonskid rug on the floor and really don't mind that it gets wet. I keep a large terry cloth bathrobe to wrap parent in quickly and get them to leave the bathroom for clean clothes. We don't start any of this unless all moving parts are in place. Clean clothes are set out, Bathrobe, washcloths, soap and shampoo are all within arms reach because this is like a strike force and has to get done smoothly and quickly.
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GAinPA Aug 7, 2018
Strike force indeed! (Mission well done!). Hovering at the closed door, lol, waiting for the critical moment. Wham, bam, back into clean clothes before the bowl flushes. High five!
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Dear Kthomas629,
My mom was 94 and was exactly the same ... but we developed a system. We bathed my mom at the kitchen sink. She too, complained about being naked & cold. We bought a small portable plug in heater (Walmart for $30-$40) and ran it a few minutes before we pushed her into the kitchen. One side of the kitchen sink was almost hot or very warm soapy water and the other side very warm rinsing water. We used several washcloths to soap her, then different ones to rinse and one for drying. Get all fresh clothes, underwear and socks and put there for easy access. Cover her bottom and legs with warm towel, drape another towel over her top half like a cape and put her socks on her feet to keep her feet warm while you wash. Leave that heater running! Start washing at the top first- soap then rinse face, dry and next, upper body area with towel wrapped around her and COVER as you wash, rinse and dry. When finished washing her top half, put her bra/shirt on. Next, Mom had hard time standing for a long time so she’d hold onto kitchen sink and stand for few minutes and get her bottom washed/dried. Then she’d sit down and we would wash her legs and feet - rinse and dry. Covering as we went...keep her covered. Then put clean socks on, underwear and pants at her ankles and she’d stand up at kitchen sink only one more time, we'd pull up her underwear then her pants. Boom! Done!
Some complaints are definitely because the elderly definitely get cold and the other is modesty. Those were huge for my mom, but it worked and she felt so much better. If she’s not sitting there wet and unclothed but has towel covering her as you wash and dry her, she’ll be fine. A few times mom would say, “I’m freezing!” But we would keep the heater going and encourage her that we would be done in a few minutes, and she would feel the heater. It worked awesome and she always felt better and most importantly, got clean. Try it and let me know if it works!
I will pray that your mom would be open to this ... at least for now to get her clean... then maybe you can develop a way for her to actually get in a shower. This way is at least viable to get her clean because not bathing for a long time can cause health problems, uti, etc.
Your mom has a blessing in you and your love in caring for her is awesome!! Don’t be discouraged— keep trying... you’ll get there!
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Reply to Help2014
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There are some wonderful products on the market making a shower unnecessary.

There is a fine no-rinse cleanser that even works on cleaning hair - we got our first bottle while DH was in hospital. It is Aloe Vesta Cleansing Foam and is Perineal and No-Rinse.

You can use baby wipes and they also make adult wipes. A basin with hot water and some soap will do the job nicely too. This can be done in whichever room Mom feels most comfortable.

We are just used to having showers and tubs - but many people didn't have this luxury 100 years ago - my DH grew up in the depression without electricity and they had to draw water from a well. They bathed once a week and my DH reached 96 yrs 8 mos before he passed away.
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wally003 Aug 7, 2018
but im confused she said there is a disabled shower in the kitchen. so its set up for a disabled person. not disabled, as in does not work ?
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There is always a way to handle a problem if you think and pray on it. When it was difficult for my late mother to rise up, I took a hot, soapy tub of water to her bedside. I bathed her in sections so that she would not get cold--arms then towel, legs then towel, upper body then towel and lower body then towel. You may want to try this. You could hum or sing hymns to your LO softly as you're doing this.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I washed my mom while she sat on the toilet - like a sponge bath. Later on, when she was not walking any more, the aide gave her a sponge bath in bed. Maybe if your mom doesn't want someone else washing her, she can do this herself on the toilet with a basin of soapy water and a basin of fresh water?
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Reply to JoLoBx
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cgsp.net/products.html

i highly recommend the Fawssit shower. I bought it for my mom who was in the same situation as your mom. For the last 2 years of her life she at least was able to enjoy a shower. This product was truly a blessing for us. A shower wheelchair must be bought separately. Your mom will love this system. She will be able to shower anywhere that is convenient to her while sitting down. Hope this helps.
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Ahmijoy Aug 7, 2018
I just looked this up. WHOA!!! Would be over $3,000 for the whole setup. I wonder if Medicare would cover it?
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When my husband was attending Day Care in our area, they had a shower area. People came in from the outside, didn't have to be enrolled in the Day Care and, for a small fee, were given a shower by the staff. Check into Adult Day Care facilities in your area.
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disgustedtoo Aug 10, 2018
I thought of those comments I have seen as well, but given OP says mom won't even shower at her other daughter's place, it is not likely she would agree to showering in a completely strange place!
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One possibility that might suit your house is to put a rail for a shower curtain in one corner of the kitchen. We have one, a right angle of about 4 feet. The curtain helps with modesty and also drafts. A child’s wading-pool/ sand-pit ‘shell’ inside the curtain with a shower chair placed in the shell, and a flexible hand-held shower attached to the kitchen sink tap, completes the arrangement. The shower curtain pulls back out of the way when you are done. So much depends on your plumbing, so this is just one more possible option. Perhaps you can get tough, but only once there is a workable arrangement.
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talkey Aug 10, 2018
What a great idea!
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