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My husband, originally diagnosed with ALZ, frontal lobe dementia, WILL not take a shower!. He is convinced that he has, every day. I do find a wet washcloth once in a while, but I think he just runs wet water over himself at the sink. No sign of soap or shampoo being used, and definitely no wet towel. As a result, I find white flakes all over the bed, the couch and anywhere he sits. I have tried everything I can think of. He does not want me touching him, but I have tried to get him to take one with me. I have tried posting a schedule. I have tried rewards. My children have tried, as has his caregiver. I get concerned about skin diseases and infections. Mind you, physically, he is capable of taking a shower independently...that is not the issue. He is convinced that he IS taking one...and will argue that fact.

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The wipes are good "for a season," e.g. for a day or two. Then the person really needs to get bathed! They start to smell and it's difficult to provide care for them.
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Try the Huggies. CVS and other stores now have adult wipes just for this purpose.
Many patients cannot take a shower...for all sorts of reasons.
Thinking of you and your challenge.
Malachy
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Zombie: LOL...Don't pass out!
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I hold my breath.
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citty1: Okay, then if "folks with dementia are often afraid of showers." how do you get near them unless you put Vicks under your nose?
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Folks with dementia are often afraid of showers. They didn't grow up with them and they are going back to their childhood. A tub bath, a bath at the sink, just washing the "important parts" are all acceptable. The skin is an important organ and if kept moisturized has a pretty good ability to care for itself. Any soiling easily seen needs to be cleaned as does the peri area. It is a law in many states that caregivers associated with a facility cannot force someone to bathe.
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Try a male home health aide coming in. Remember, skin is the largest organ in the body and as such, has to be kept clean for health reasons.
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My mother is scared to death of the bathroom, so I just sponge bathe her while she is standing i do her "privates" then sit her on toilet on a soft towel do the rest and cover her up so she won't get cold, use plain dove soap, then moisturize, you can only do your best, but she does feel better, best of luck to you😃
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It's not just his dementia causes him not taking a shower. It's the lack of energy and fear of falling. My dad is the same way. It's mainly the lack of energy. If your dad doesn't want any assistance, it's hard for him to let go of his independency. Taking a shower once a week is all he needs. Perhaps, you should tell the geriatric Doctor about getting a social worker for your dad and the social worker can provide some in home care agencies.
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I understand you. Truly I do. When you say he is not going to shower, he is NOT going to shower. No coaxing, no coddling is going to change his mind and I GET YOU.

Question for everyone....what is the LAW surrounding bathing? Can you MAKE someone shower? Someone mentioned forcing their mother into the shower and I understand the concern but IF the mother would have been "with it" enough and called the police screaming physical abuse, what would have happened?

The healthcare facilities in the state of Tennessee are telling me they cannot force a patient to take a shower unless that person creates an environment that creates a risk or unbearable living arrangement for others (like room mate, etc).

But what about someone in the home?? Anyone know??
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Do not bring it up. It does not work. For some reason,some folks with dementia seem to develop a deep fear of water. My husband would NOT shower.
I bought some Huggies and showed them to him. He did wash with them as best he could. 'This is the BEST invention ever!' he claimed. Now, I see at CVS other larger versions of huggies...meant for adults.
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Boy, I can see that problem in MY future! Men sure can be stubborn.

You have probably tried everything, but here are some suggestions. The shower chair and hand sprayer would make the process easier for him. Also leave his briefs on, for modesty. Could you tell him that there is a lotion that has to be put on once a week, and for that one day, you need for him to take a shower at a certain time, so you can watch and use the lotion. If he says he already bathed that day, tell him he has to do it again then.

What kind of emotional blackmail might work? Telling him the doctor criticized you for not keeping him clean enough? Telling him he stinks, and you don't want to be near him? Telling him you had a horrible dream that he has a large open sore on his back with aliens growing out of it, and you need to check to see if it's there? Going into a rage yourself? My mother was too much of a lady usually, but when she responded to one of his tantrums with a pretend one of her own, it always calmed him down. Telling him he makes you feel like a failure because you aren't doing your job? Telling him there was a release of airborne toxic chemicals, and everyone has to wash them off with soap? Begging? Spilling lemonade all over him?

Logic alone will never work, because his reality isn't very well connected to the real world any more. If you CAN'T get him to yield, at least stop driving yourself crazy. It's kind of BIG small stuff, but it is still small stuff.
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I have the same problem with my mom, but it is no longer a problem. I abandoned the idea of her "getting in" to the shower or tub and just focus on getting her clean. She lives in a nursing home. The aides are able to get her to stand by the sink while they wash her with a soapy towel and rinse her with a wet towel. She is extremely clean and is fine with that. No trauma, no drama. I use Dove for sensitive skin for body and periwash (or same Dove, just rinsed really well) for privates. Mission accomplished.

Or, sometime when we're just sitting together, I take a soapy washcloth and just do her arms, or back, whatever she will allow. I soak her feet in Epson salts and lavender anti-bacterial soap. Then I give her a foot massage and a kiss on the top of her foot. She enjoys it and she's getting clean.

Sometimes you have to settle for one body part a day. It gets done, and it's ok.
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The nursing home my dad is in has 1 tub with a tv as part of the unit which I guess is to distract someone who is a reluctant bather - can you SAFELY put one in or a radio or a music player in that bathroom to help distract?

The law here is that everyone in a nursing home must have 2 baths a week & that is really enough for someone who is not moving much phyisically so forget about daily & go for 2 to 3 times a week -

It also makes the skin less dry & itchy - use lotion to 'finish off' - when they say they've already had shower say 'well that was your quick/short one but it now is time for the longer one where I put that lotion on you that you like so much' -
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Lindabf- I forgot to mention the patient that we hoyer lifted into a tub was an inpatient on our unit, so it wasn't an option to make an appointment. That's a great idea though.
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Lindabf the hoyer lift and tub on the unit were installed by the hospital. It didn't look like a normal tub, just a huge metal container. I don't know or have never seen tubs like that in a residence. I'm sure it is way more expensive than a walk in tub. Would insurance help cover the walk in tubs? I cared for an elderly aunt of mine after she had surgery and I put a plastic lawn chair in my walk in shower to bath her. I actually put my bathing suit on and covered her with towels to maintain her privacy. Is that a possible solution that could help your mom?
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At least 2 times a week his Caregiver, as part of his or her job should be getting your Husband into the shower or a bath.
If stability is an issue get an inexpensive walker from a resale store (the ones I used to get were no more than $3.00) and he can use that to stand with in the shower.
A bench seat in a bathtub might also be easier for him he can sit on the edge then swing is legs over and slide into the center.
If you have a walk in shower a shower chair might help. (a little more difficult to reach the "nether regions")
But in any case the caregiver you have hired should be doing this as part of the job.
A shower or bath is not necessary daily....as long as proper cleaning is done after toileting. It does not matter if his continent or not.

I had a Physical Therapist tell me once that the head and torso are "vulnerable" areas and that water hitting there can be frightening. So starting with the feet and working up the sides to the back might be better.
I always turn the water off once I get my husband wet. The noise in a shower is pretty loud. So once he is wet I talk to him i a quiet voice.
And if you get a shower bench or chair have your Husband sit with his back to the shower so he dies not get pelted in the face with water. Also if you have a hand held sprayer give him control of it once in a while. Let him do what he can for as long as he can.

Side note...If he is Hospice eligible, contact Hospice they can help you with equipment as well as a CNA that will come in and they can do amazing things getting people bathed that do not want to bathe.

And you need to go to a support group if you don't. It will help both with venting but you can also pick up some great tips and hints for problems that will arise. And you can pass on tricks that you have come up with that help you.
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Boy, was this a problem with my mom also. While she was living at home and could get dressed on her own, brush her teeth, etc., she would refuse to shower or take a bath. We would ask her if she washed her hair (pretending to compliment it while it had so much hair spray on it and had turned yellow) and she would tell us yes she had. I finally had to make a hair appt. for her again pretending that SHE had made it and the stylist couldn't even wash out all the hair spray so I told her to cut out what she could. My mom never even realized that 3 or so inches had been cut off. Just that made me feel better because I knew her scalp was at least clean. When the time came for her to move into a facility, it took 2 and sometimes 3 caregivers to get her in the shower. I had read and seen a movie that spoke to this issue and sometimes the patients are terribly afraid of the people in the mirrors not realizing it's THEM! Or they can't believe that old person is them. She finally got to a stage where she went in because it was part of routine and that's what they are needing. Structure or something familiar. All I can say is try to hang in there and he WILL get to a stage where you can get him to bathe without too much trouble. I don't know how long it's been but it might take a year or so. Also, I think someone else mentioned the dry shampoos and soaps but if he doesn't want to be touched it might be as hard. Unfortunately my mom just passed away but this question brought back lots of memories. Good luck and God Bless on your journey.
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Two questions: (1) How important is an actual shower? I've gone to "sponge baths" with Mom -- done with the pre-treated gloves that don't even require a rinse. Also the shower caps that I can do while she's sitting there. She seems content with this and the major struggles over "the shower" have disappeared. (2) MartinaMarie, you mentioned the hoyer lift into a huge tub. My Mom loved baths; she just hates showers -- always took baths as a child and as an adult. Do facilities ever allow someone to make an appointment and come in to take a "real bath" using the hoyer? We explored having one installed, but none of our bathroom ceilings or bathtubs seem to be built for that. We talked about a walk-in tub, but they're quite expensive and it would be a big renovation for our home that might or might not add value. Any thoughts on these two questions? Thanks!
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I get the same statement of "fact" that he has taken a shower the day before. I just say, "No" that was Wed. and just try to have him shower twice a week with me. Since we moved into a 1 bedroom, 1 bath apt. recently it is different for him and first he will object, then something clicks and he goes in to start undressing. There are dry shampoos you can try as well as flushable wipes that are moist. Are you really worried he is going to get a bacterial infection, or do you just not like the flakes? He has a terminal illness. Don't sweat the small stuff.
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I am sorry for all those having issues bathing loved ones with dementia issues. I am a RN, worked in Geri-psych and also cared for my mother who had dementia. She hated showers. I unfortunately had to force her into the shower. She would give a "death grip" on the shower door and would start to fall in the shower. It is not easy picking up a wet dead-weight body even if she was only 130 pounds. In hindsight, I don't know how I did it. My husband and I live next door. I used a plant shower container to pour hair on her head to shampoo. She would scream at me and start to "go down". As a child we grew up very modest and before my mom got sick I never saw her without clothes. The shower process can be physically taxing on the caretaker. I had to have my husband come over to help when she would "go down" in shower to floor. I couldn't pick her up by myself. This is a horrible problem for so many people please do not feel bad or guilty. You all do the best you can. While I was working on Geri psych ward a husband who was solely caring for his wife, had the wife admitted. The wife hadn't showered or bathed for over a year. Our department had a hoyer lift and a huge tub that they used to bath her. Her poor husband, I'm sure felt horrible to be withought resources and witness his wife in that condition. This disease is horrible. My heart goes out to all that have these issues.
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Zombie --
I hope you can one of the health people you mention to refer you to an agency that can send a bath aide 2-3 times a week to bathe your father. You don't deserve to have to put up with this.
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My dad is the same way. He has all the signs of FTD but nobody will diagnose him (mostly because he refused to go to doctors or have testing until recently) so we get no help. He won't let me hire someone because there's "nothing" wrong with him. He takes a morning shower but hasn't used soap or shampoo in almost three years. He smells ripe. He leaves white greasy skin chunks on his bed sheets (which I wash) and his recliner (which I avoid). I too have been worried about skin infections. While plenty of health people have told me he needs to clean himself, not a single one has offered to have someone do it since he won't, and he won't let me. He too thinks he is perfectly clean and fine. I have no advice. I gave up trying to get him to change clothes including pants with feces on them. Anyway, you're not alone.
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His caregiver should be able to shower your husband. In my situation, my husband was under home hospice care. A caregiver came in twice weekly to shower him. She was pleasant to my husband, but direct in her expectations that he get in the shower. He complied. If caregiver you have can't motivate your husband to shower, consider changing to a different caregiver. My heart goes out to you. I did not feel good about my husband when he wouldn't shower and would claim he did.
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Maybe try leaving his shorts on him. I have used we are going dancing tonight and have to clean up. I know you did (if he says took shower) but one more will do it. I will wash your back. I have the rag already soaped up and just keep talking and he gets in. I have already gotten out his favorite clothes (I think). I wash his back and talk about how good that feels. Talk about his Mom doing this with him when he was younger. When he gets out I have a towel on the toilet already and have him sit there after drying off. I wash his feet and put lotion on them and try and do as much as possible at same time giving him a smaller towel to dry off some more his arms. I have a snack for him to eat when done. If he wants to do something I tell him I will check on that and/or I tell him after you sleep tonight we will do that. If it is someone that was in the service I talk about that and usually they continue to talk. It is hard....Do you go to a support group?
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