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.
Many patients cannot take a shower...for all sorts of reasons.
Thinking of you and your challenge.
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??
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.
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.
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.
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' -
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.
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.