Follow
Share

My MIL has been in a stage of not wanting to take a bath for a several years. She is 78 and is capable of getting dressed and undressed - with assistance. She can feed herself and walk without assistance. Her hearing isn’t very good; although, it does seem that she has selective hearing. She frequently acts helpless and then turns around and is self sufficient when no one is around. (We have cameras to know where she is in the house)


However; I believe she is, now, not wanting to take her clothes off. I or my husband will explain it is bath time and show her the water in the tub. After a few minutes of repeating “it is bath time”; we start to try to take her shirt off. She yells for help again, and holds her clothes tightly to herself. The whole time, we are saying “it is bath time... time to take a bath. Take your clothes off and get in”. (We say this calmly. ) She is, surprisingly, strong and will clench the garments or our hands in order to keep us from removing the clothes. I watched a documentary where it was saying that it is all about them, “their time”. She needs a bath at least every other day. Sometimes every day, as she smells. Are we going about this the wrong way?? Often times she will go back to bed if we show her filled tub.


On a slightly different topic... my MIL likes to walk around the house with not much on. We have tried to get her dressed, before coming downstairs to eat. We bring her back upstairs and encourage her to put her clothes on. Most of the time, she will get back in the bed... just to come downstairs in 5-20 minutes - still with no clothes on. Should we just let it go? She will also pretend to be exhausted if we ask her to go upstairs; or do something she doesn’t want to do. (Typically she sleeps until 3:00 or even 7:00pm. Recently she will sleep an entire day; 1 or 2 days out of the week) Some input would be appreciated. I have to be honest that my patience is wearing so thin! I have an education background and worked with Special Needs children... have always been so patient! Now, I am feeling terrible when I raise my voice at my MIL. Speaking to her calmly and sweetly doesn’t always help. Taking her hand and guiding her; doesn’t always help. I feel drained, resentful, and sickened.

Find Care & Housing
A tub bath can be scary. Try a shower with a shower chair. Also think about the temperature of the room, and the water. With my mom I made sure to warm up the room first, then get the shower water warm...we replaced the regular shower nozzle with a hand held which was less frightening. Then I would say, mom, are you ready for a nice shower, I can help.

The time came when that was just too difficult for her to handle too. So we found that if we took the bowl off the bedside commode, I could reach her private areas. She could keep her house coat on and I could have her sit down. I used no rinse products but still strayed her off using a peri bottle with warm water. I placed a couple of towels under the commode. Then I could usually talk her into "a little freshening up" as I helped her dress for the day and I could wipe her underarms, etc.

For hair we bought a "hair funnel" someone on this forum suggested. It lets them sit the sink but not lean back while you wash their hair (again we had a hand held sprayer and used lots of towels.

Later it progressed to sponge baths in bed.

Bathing is scary for our fragile parents. And just think of what it is like to have some one taking your clothes off. I just always tried to remember that this is scary for mom.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Grammyteacher
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Oct 2, 2020
Thought the same too. Tubs can be intimidating but showers can be too. It’s a challenge, right? I do feel the shower is better though.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
Sounds like a nightmare! I agree with other posts. Everyday or even every other day is too often.

Skip the entire tub thing and do a sponge bath. Do you have help or are you going through this alone. Check into Council on Aging in your area. They will assist in bathing.

You sound exhausted. It is exhausting being a caregiver. Take a break if you can, even if you need to hire an agency for a limited amount of time.

Best wishes to you and your family.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report
CrushedLove18 Oct 2, 2020
Thank you.
For the entire Covid time we haven’t had any outside help. This week, we finally have help. Yes!!
Thank you, again! 🙏
(1)
Report
Expecting a dementia patient to take a bath at least every other day is WAY too much of a burden to place on her AND on yourselves. A good washing up once a week or even once every other week is plenty. No rinse products in the interim is a good idea; not a solution to bathing entirely, in my opinion, but something to use in between.

Watch some Teepa Snow videos on YouTube about different techniques to use for bathing:

https://www.google.com/search?q=teepa+snow+hand+over+hand+bathing&rlz=1C1CHBD_enUS896US896&oq=teepa+snow+hand+over+hand+bathing&aqs=chrome..69i57j33l2.8701j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

She is a remarkable woman with a wealthy of knowledge on the subject of dementia.

Remember that you are human, and, as such, subject to feeling frustration with the horrible behaviors that go along with the horrible disorder of dementia. Most people can only handle it for SO long at home before placement in a Memory Care ALF becomes necessary. My own mother who is nearly 94 lives in such a place and is very well cared for by a team of care givers 24/7. My sanity is saved as well, and bathing is THEIR problem, not mine. She was having issues herself with the shower for a while, insisting it was 'slippery' and falling (in spite of it being built like a fortress), so I bought her a pair of water shoes and that solved the problem immediately. See if you think your MIL has any fear of the tub/shower.........and maybe a pair of water shoes (or whatever) is the answer for her as well. Maybe not........but maybe.

Wishing you all the best of luck dealing with a very difficult thing TO deal with.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report
CrushedLove18 Oct 2, 2020
Thank you for your input! I feel lighter already! I will try this. And the videos. Thanks!
(1)
Report
Forget the bath or shower and just use no rinse products.   They can be found for shampoo and soap.   Just rub on, and let dry.  No rinsing, no fights about climbing in and out of a shower.   And she can clean herself.    It's a lot easier and certainly much safer than immersion cleansing.

I first used when I had an appendectomy about 6 years ago, and it was so easy, and also very refreshing.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to GardenArtist
Report

Of course your patience is wearing thin. Anyone's patience would be.

Did you know that rubbing alcohol eliminates odor? I have one suggestion. You can fill a spray bottle with 1/2 alcohol and 1/2 warm water and a tiny bit of nice perfume (optional). When she has little clothes on, you damp a wash cloth with this solution and wipe her down, or spray her then wipe her dry. Tell her it's to make her smell nice like a flower (if that's what she likes.)

(Initially, I thought you could set her clothes on fire while in the bathroom, she'd take her clothes off real quick. Haha. Just kidding. Don't take it seriously.)
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to polarbear
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Oct 2, 2020
Great tip! I didn’t know that about alcohol. Does it dry out the skin? Or in small amount in won’t make a big difference?
(1)
Report
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter