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My mother is in her 90s and has moderate to severe dementia. She lives with my younger sister who is able to help her bathe, and sometimes toilet, help her wash her hair, etc. I don’t mind taking my turn, which I have just finished for four months, but when it comes to those personal things, I would just rather not be involved. My mom gets extremely embarrassed and self-conscious even if I help her dress from time to time. It’s getting very hard for her to put on socks or sometimes pull a light sweater, jacket, shirt or pants on, but if I try to help her she insists she can do it herself when clearly she cannot. As far as personally helping her bathe, wash, trim toenails etc. I would rather not do any of those things. My sister doesn’t like it either but she does it anyway. Is there something wrong with me? It’s not a constant thing... my mom has good and bad days, but I just don’t think I could ever be a private duty nurse. God bless them!

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Listen, before the plague when we'd go visit my mother in her Memory Care ALF, we'd arrive at her room right after she'd taken a big poop and her room reeked. I couldn't even SIT in there, never mind help her toilet!

There's nothing 'wrong with you' that isn't wrong with the vast majority of us. Poop stinks. Personal hygiene is called 'personal' because it's something that should be done by the person herself, not someone else.

Be kind to yourself. You're human so accept your imperfections and laugh them off like I do.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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God Bless you for the honesty! I have been taking care of my 31 year old Son with Autism; along the way in the 1990's my Grandmother who had lost a leg and was in a wheelchair, and then my Mother who fought cancer and was very frail in 2018 until Her death 2019. I have washed, wiped and fed all! I'm currently 60 plus and I pray and hope I can take care of myself until it is my time. This is one of the hardest jobs taking care of someone's hygiene. I still have to supervise my son every now and then as he is non-verbal. I pray that I don't become weak as I don't believe my other Sons and Grand daughter wouldn't be able to handle me in any state like my Mother and Grandmother. There is definitely nothing wrong with you! Rest assured that based upon your intention to be of any service is a blessing because not everyone knows their limit! Take care and feel well in your mind!
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Reply to kwinona2
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Absolutely nothing wrong with you to my opinion!

My 81 year old mom lives with us in her 2 rooms, we built her a brand new personal bathroom with a shower and everything is adjusted to her needs.

After cleaning After her several times a day for roughly 8 months, scratching feces from the wall, door knobs, night stand etc and situations where she showed me her poop covered hands I decided that’s it for me.

Since July a caregiver comes in 4 days a week for 2-3 hours, and man, she saved my life. Lynn is the most wonderful person I could wish for to look after my old mom.

I can only recommend having someone coming in for the special things. My relationship with my mother deteriorated big time, also because she sadly still treats me like an underling and servant.... but well. What can I do. I’m glad that her essential needs are taken care of in a professional and always kind and patient way.

Best wishes from Nova Scotia, Canada. ❤️
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Seaglass415 Oct 17, 2020
I have some of those issues with my mom as well. I can’t start with that level of intimate care. Once I cross that line, there is no line for my mom. She will demand care that she doesn’t care that she wouldn’t ask of anyone else

Some of us grew up with loving supportive moms who were hands on and involved in our childhoods but that wasn’t me. My relationship with her wasn’t filled with hugs and she was never too keen on the idea of taking care of me if I got sick and that has made it hard for me to be compassionate but I am careful to be sure she has the care she needs.

I love my mother and get along with her better now then I ever did in my younger days but it’s harder to be sympathetic when you know you are being manipulated.

I never had a problem when I took care of my dad while he was suffering from Alzheimer’s but then he never asked for help he didn’t need or tried to use his illness to get sympathy.
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No, not a question of something wrong with you. While I found patient care, all aspects of it, easy and actually a joy, it was difficult for me when my own mother required help with catheter, etc. In fact, my parents who were otherwise free and open were, as far as body, nakedness, etc. quite private. I could tell it bothered my mother. This made any discomfort the worse for me. What you and your sister are experiencing is real, and it is difficult, and you are not alone, even among medical professionals. Everyone is different. You know, even in a very close relationship husband/wife, there are the bathroom door open types and the bathroom door closed, no matter how much intimacy involved otherwise.
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sjplegacy Oct 14, 2020
You're right... spousal intimacy is one thing, having to change adult diapers is another. I did it, it had to be done. Even in MC I assumed that role. It was the least I could do to contribute to her care. Didn't like it.
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I couldn't do it either. Anything related to poop and I'm out.
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willnotorcannot Oct 14, 2020
SAME
It is hard for me to visit with my mom on days she has bed pads drying everywhere. Urine reeks. I fabreeze the garbage cans and area as often as I can because she does not seem to smell it.
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No, there is nothing wrong with being uncomfortable with cleaning your mom. I could full-on bathe my elder care clients, but something about washing my mom..I just couldn't.

I remember going up to her place one day, and she was standing next to her bed, stark naked and YB was sponge bathing her, as she held on to her bedpost. It was a most unsettling sight. It was really warm in there, so not a problem with her getting chilled--it was just--so weird. I mean, YB just got right down there in the undercarriage and all...he is an EMT and sees everything, but this was our mother.

Still bothers me, the image is burned in my mind. She actually said to me "Oh, come on in and visit with us". No ma'am, no thanks.

If this is not something you can do, please find an agency for care that does provide this. I would have happily paid anything to have mother have a good bath.

Luckily she recouped to the point she could once again take a shower sitting on a shower chair.
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cherokeegrrl54 Oct 14, 2020
Oh mid, thank you for making me laugh out loud!! As i was reading, i was picturing the scene in my mind....and what you were feeling. Hope youre doing better! Love and blessings. Liz
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If someone throws up and I have to clean it, I throw up, too - how does that help?
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graygrammie Oct 17, 2020
Exactly. I only add to the mess.
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There is nothing wrong with you.

You can say no to personal hygiene.

Everybody has their line in the sand. My sister won't even push a commode!

My retired Dr told me he occasionally assisted his wife with her Mother (with dementia). Then they moved Granny in. This became assisted showering, assisted toileting, then anal supps every 2-3 days when all other milder laxatives failed.

When his son came to stay he thought he would look after Granny & give his parents a well needed break. He was told she needed a bit of help to eat & in the bathroom. When he found out the actual details, he sat them down, looked them in the eye & said No. Asked them what was their line in the sand? Was SO far behind them but they were so burnt out they couldn't see or remember it. Just looking at the next teaspoon, the next supp. Not at the big picture: which was Granny needed more help. More aides. (Actually went into SNF).

Sorry for that long winded story. That Dr visit ran well over & he apologized to me but it was invaluable advice. Look up sometimes at the big picture.

Do you & your sister need to reassess & get more help?
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Riley2166 Oct 17, 2020
What is SNF??????????????/
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My great aunt was a nurse, and her sister (my grandmother) started to follow her into the profession. My grandmother quit after two weeks of training when she realized she'd have to "wash old men's backsides," and she wasn't going there.

So no, nothing's wrong with you.
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SeniorStruggles Oct 18, 2020
I laughed at your comment! I had my first experience washing a senior this past week and it was...awful for both of us. I won't do it again. When I was 15, my mother demanded that I go to work with a friend of hers who was a physical therapist...

I already knew I wasn't the "nursing" type. I lasted less than an hour, because the PT, who knew I didn't belong, had to move some old dude's arm because he had a new shoulder. The man started crying. I left the building immediately, went outside heaving. When the PT came out, I explained I was getting a bus and never coming back. She smiled and I think she was relieved. Boy, I can remember that like it was yesterday. Some people are cut out for it, and some ain't!
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Imho, there is nothing wrong with you. Taking on your mother's personal hygiene is tough. Prayers sent.
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