At one time I was going over and staying at her house while she bathed but now when I suggest it she tells me she's already had one. She has NO short term memory so even if she had she wouldn't remember. My daughter and I are discussing hiring a home health person to come in once a week to make her take a bath, change sheets, and clean out her refrigerator because she gets angry if we suggest doing it. Any ideas on how we should go about this and what to do about brushing her teeth every day?

tonipoindexter, I think that is a great idea of having a home health person come in to help Mom with certain things. It's amazing how an older parent will take the suggestions of someone in uniform, compared to taking suggestions from their own children. Then again, we are just the "kids" and what do we know? :)

Now, will your Mom allow "strangers" into the house? That seems to be a common battle. My Mom would refused. Dad, on the other hand, would be holding the door open for the caregivers to come in to help him. Hope your Mom is the latter.

As for your Mom bushing her teeth, that's tough. Sometimes we need to pick our battles, and teeth bushing is usually down the list. Can Mom eat apples? That's nature's tooth brush.
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Reply to freqflyer
ShenaD May 17, 2019
Cleaning teeth should be high on the list for so many reasons.
If you think you are likely to get resistance from mom on someone coming in once a week maybe you could try giving it to her as a "gift" or having someone else give it to her, kind of like giving someone maid services. It might even be better received if it were an older relative gifting this, someone who knows what a luxury it is to have help with these things. I do think it's hard for many of our parents as they age to have their children bathing them and it's easier to accept from a "professional" like one would in the hospital plus they have the added benefit of experience with the best way to accomplish bathing while maintaining the patients dignity. But I also think having someone to come in to help and take the burden off of mom, "pamper" her because she deserves it is a great idea if you can swing it.
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Reply to Lymie61
lynina2 May 17, 2019
Yes. Pampering is key. And after a long life, they do deserve it!
I have concerns that brushing teeth (or lack thereof) is the tip of the iceberg here. Loss of short term memory and beginning to neglect daily activities such as brushing are HUGE signs something is amiss. If she'll let you, it may be time to partner with her on some issues. For one, start making sure finances are in order, look into legal paperwork (health care proxy, living will, power of attorney) before there is further degradation. If she doesn't allow you to help, it may be time to exert covert actions on her behalf. How you approach it depends on her reactions to the initial discussions. Read, read, read - starting with all subjects on this forum. Note the "tags" that applied to your original post. Each is a link that will bring you to more information on each topic.

I fear for you and your mom that significant changes are coming, sooner rather than later. As much as possible, plan now to get ahead of them. Because when the time comes, you may be in a state of panic to be able to be helpful. Good luck to you.
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Reply to shb1964

This sounds like my mother. And I live with her.
She would not let me help her with bath, personal care.
I have hired an agency to send an aide in four hours a day weekdays. The side cleans her up in the morning, gives her a shower, gets her dressed, walks her, talks to her, etc.
I can handle the house. I can't be hit and punched while caring for her. So while my siblings balk at the cost, this is a Godsend.
And I get a few hours out of the house, which helps me.
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Reply to Foleydaughter
NeedHelpWithMom May 17, 2019
You do what you have to do. They should not balk at the cost. It’s worth it and she gets the necessary care that she needs. Good for you!
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I think it’s wonderful for you to hire someone for your mom.

My mom was extremely modest and for a long time would not allow me to help her bathe. Of course I had safety bars installed, mat in tub, etc and I listened for her but after awhile when I noticed her struggling more with everything. I insisted that she allowed me to help her bathe.

Now I have respite care help out too. She got used to having help and now truly appreciates it.

It’s hard for them to give up their independence. Also, that generation is extremely modest so they are initially embarrassed by having someone else help with private matters.

Hygiene is important. You don’t want her to get a UTI.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

I hate to say it, but this sounds just like my mother at the beginning stage of dementia. My mother would get angry if I mention that she needed a shower, cleaning out the fridge, and I notice that she wasn't doing the dishes (she has a dishwasher), then she started letting in stray cats in the house. Ugh!

Sounds like dementia:(
Just my 2 cents!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Shell38314

This happened with my MIL and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly afterward. Get her legal paperwork in order immediately and start looking for care in a facility. I’m sorry to say...someone who bristles when you tell her she needs to bathe will not get better with this. My MIL is in a memory care assisted living facility and she very much resents being told she needs to bathe or brush her teeth. I think she is embarrassed by her lack of competence and does not want to be called out on it. My MIL would not accept help from anyone in her home.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to dianedz

Thanks so much for the encouragement and ideas. Bananas are the only fruit she eats. But I'll slice up an apple in really thin slices and see if she'll change her mind.
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Reply to tonipoindexter

You don't say at all how old your mother is or whether she has memory issues in addition to the short term memory problem. I think it would be very good for you both if you were able to get someone to go in to help her with bathing and do some bits around the place. Once a week sounds good to start with and you can see if more is required as time goes on. I think that if you can discuss the possibility of not being wanted with the potential assistant then you should be able to work having a one off visit, and then the next week if mum has forgotten they went in you can "play" the "yes you do know her, she comes to help you bath/shower now that my back is too bad for me to help you" etc. Sometimes a lack of short term memory can enable us to achieve more in sorting out outside assistance.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to TaylorUK

You don't say how old Mom is, but I'm guessing she is eligible for free HomeHealthCare and they will check on her weekly (I believe her physician must request the HomeHealth) and you will get a better idea of how she is doing.

We had it for my Dad and later for my DH and I was always thankful to have an extra pair of eyes on them.
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Reply to RayLinStephens

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