Mom won't shower or wash doesn't think it is necessary. What am I to do?

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Her 58 yr old son lives with her, he doesnt work lays in bed all day and is very dirty. They had bed bugs twice.she has always enabled him. What am I to do?

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Along with what quiltinrealtor said, my mother only had a tub and could no longer climb into it and get out of it so she stopped bathing and started giving herself a sponge bath. I have read in this forum that some people do a good job with their personal sponge baths. Unfortunately, my mother's sponge bath wasn't good-enough and her sense of smell is gone. So, she didn't realize how badly she smelled.

She has now moved in with me. Right now, is using our spare shower that has just a couple inch stepover. But she was out of the habit of bathing and didn't really want to, at first. I took her aside and tried to privately and nicely tell her she kind of stunk.

It's early days, so I will have to see if she remains cooperative, but I am trying to get her into a "clean routine" where I might have her write her bath/shower days on her calendar to remind her (as her memory is failing).

But I also got her doctor to give her a prescription for a chair lift to the tub. She and I are going to go to the medical supply store and see what they have and whether we feel it will work for her, as well as probably adding grab bars to the tub.

From your posting, I don't want to assume that she wouldn't cooperate if you took the same tactics that I have, but I realize it's possible that she's not going to comply, either. I'm just giving my own story in case it's helpful, but if your situation is different, don't beat yourself up too much about it. You can only do what you can do.
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oh, sorry. off track a bit...must be having a demented day myself...
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I give my dad a back rub while washing his back. He holds the hand held shower nozzle. I wash his hair and shave him. I then cue him to wash his face, chest, privates, legs. At the end, I help him up and wash his poopy butt. We have a routine that takes forever, but he gets his shower. He gets tired after, so now I help him dress. He lays down while I use lotion on his legs, get his compression socks on, put protective lotion (Weleda diaper rash cream) on his butt(butter his buns~) and penis. We get the diaper, shirts on and he so far can manage the pants and shoes. He likes the back and neck rub, me combing his hair. I send him off to the living room and TV where a hot coco waits, shower then fix dinner. The implication that there is no dinner till this is over has helped. I tell him the timeline of events before we get started, so he does not feel surprised. Also the doctor writes that he needs a bath/shower 2x a week and gives him the visit summary. We have a bath chair, and that helps. It is always harder to get him into the shower than out. He forgets that he likes it.
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She may be afraid of falling, especially if she has fallen in the past. The best thing to do is to go over to her house and help her take a shower. Make sure she has grab bars and a shower seat. My mom is 90 and I've been doing this for about 6 years. Now I have to do the same for my friend who is 80 and afraid to do it. She has an aide at the moment but they sit in the living room and she is afraid of falling so I am going to take over. The aide writes that she refuses to take a shower. She is not refusing, she wants them to help her. It might just be to steady her while she steps over the curb!
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My mom moved into my old bedroom years ago blaming my Dad's snoring. She started complaining of itching-so we put her on shots for allergies. When I noticed mom had bad B.O. I talked her into coming over to use my whirlpool and that worked great for a while but she still itched. We found out she had scabies! So Dad and I went into her room and were shocked. We had to rip up the carpets and replace her bed. She was taking off her depends at night and her bed and carpets were ruined. We cleaned out all her beer cans she was hiding and cut off her alcohol supply. She had been drinking so long and hiding it we didn't realize how bad the situation was. She is now alcohol and scabies free.
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My father had not really cleaned himself for years, and he smelled, but we couldn't do anything till he broke his hip. After his discharge from rehab, an occupational therapist (paid by Medicare) visited several times. Dad was initially resistant to bathing with her, but she knew how to cajole him and he acquiesced, certainly because she was a stranger rather than a family member. Still, we had a major fight getting him to bathe when she wasn't here to help him with it. What eventually worked was a compromise. I've found old folks are like children in that the same tricks work. It's not "Let's change into a clean shirt today" but "Whch shirt do you want to wear, the red shirt or the blue shirt?" Regarding bathing, it was a negotiation: "You need to bathe every day." "I don't think that's necessary. I don't want to." "Well, then, every other day." And so on till we reached the compromise position (acceptable to the OT, who could see how far to take a battle) of once a week. That is now a habit, and so so much better than the previous state of affairs. Of course, Dad has a son and daughter who WANT him to bathe, so our situation is much easier than what Kate53 is going through. Good luck, Kate. I hope this answer might help you at least a little!
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This where your cell phone or digital camera comes in handy. You take pictures of the filth, the poop, the bugs and you send them to APS with a written, signed and witnessed complaint. Just a phone call won't get it done; they cannot ignore the hard evidence.
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Are you an older or younger sister? If they have no mental diagnoses, then if they do not want to bathe, that is their right. Being dirty only poses a health risk if animals have infested their house, and/or neighbors. You could call the health department and you need proof. I would rather see a social worker from the area on aging go over to access the living situation. Your brother's behavior appears to be a case of clinical depression. One should not be spending that many hours in bed, all day. An intervention is definitely in order.
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Try calling an agency like Angel Care. Usually Medicare pays the bill and they will come and assess the needs. When a stranger comes in to help them with a bath it is less condescending than a relative. Our mom decided she wanted her own place so we took her to several assisted living places and she chose her own "apartment". The rules at the ALH is for them to bathe so she has someone help her every saturday. It had been 2 years when she was living with us and she had only had 2 baths at first then rinsed off with water every once in awhile. She almost looks forward to Saturday showers now. Hope this helps
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That must be painful to watch and not be able to do anything. But you didn't create the situation and you can't fix it. Maybe something could be done if your mother qualifies to be declared incompetent. You would need medical and legal intervention for that. Meanwhile, save your own sanity. God bless.
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