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Mom is 84 years old with mobility problems, she wants a personal support worker to assist Dad.

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It is very difficult for most people, I think, to accept that they need help with showering and even more difficult when the person is male and most assistants are female. There really is no great answer unfortunately. A male assistant can be requested but that usually can’t (and shouldn’t be) promised because a female would probably come to help at least some of the time. You could offer reassurance to your Dad that the assistants help many people with showering. This might help him be more comfortable.

In general, my Dad had a chair specifically designed for use in the shower to sit on while he showered. He also used a handheld showering device to rinse himself. You could try body wash so there would be less worry that the bar of soap would fall where he couldn’t reach it (or that he might step on it). If money is not an issue, replacing the bathtub with a walk-in shower is helpful so he wouldn’t have to climb into the tub.

Overall though, showering is very dangerous. My personal opinion is that an assistant standing outside the door is of little help if your Dad became unsteady and started to falter. I think better to be near the person so support could be provided if needed. If your Mom thinks your Dad needs help, he probably does. If she is unable, someone else should be located. Better to be safe than sorry. Having an assistant help is far better than falling and breaking a leg (or worse).
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Reply to PAH321
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I feel it’s definitely time. Maybe a male, so he can feel safe from falling. She needs assist so she doesn’t hurt herself while caring for him.
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Reply to vmetoyer
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Imho, the answer will depend on a whole host of factors - stability of elder, accessibility of bathroom, etc. Prayers sent.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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He needs to do it if he says he could do it himself and your mother shouldn't have to suffer. Apparently he can't do it by himself if your mom is suffering.
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Reply to Arp1754
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Have you observed your Father attempting to do this on his own? If not then you need to do this. You do not need to stay in the bathroom with him when he is naked. Stay with him until just before. Step outside DO NOT LEAVE THE DOOR. See how it goes. If it a successful process and Father seemed to do ok.. well.
If not well.... that answers the question.

If you Mom is having problems getting around her self she certianly should not be burdoned with trying to manuver a man that may also be too heavy for her to handle. If you observe that this does not work and they can afford it, hire someone. You could also in an interim have Father wait to shower until you can be there as a back up to him.
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Reply to lacyisland
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We can't know who is "right" in this situation. There are too many questions that need to be answered. Age isn't the only criteria. My mother was still bathing herself before and after the move to MC. It only became an issue when she started refusing to stand or walk without some major help.

Does mom say why she feels he needs help showering? Is he not stable on his feet? Does he have dementia?

IF after discussing further with your mother, perhaps just getting an aide in the door, without pushing the showering issue first could be doable?

When I was hiring an aide service, they sent a nurse first. Primarily she was doing a cognitive test (better than the ones doctor office uses.) Medicare DOES cover this. She told me that if mom were to agree to having some help "personal" care, such as showering, there are Medicare funds to help with paying for this. The nurse could also do some assessment regarding his ability to perform ADLs. IF the nurse determined either of them need assistance, some of the cost of the aides can be covered by Medicare.

So, if he really should be getting assistance with showering, try getting an aide into the household, so he can get used to the person. That aide can assist in other ways, working up to helping with showering.

As others mentioned, perhaps gender of the aide might help too.

This situation really needs more investigation by OP - we can't assess her parents or what their needs might be, even if we had a little more info. If you can get more info, come back with it and perhaps others might have more suggestions.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Arp1754 Nov 29, 2020
Hey can you help guide me how you found d help through Medicare for assistance. My grandma is being stubborn and said it is only for Medicaid and I am in way over my head and my stubborn grandma is blocking me. I don't know where to start. Tha k you
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First, make sure you have the essentials: grab bars installed in the shower (permanently, not just the suction kind), a shower chair, and a non-slip mat on the floor of the shower. You'll also need to have a hand-held shower head that your dad can use while seated and a soap and shampoo shelf or holder within reach. Once he's seated, he'll probably be OK. The danger comes while entering or exiting the shower, and it's then that he may need help. Make sure there's something within reach for him to grab as he gets out, and perhaps a bench or chair to sit on as he dries himself.
Older adults don't always exercise the best judgment—for instance, I once came across my fiance (who had terrible balance because of a previous stroke) trying to stand on one foot to put on his underwear after a shower. It has been my experience that a man will put up quite a fight that he doesn't need help, when he clearly does, but that a male assistant who has experience working with older people can usually get past the objections. They do start talking and laughing, and the showering seems more like men in the locker-room at the gym. It's very hard for men to admit that they need help. Do this for your mother, and your father will benefit too.
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Reply to craftslady1
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Does your dad shower himself now? Or does Mom help him? If she does help him, then she could tell Dad it's to help her.
If he currently showers himself, grab bars and shower bench should be used for safety.
Hope this works.
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Reply to Chickie1
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If father can shower safely on his own, he should do so. Properly installed grab bars and a shower chair or bench, if needed, can help with mobility issues. If father is sure he can shower by himself, he is going to be very resistant to having an aide help him.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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Maybe you could say that having someone help him in the shower is helping keep the aide employed. Especially during Covid-19, that ploy might really work, ( plus, it's true, but of course, the main reason is to get you dad, and indirectly your mom, some help). We took care of my mom when she had Alzheimer's, and sometimes, we just had to use slightly sneaky tactics. I even wrote a book about taking care of her called, "My Mother Has Alzheimer's and My Dog Has Tapeworms: A Caregiver's Tale." Once, she was sure she knew a woman walking into a restaurant, (this was common for her), and I was sure she didn't know her, so I said that I wasn't feeling well, and we left before we got inside. We had too many episodes like this, where she'd approach people whom she thought she knew, but she really didn't. Best of luck.
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Reply to rlynn123
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There isn't a right or wrong person..

Mom should stop helping and Dad if he has his mental capacities should be able to decide fir himself if he wants help or not.

If they can afford it change the shower to a walk in tub.

If not, then have safety hand bars installed in the shower and have a sturdy shower Bench put in so he can sit and have the shower attachments lowered for him to reach.

Mom should tell Dad that she's not able to assist him any longer and if he really needs assistance, someone can just help him in to the shower seat then leave and let him shower in privacy then after he's covered can help him back out of the shower.
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Good afternoon,
It is actually late in the afternoon in central Africa. My response to your query Is:
First, it great if your father really wants to some things alone. Emotionally, it makes him feel in control and independent.
Secondly, safety comes first. Ensure the floor of the bathroom is rough to avoid him slipping and hurting himself. if the floor is smooth explain your concerns and be firm to avoid a fatal accidents. Reassure him that when the floor is re-done and rails are put around the room it will be fine for him to shower alone.
thirdly, the bathroom should only lock from outside for easy access.
Continue the good work!
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Reply to Bodoski
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Good afternoon,
It is actually late in the afternoon in central Africa. My response to your query Is:
First, it great if your father really wants to some things alone. Emotionally, it makes him feel in control and independent.
Secondly, safety comes first. Ensure the floor of the bathroom is rough to avoid him slipping and hurting himself. if the floor is smooth explain your concerns and be firm to avoid a fatal accidents. Reassure him that when the floor is re-done and rails are put around the room it will be fine for him to shower alone.
thirdly, the bathroom should only lock from outside for easy access.
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Reply to Bodoski
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It’s hard to answer this question directly since we don’t really have any information about dad and his limitations but wether he actually needs help in the shower or not it sure sounds like your mom is saying she needs help. It may be more about her fear that something will happen to him than his actual increasing need, it may be that she needs help and won’t ask for herself so she is focusing on dad and it might just be that he is less stable and should have someone physically capable in the house at least when he showers. Maybe the best way to approach this is through one of their doctors and ask for an evaluation of ADL’s for both of them. That way it isn’t you or your mom who are responsible for insisting on bringing someone in. It could be a “normal” evaluation for people with their health issues and not about either one of them specifically being the spouse that needs “help”. Maybe the answer is someone there helping with other things around the house for a few hours 2-3 times a week while each of your parents shower “in case” someone slips and falls to put everyone’s fears at rest but not to “shower” them.
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Reply to Lymie61
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Years ago I remember my Dad didn't want his caregiver to help him in the shower. She later told me, after fussing with Dad trying to let her help, she put her hands on her hips and said "Mr. Bob, I raised a houseful of boys, there isn't anything I haven't seen". That got Dad laughing, and it was smooth sailing after that :)
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Reply to freqflyer
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If it looks like your Dad does need a personal shower assistant, maybe start with a male assistant if possible? My Dad was adamant against the help ( honestly I understand ) but we shoehorned in a guy to bathe Dad and much to my surprise we could hear them laughing in the bathroom! Personality and maybe gender can help so much. That assistant was fantastic
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Reply to Madisoncuckoo7
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 25, 2020
What an uplifting post. Thanks for sharing.
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Who is the PWS for- mom or dad? You don't mention any ailments for dad that would require him needing help showering. Let him shower by himself.
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Reply to sjplegacy
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What's Dad like? On a scale from normal, mildly stubborn, grumpy old man to rigid thinking dementia addled.

My Mother kept saying she didn't need help to shower. Seemed too embarrested to accept help 🙁 so denied ever needing one. One day I told her she stunk😉 she just laughed! She did grow to accept a little help.
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Reply to Beatty
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disgustedtoo Nov 29, 2020
"...she just laughed..." that would sometimes be my mother's response to questions or statements. Just a silly, somewhat nervous laugh and then ignore or deny whatever the issue was.
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She is concerned about him. He doesn’t seem to want help.

What can she do if he refuses help? Tough situation.

Does he need help or is he just slow due to his age? She can’t expect him to move quickly like when he was younger.

She is most likely thinking about accidents that happen in the shower. My mom had a terrible fall in the shower with me standing right next to her.

When I saw bright red blood flowing through her beautiful white hair, it scared me to death. So, yeah I get her concern.

I also understand that he wants to be independent as long as he can be. They both are struggling with getting older.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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The problem is, if your father is mentally competent then he still has autonomy over his body and can refuse to allow a PCW to help him shower. Is he able to bathe himself properly? Maybe mom can bring in someone to help her with other things around the house.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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I think having someone there to help if help is needed is a good plan.
I used to be in the bathroom and would use an angled mirror to watch my husband. I continued that until I saw that he actually needed help. Then we started using the HUGE shower (that is a zero threshold shower. ) Was easier and safer. I purchased walkers from resale shops that he would use for support. Even though there were great grab bars I could not get him to use them.
Better safe than sorry. Start with “the shower assistant is there just in case you need anything” he will get used to it.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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If dad is mentally competent and does not have mobility issues, he does not need assistance. On the other hand, if dad can not or will not bathe mom - she may require an assistant to bathe.

I would suggest a chair for in the shower for your mom and a handheld shower attachment to make it easier to rinse. If there is a way to warm up the bathroom or warmup towels in advance. both would find bathing something to look forward to.
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Reply to Taarna
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pamzimmrrt Nov 24, 2020
Dad needs the help.. Mom has mobility issues and can;t help him. My 90 YO mom is slow as anything getting her shower, from start to finish it takes about an hour.. part of that is sitting on the toilet doing crossword puzzles, I just keep checking in.. so far so good. I have told her when she can;t do this anymore we will have to get a "buddy" for her. You have to know what you can do.
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You're 88 year old father should'nt need a PSW. That's my advice for you hope it helps EalinrGould. Have a nice day.
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Reply to Annikah
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Lymie61 Nov 29, 2020
Based on age?
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Can he shower himself? The psw can help him in and out and stand by in case there is trouble and let him do the washing in order to protect his modesty (unless he truly needs assistance), in fact doing just that is part of their training. And scheduling his showers when the psw is there ensures that they actually happen on a regular schedule and take the pressure off your mother to try to enforce this of assist beyond her physical abilities.
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Reply to cwillie
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Annikah Nov 24, 2020
I agree
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