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Since I am not strong to lift him out of the bed, I had to give him a sponge bath. However, while I am bathing his private area he sometimes becomes erect- is this normal? What should I do in that scenario?

First to address your original question, this is a perfectly "normal" reaction that is physiological just like waking up with an erection often is for men, it is not about you or any sexual thoughts and feelings. Similar things can happen to women too, say tight jeans rub just the right way or during a gynecological exam a woman get's moist, not orgasmic, not sexual, physiological. Now, of course you are uncomfortable and embarrassed in this situation, if your dad is at all aware of what is going on around him I'm sure he is just as horrified. Simply having his daughter washing him in that area has got to be uncomfortable at best, it would be uncomfortable for me and I'm a stranger. Nurses have little tricks for making this highly sensitive necessity less so. They use a towel as someone already mentioned, always covering the patient, then ask if the patient wants to take the washcloth and swipe their private areas if the patient doesn't have that ability they are very quick about it using a damp room temp washcloth and simply wiping the basic areas, you don't need to spend a lot of time or get every square inch every time. They also have a special kind of soap when needed that doesn't need to be rinsed off, check with the local pharmacy, hospital or dads doctor about what to use.

Now, I understand that you don't feel like there are any other options because of fiances and you may be right but there also may be more resources than you think. First, is your dad being followed by a doctor? Was he hospitalized and then deemed well enough to go home to recuperate? I am surprised he would have been sent home with you and no help in the condition you describe and I'm wondering if perhaps you either missed some of the option or instructions for setting up home health care. If insurance or lack of is your concern there may be options for him but if as has been said here you are a high school student you shouldn't have to figure this out alone, adults don't navigate all of this alone and I would be happy to help you figure out where to get that help as I'm sure other here would too. My sense is you may fear going to officials as a minor who may not have a capable guardian so I understand it may be a touch thing, if you feel better private messaging some of the details I am happy to do that too. Some of my basic questions while trying to figure out options include the ones above as well as what state are you in and anything you can share about his actual issues.

I don't want you to feel alone.
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Reply to Lymie61
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HI there, you are doing a great job caring for your Dad! I reccomend looking into all the above in home help type resources, but until you can get help, do follow the suggestions as above, and if he can participate and clean his own privates, just do the best you can, and be quick about it.

I too bathed my Dad, privates and all, shaved him and dressed him right up until he died, all 3 of my sisters did as well. It becomes a natural thing after a while, and the "uncomfortableness" wears off after a while, and it just becomes second nature. I am sure it is something he isn't aware of, or has no control of, he is a man after all. As long as he isn't making any untoward comments while you are taking care of business, just get her done, and move on with the next task at hand.

You might look up "Teepa Snow" videos on YouTube, as she has many great Senior care topics online which might help you, a lot of people refer to her videos here often.

Take care and keep coming back for more assistance on loads of topics here on the AC forum, I bet you will find it most helpful! You are one special daughter, to care for your Dad like this!
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Reply to staceyb
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Honey, I'm sorry you are facing this incredibly difficult situation alone. I don't think you can possibly care for your father by yourself, period. You need help....help to dress him, help to bathe him, help to care for him in every way possible. Being bedridden means he MUST be moved on a regular basis *by someone capable and strong enough to do so* or else he's going to develop painful & dangerous bedsores. For that reason alone you need to explore your outside care options. Have you applied for Medicaid yet? If you haven't, please do! Make some phone calls and see where/how you can get qualified help in your area to come in on a daily basis. If your dad is very sick, I'm sure he's seen a doctor, who is a good source of information for YOU on this subject. Maybe he needs a stint in rehab to help him get back on his feet; ask the doctor his thoughts on the matter. You can't do this alone, you just can't! As far as washing his genitals go, I'd give him the washcloth & tell him to tend to himself while you leave the room.

Wishing you all the best of luck with this tough situation, and sending you a big hug of compassion, too.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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I am sorry, but a minor should not be doing this job. Do you have no family? Because, Dad needs more care than you can give or should have to. Is there no one you can live with and Dad can be placed in LTC.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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worriedinCali May 1, 2019
She’s not a minor.
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I cannot find where you’ve stated that you are still in high school...but if that’s the case this is a terrible situation for you. I can’t imagine my young granddaughters having to deal with caregiving. They can barely care for themselves. I hope you have contacted his doctor to tell him your dads current condition, how bad he’s getting and you’re having a difficult time on your own. You should not have to deal with the issues you’re experiencing.
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worriedinCali May 1, 2019
there is another thread with a few more details
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Speak to his doctor about the use of amyl nitrate. I may have spelled that wrong.
It has been used in men that have undergone a circumcision as an adult.
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Reply to OldSailor
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It must be sad and stressful to see your Dad having this problem. Of course, you know he can’t help this, and his brain is confused.

It is so wonderful that he has you-I’m sure many others have abandoned him during this hour of need and you are there for him! You are a hero! If more people were this kind, the world would be a better place.

Reach out for help from local professionals-
Explore Medicaid benefits (as mentioned below) to reduce/eliminate costs for needed items and services. Do you have a hospital bed? A recliner that can help move him to a standing position? See whether you can get your Dad’s doctor to order physical/occupational therapy and home healthcare.

In addition to helping you provide the best quality of life for your dad, the therapists should be able to help you with professional advice regarding this problem. I’m sure this comes up frequently (pun intended).

if you can, bring in a male caregiver to take care of your Dad’s bathing regularly. (Forget hiring a female- under the circumstances).

These are rough days. Others may tell you to put your Dad in a facility, but you can do this.

I helped my dad with personal care and am so glad that I could be there for him. I understand your anguish.

He is so lucky to have a kind family member there to see him through these dark times. We can all hope our kids would stand beside us (like you) in times of despair.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter
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Is he strong enough to clean his own genital area?

Have you tried cleaning in a different motion that maybe isn't so stimulating?

I give you credit girl, because that was the deal breaker for me with my dad. No way am I able to help him in that way. That he couldn't toilet himself meant he was facility bound.

Do you have an older female friend that could give you some advice on handling things differently? Maybe a male poster will chime in and give you some tips.

I can't help but think it is normal for a man to get aroused when being handled, but I can't imagine it with his daughter. It seems like it's wrong.

Is his prognosis for improvement or is it a steady decline?
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I believe this is a purely unconscious male reaction. I work in the infant room at a daycare, and when we change the boy babies, many of them have erections as well. My co-worker says she thinks it’s a reaction to being exposed to the air. It’s unconscious and not a sexual thing.

When bathing a patient, the privates should always be covered by a towel. Bathing that area should be done quickly and efficiently. This is a good time to talk about the weather, sports or whatever else. You need not give a play by play of what you’re doing. It probably takes me all of 30 seconds with my husband. Make no comments or jokes, remember you are an adult, wash the area, re-cover it and move on. You mentioned you care for your father. If you are truly uncomfortable, ask his doctor to write an order for a bath aide to come out a few times a week.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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worried in cali - "I’m going to say that no it’s not a natural reaction BUT your profile says dad has Alzheimer’s/dementia? If he’s got dementia then it could be the dementia. If he’s on Medicaid, again he may be eligible for home health services, Medicaid will pay for it. If hes on Medicare, they too will pay for home health. You should seriously consider it, it will help take some of the responsibility off your shoulders :)"
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Reply to anonymous904845
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Shane1124 May 1, 2019
The reaction is purely reflex and normal. Please don’t think you are doing anything to cause it.
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i hope it’s ok to ask this question—where is your mother? Are your parents separated/divorced? If not, she should be bathing him, not you.

If your mother is not in the picture, please look in to home health care. If your dad has insurance, be it private or Medicaid, he should be able to get some sort of home health care.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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anonymous904845 Apr 30, 2019
My mother isn't in the picture and our financial situation is the reason why I am the one doing it. It isn't malevolent on his part- and I am an adult- but I just am wondering if maybe the way I wash is the issue or if it's normal and what to do to avoid it if possible..
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