My husband won't shower or shave. Refusing my help. Gets angry and tells me to leave him alone when I mention it. Any advice?

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I don’t have any advice, but understand that you’re frustrated. My FIL refuses help all the time, but cannot do anything for himself. He gets so angry. I think it’s because he’s frustrated that “everybody’s always telling me what to do!”.
I know the anti-bathing thing is a normal behavior with Alz patients.
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Reply to Ceecee65
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Donvee, oh I remember when my Dad didn't want to shower, for him it was mainly a fear of falling as falling in a bathtub/shower there is no place that has a soft landing.

Finally one of my Dad's caregiver tried this.... she put her hands on her hips and said to my Dad "Mr. Bob, I raised a houseful of boys and there isn't anything I haven't seen". That got Dad laughing, then he was ready for her to help him with the shower :)

Both of my Dad's regular caregivers were in their 50's. He wouldn't let a younger caregiver help him shower, nor a male caregiver.
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Reply to freqflyer
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My husband is 87 with a hybrid of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia, as well as diabetes. Dementia started 8 years ago. His lack of interest in hygiene and keeping hair and beard cut started at least a couple of years ago, if not longer. I have gradually learned to pick my battles, like other caregivers. His appearance and fragrance can be unattractive. However, they are not the highest priority. Keeping him safe, as well as having a calm and friendly rapore between us are paramount. I put highest priority on life-threatening things, like his diabetes routine. He is also sensitive to being managed. He needs to be addressed calmly and nicely, but firmly. I have learned to let go of the need for perfection. Way too stressful for me and it's unrealistic.
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Reply to Lifejourney
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As Barb mentioned, if refusing to take a bath or to shave is a new problem for your husband, then you need to have your husband see the doctor so that he can rule out a urinary tract infection or maybe prescribe some medications that will decrease your husband's behavior to a more manageable level. Like CeeCee said, people with dementia or Alzheimer's have a tendency to not want to take a bath. And men especially, maybe because they don't like women telling them what to do.

Have you considered having a male bath aide or a male family member attempt to help your Dad with showering or shaving? Do you have a walk-in shower (with a hand-held shower head) that you can put a stool in for your husband to sit on while taking a shower? What type of razor did your husband used to use? My Dad used a double blade razor and he didn't like to use the electric shaver because he said it didn't give him a close enough shave.

Unfortunately, it is going to be a "trial and error" with you trying different approaches to get your husband to take a shower or to shave. It is not easy and a problem that the nursing staff in nursing homes have to deal with almost daily. Maybe you could contact your local Agency on Aging or Home Health Agency or Assisted Living facility or nursing home and see if the BATH AIDE has any suggestions. I am sorry that you are having this problem with your loved one.
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Reply to DeeAnna
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I'm going to suggest another approach--bathing is important, shaving isn't. My father always had a clean-shaven face, but during his last couple years he effectively quit, and got a shave only when he had a haircut.

I have had a good "19th century" type beard for the past 20 years or so although I had let it grow off and on since graduate school days. I wash it along with my hair when I take a shower, and then comb it out and trim it to keep it even. I've received many compliments on it, and am occasionally approached by members of different ethnic and religious groups (who wonder if I'm actually "one of them") with whom I end up having an interesting and enjoyable conversation. I grew mine because I prefer my appearance with it more than without it. It requires less time and effort than shaving, but still some attention is needed to keep it from looking scraggly.

Of course I can't speculate as to what your husband would look like with a beard or how well his beard would grow, but would allowing him to grow it be an acceptable option? If so, this would largely eliminate one of your "battles".
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Reply to jacobsonbob
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I see in your profile that your husband has Alzheimer's. This reluctance to bathe and other hygiene issues seems to be very common.

With my mom, early on, my step dad would lovingly ask her to shower with him. That worked for a bit. As the disease progressed, that was difficult for both of them. We got a shower chair and in the morning, I would simply prep everything and announce, "your shower is ready"...it was a statement and I just acted like she requested it and I got everything ready...water warmed and running, clothes layed out, towel and robe set out, room warmed up. I did the same with brushing teeth, etc. You could try one of these.

At times, mom simply revised and I didn't push. I just used the same strategy the next day... And the next... I figured if she got a shower once a week, it was fine. The doctor told me "no one dies from not showering". (But it might smell like they did, lol)

I didn't have to deal with shaving, thank goodness. Much luck on your journey... Sorry you and hubby have to go down this road.
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Reply to Grammyteacher
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Is this a change in mental status? Report it to his doc immediately.
This sort of change is sometimes brought on by a urinary tract infection. Check for that asap.

Talk to his doctor about his behavioral symptoms and what approaches/meds might help.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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This is also typical of severe depression, they lose all desire to tend to personal hygiene.
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Reply to Val3rie
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Learn to pick your battles. Call for HomeHealthCare and get some help. I had to shave my DH and he did start refusing to get into the shower this year - he was having trouble standing but was trying to compensate - I kept him ambulatory until the end and he was almost 97 when he passed. He was only bedridden 3 days and Depends for 2.

Sit your DH down, buy some Adult/Baby Wipes and help him to shave while sitting somewhere - we used the living room. But at DH's age, he couldn't shave without a mirror and it just became easier for him when I started shaving him.

Don't fight over it. Sit and discuss. Ask him how you can help him to help himself. Offer to get a table on wheels - like hospitals use - and you can get his all his supplies. It really isn't difficult and my DH refused electric razors so I had to learn how to use blades.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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Is his lack of hygiene the only thing he gets defensive about? Is he normally mild tempered? 
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Reply to Pepsee
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