She is 88 years old with "mild" dementia. She has been living with my husband and I for 1 year, 8 months now. She has some degree of urine incontinence and sometimes stool. I do her laundry (and everything else) so I KNOW how bad she smells. She has a safe bathing environment, a grab bar in the shower and refused a shower chair. I am so very tired of the battles.
Her pre Alzheimers self would be horrified.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
TENA Wash Mousse. Been there - it’s brilliant. No need of water - especially for elderly who cannot cope with bathing for whatever reason. Used it for my mum as she was so tender even soft loo paper hurt. It provided a barrier between the paper and her skin and made cleaning her a much pleasanter necessity for both of us.
My father had leg ulcers so couldn’t get his leg wet - the mousse worked well for him too.
Apple cider vinegar is a good antibiotic for armpits if they don’t like sprays or rollerball.
Helpful Answer (1)

Adding to FreqFlyer's comments, there's also the issue that full disrobing leaves an older body more exposed to the air, w/o any protection.  Old people get colder quickly, and forced bathing becomes physically unpleasant while someone shivers.  

As to grab bars, I would put more than one.   I have a horizontal bar along the longer side of the shower, and a vertical one above it.    I plan to add grab bars at the outer edges of the shower, to hold onto when climbing over the tub.   Most care facilities I've seen also have angled grab bars, so someone can hold onto them while either sitting down or pulling up from a shower chair.

Shannon, do you have a shower seat for her or does she have to stand?  If so, that's a hazardous situation.

But I've written in the past and still advise that no rinse products are much safer and less traumatizing.   They're in use as standard at rehab and high care facilities.   When I was hospitalized for a stroke, I used them there as well, and sometimes at home if my back isn't up to standing for a shower.

They're carried in Walgreen's, but overpriced.   You can either check at other drug stores, or at DMEs.    They provide a nice, clean, fresh feeling.  

Combine them with no rinse shampoo.  Then you take the standing, cool environment, delicate balancing situation getting in and out entirely out of the picture.

One poster long ago advocated turning this from a horror situation for a parent into one of bonding.    Put on her favorite music, let her select her clothing, do the no rinse bathing in a warm comfortable environment, don't do it all at one time unless she wants to, and make it more like a spa situation than a torturous one in a bathroom.   

Her favorite music is important for relaxation during the process.

Afterward, have tea together, or just sit and chat, as a reward to her for endurance.  Or do something else she enjoys.

The trick is to turn it from an unwanted, traumatic experience into a very pleasant one.
Helpful Answer (1)

Hi Shannon. I can relate as this was the situation with my Mom previously. She also has Dementia. I would say, ready for a shower? NO! I would try, when would you like to shower? NEVER. My Mom is incontent with severe mobility issues so uses walker with assist at all times. Our routine now is when she gets up in the morning and we get to the bathroom, I put towels on the floor around the base of the toilet and proceed to take her clothes off and wash her right on the toilet. At first she would complain but now it has become routine and it takes 10 minutes and I talk about anything during it and before she knows it we are done and she says she feels good and clean. I hope this might help you. Washing doesn’t have to take place in the shower.
Helpful Answer (3)
Thank you Sweetstuff. Any suggestions welcome.
Shannon, as we age it isn't easy to take a shower. I have noticed for myself that taking a shower is like going to the gym for a workout. It can be very exhausting for many seniors. Especially with your Mom having memory lost, etc.

Another thing, some seniors become claustrophobic when in a shower. Especially if there are glass doors. I know for myself, I need to keep the far door open a couple of feet.

Then there is the fear of falling. If yourMom is using a moisturizing liquid soap and/or hair conditioners, it will make the floor of the tub/shower feel like an ice rink, even with a tub mat inside. I almost slipped the other day.

Towel drying isn't easy. I find myself hopping around trying to get one foot and leg dry, can be a challenge. So easy to get one's feet tangled up in the towel.

Then if Mom needs to blow dry her hair, that can be tiring on her arms.

Whew !!

A parent doesn't need to shower daily, twice a week or once a week is good enough, unless they are doing hard labor. If a parent is a Depends wearer, baby wipes work quite well between showers. I found a good product called "water wipes" which is in the baby section.
Helpful Answer (4)
Thanks for advice. I am going to look for the water wipes. Unfortunately she is so very private about her body. I joke that her butt looks like the other thousands of butts I've seen (RN nurse). She doesn't appreciate my efforts at humor.
We are experiencing same situation with my mom. My mother pre Dementia was all about her hygiene and appearance.

Mom recently went almost 4 weeks without bathing, said she would when she felt like it. It turned into a real stand your ground.

Mom likes taking walks in the afternoon with caregiver. We told her these walks would be restricted unless she agreed to bathe couple times a week. She requested visit to hair salon earlier this week, and was told I’ll take her as long as she understands must have bath or shower beforehand. In both situations she agreed.

In our case using bath as a trade off for something she really wants seems to be working.
Helpful Answer (4)
Thank you Kitty. Today she showered because I promised to take her to Walmart. Sometimes its Costco, etc. Sometimes its out to get ice cream. I am beginning to make strategic shower choices. Sigh.
I would be a rich person if I had a nickel for all the hours our family waited for her to "get ready" for just about anything. Her pre-Alzheimers life.
See 1 more reply
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter