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She insists she just had a bath a few days ago. We have purchased hand held shower, safety handles etc. for her bath. She took them all back down. From what we can tell she has not had a bath or shower for several months. We did wash her hair in the sink once in that time. Reasonable conversations result in an agreement to let us help her bathe weekly but when the time comes she refuses. Says she just bathed "a couple days ago". I tried to hire a bath aide but when she arrived at the house mom got her car keys and left. We don't know what to do. We have about given up. Our mom used to be so different. Now she never cleans house, rarely does laundry, and wears old ratty clothes. Back in the day she was always well dressed and her house was spotless. Oddly enough she continues to "put on her face" every day whether she is going out or not. She also refuses to let us hire a housekeeper. She was a great mom to us and we are so frustrated with trying to give back the loving care she gave us. What do we do? Can we just give up on the bath?

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My 83 year old mother fights baths like a cat. She was doing sponge baths and refusing showers when she lived with me. She used dry shampoo on her hair. Before she moved in with me, she had spoiled, rotten food in the fridge and pantry, mice nests in her cupboards, debris on the floor, smelly trash all over. We knew she couldn't - or wouldn't - keep up her 15 room house. When she was with me (5 years), she wouldn't clean her bedroom or let me do it and kept stale crackers and cereal in it, causing a moth infestation I'm still dealing with. She hid her used Depends in a plastic bag behind her bedroom door. Wore the same clothes she'd worn during the day to bed. It was awful. Nothing I said or did would make a difference. We had her evaluated by a geriatric specialist, who confirmed she had dementia and could not be alone for any length of time. Now at the memory care facility, she is required to shower - still fights it - but she showers. Sometimes a stranger can accomplish things a family member can't - we're too worried about hurt feelings whereas the aides are most concerned with hygiene and safety.
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I'm going to link a couple of articles for you

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/alzheimers-disease-dementia-warning-signs-144253.htm

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/signs-a-senior-needs-help-at-home-143228.htm

You might also want to check out Teepa Snow on YouTube - "making visits valuable", especially part 2
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Is she noticeably dirty or smelly? Once I moved in with my mom it became obvious that she hadn't fully bathed or showered for a very long time (despite having grab bars she wasn't capable of getting in the tub) but relied on sponge baths, still she kept herself reasonably clean and she did go out for her weekly wash and set so her hair was looked after.
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Dedicateddotter Nov 16, 2018
My sister said she smelled of BM in the car. She also has had a recent UTI. I stayed with her for 3 weeks recently and noted that she had no dirty towels or wash rags in her laundry(which I was doing during that time). I would be ok with "spit" baths at this point. I honestly did not smell body odor but I am a smoker so might not notice. I did note that her teeth often looked dirty. Other odd behaviors I observed included drying her pants outside after an episode of urinary incontinence and then re-wearing them. So out of character for a mom who used to sanitize her garbage cans!
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If your Mom is getting Medicare and or has insurance have her dr put in an order for some physical therapy and then have them evaluate the need for a cna to come and help with bathing. They are trained in getting hem to clean. Helps to keep u from being the “bad guy”. So long as there is a need you should be able to keep the bathing help in combination with some type of therapy.
If not you can then look into private pay maybe even with the same Provider.
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