My mom is terrified of the shower! Any suggestions?

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My mom is terrified of taking a shower. She lives in a great memory care unit and has loving caretakers but over the past few months will not take a shower. I helped with the shower last and she prayed the whole time that she could get through her shower! Broke my heart!! Does anyone have any suggestions on how we can get through this. Unfortunately there are no bath tubs to see if that would work. Thank you!

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LovingMom, your mother is giving you signals but you're not heeding them. She DOESN'T want to go into the shower. Insisting that she does is only going to frustrate both of you, aggravate her, and complicate the problem.

Your title post indicates that she's "terrified" of getting into the shower. That determination should be a clue that forcing her into the shower is not the solution. Put yourself in her place; would you want be forced into action that "terrifies" you?

Caregiving is an ongoing learning and adapting process. Ask the aides to explain no rinse and dry shampoo products to you.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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One of the main problems I am having at the moment is even getting her to enter the shower. I am looking at getting a portable tub. I am still trying to get her into the shower but it is small and could be a big part of the problem too
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Reply to 1lovingmom
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My Mom never liked showers, ever. They made her dizzy and water on her face and head made her feel she couldn't breath. She felt like she was drowning.

Does the facility have a hair salon? Maybe she could tolerate getting her hair washed there, plus a set and comb out, of course.

At least that might help some.
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Reply to Pepsee
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My mom is having the same problem in the nursing home. She says the water gets too hot. She stays cold a lot. She is now refusing showers. I thought about asking if it would be okay for me to give them to her.
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Reply to Belle41
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Just a thought here. There is a handheld type of shower that can be height adjustable. Maybe adjusting it lower so that it sprays her body lower and adjust the volume of the spray so the pressure is minimal might help.
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Reply to OldSailor
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I tried a few suggestions Tuesday. She won't even step one foot into the shower! I had to wash her up in the bathroom and then tried to wash her hair in the sink (she called me every name in the book!). So, next I am going to try a tub of water. Unfortunately the facility does not have any bath tubs, so have to bring my own. I did give this some thought about a facility not have a bathtub. As a small child we are afraid of the shower so that is why we usually take baths!
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Reply to 1lovingmom
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With a hand held shower, start with spraying her feet with the water a little warmer than the her skin, give her a wash cloth Slowly go up her legs to her knees. She may put the wash cloth out and get it wet. She then may wash her face. Elders with dementia become afraid of water. As children they most likely took baths. That's always seemed to work. Don't forget to heat the bathroom well ;
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Reply to Mellipeep
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You might try with her just sitting in the shower on the chair. Even clothed. Then naked with a basin of water. See whats bugging her. One of the people above wrote about the concentration camps. Even if she isnt a surviver she might have that on her mind. My Mom who is Jewish but was in the US the entire war. She was thinking she was from Poland the other night. Remembering a movie we saw ages ago..where the father told the little girl to put on her winter shoes because even though it was summer she might need them later. She thought she was the little girl . I had to reminder that she wasnt polish and wasnt in europe during the war
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Reply to baskethill1
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wonderful suggestions!! Mom does sit on a shower chair but thinking I am going to try some kind of plastic, deep basin for her to wash in. The thought went through my mind that as a child we tend to take baths until we were not so afraid of the falling water in a shower. She just may be at the bathing stage. I wish so much there was a walk in bath tub where she is at. I did find that when I am there she endures it, otherwise fights the aides.
thanks again for great thoughts!
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Reply to 1lovingmom
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I went thru this with Dad in Memory Care too. I spoke with the director, and we found that it was just finding the right person -- the one that dad trusted completely. He was a big guy, and there was a larger woman there who just had a knack for mothering and cooing over him as she took care of him. So we scheduled his showers around her work schedule so that she would always be assigned to him.
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Reply to talkey
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