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My mother didn't even know she had an odor bc she had lost her olfactory sense. I had to stop being near her when she was and after she used the toilet. That's why I purchased massive quantities of the Bath & Body Works room sprays! Works wonders!
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When i first started showering my mom, I would keep a think robe in her while I washed from the waist down, took it off, put a towel over her lap then did her hair and the top of her. I think I got it down to about 5 mins, the quicker the better. I would dry the upper half and put a dry robe on to get her out. My mom was very modest so I know showering was not easy for her. I am now going on axon, never heard of the blow up shower.
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Yes. My mother is bedridden and it's so difficult for me to have her agree to a bath. In her case (who has vascular dementia), I think it's because she's terrified of being naked, even if it's only in front of me. She feels vulnerable and this scares her. I can't do a full bath on her anymore because it just distresses her too much, so every other day I take only ten minutes after dinner and I quickly wipe her down all over from top to bottom with a warm wash cloth that has a tiny amount of soap to prevent a full lather (so I don't have to rinse) but enough to get any dirt off. I deep wash her hair once a week in one of those blow-up shower basin off of Amazon.
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Sorry for all the typos, I have a really hard time moving the screen back up when typing on my phone. Patrice
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Sylvia, when my mom was able to help with transfers, I put the side of the bath chair even with the side of the tub, would pivot mom from wheelchair to bath chair then help her lift legs into tub. Had grab bars on wall, she would stand and hold on when it came time to wash her bottom. Then did the same routine to get her out. I put a dry towel on chair to start so her butt would swivel as I was getting her legs in. After I washed that area, which was the last thing I washed, I would pull the wet towel off and put a dry one down. A year before my mom died she was no longer able to help me but my sins had just finished college and I had 2 string bodies to lift her in and out of the shower. I was very fortunate. I had an occupational therapist come to the house to show me the easiest way to shower mom. We were originally using a bigger shower chair but she suggested using the smaller one. She came out a second time and mom and I practiced doing getting in and out ( everyone was fully clothed) so she could see if what she told me would work. My mom was not happy in the beginning when I started showering her but then realized that I could do it quicker then she could. Any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Good luck
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My mom doesn't leave the home except to go for a drive with her husband. They return in time to use the bathroom so telling her we were going somewhere would not give her an incentive ;)
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Rainmom- I have the exact same problem with my mom. The doctor finally ordered home health but when they came to check her, she made them leave. Are the home aids better at getting them to cooperate? She will not with us!!
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Rosebush- my mother has Alzheimer's & post polio syndrome. She walks with a walker but not well. She gets so angry if we even mention a shower. I noticed you mentioned your mom has a wheelchair. How does she get in & out of the shower? My step dad lives with her & doesn't want to make her angry. She hasn't had a shower in about 2 years!
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It seems always necessary to have the positive incentive element, not only the "you stink" element. The reward of being able to go out works for Mom. She likes to look good for parties and outings. She also likes going over to a warm swimming pool, for which she has to shower first at the facility with her companion spraying her. And she enjoys the whirlpool tub at assisted living if they do the whole service ritual of preparing the carry bag with soap and lotion and fresh towels, and she sits on a fresh towel in the tub too, and wears her nice robe, and lotion afterwards, etc etc all of it. It really is first rate spa service for her. Dementia patients often DO NOT THINK there is anything wrong with them, and can't learn that there is.
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Private: Good strategy!
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What I did when my surrogate dad wouldn't bathe is just not let him touch me. I kept dropping hints on him and he eventually started sponge bathing, which is really better than nothing. I'm not sure he ever took a real shower for quite a long time, which probably contributed to eventually coming down with pneumonia. I only wish I would've known he was most likely sick for quite a while until he came down with pneumonia. I know that bacteria on the body can and often does have a lot to do with a person's health even in the long run. All of the bacteria he was carrying for so long was most likely the very reason why he was sick and just never said anything until he got real bad. When he eventually got cleaned up he seemed to do much better than before.
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My mom loved to take long hot baths - ever since I was a child. When dad passed she moved from a large apartment with two bathrooms - one with a shower the other with a tub/shower combo - to an apartment with one bathroom, shower only I thought it was what she claimed - she said she just didn't like showers - that and mom being her usual difficult, eccentric self. I didn't think through that she knew this new apartment didn't have a bathtub. It also took me a while to actually clue into the fact she wasn't showering - ever. Mom looked relatively clean and there never was any offensive smell. Once I caught on, I would nag - she claimed sponge baths. After a while it became an issue we couldn't discuss without a huge blow up. At one point I asked a visiting home health nurse to talk to mom about it - mom threw her out of the apartment. The supervisor for the home caregivers company brought it up - mom asked her to leave. It was only after she would have a poop accident - then make a mess trying to change her own Depends would she let the caregiver giver her what was close to a shower - but not really and this didn't occur very frequently. I eventually gave up trying. I knew eventually it would come to a boiling point on its own - and it did when she got her first of two cases of cellulitis - both bad enough to cause hospitalization. When mom ended up first in AL then a NH she would still try to get out of showers by pitching a major meltdown tantrum of epic proportions. It's been five months now - she has finally settled down a bit and angerly accepts her twice weekly showers at the NH - still has a fit on occasion. My mom went almost three years without a real shower - from her first day in the new apartment until her first day in rehab just prior to the AL move! I am embarrassed to admit I had no idea it was a sign of dementia - you would have thought the home health nurse might have mentioned that to me when I asked her to talk with mom at about the one year point. Or the hospital doctors might have mentioned it at year two and year three - I told all of them she refused to shower. I had no idea I was dealing with dementia - my long journey to realizing what dementia was might have been a little easier with a little help from moms medical community. And yes, I had Hippa authorization. Oh well - live and learn, I guess. Best of luck to you!
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Our occupational therapist said that older people lose depth perception and are afraid of falling and suggested a bright mat at the bottom of tub. That worked for father. Mother on other hand had dr orders stating she had to bathe. Bribery did not work--offered to take her to casino and she wouldnt bend.
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Yes, it is quite common.Get them some Bath & Body Works products including the contanizered room sprays!!
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Actually, some of the spray on shampoos work very well. Moreover, some home health aids are adept at giving sink shamooos even to someone like my mother who is wheelchair bound.
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Yogagirl, I think I'll try the kitchen sink with her bending over. Perfect, because she would rather bend forward then lean backward. Also, I have a hose attachment. Wish me luck. Otherwise, I'm taking her to the hairdresser. I like yoga too!
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niyah, mom's excuse was that she's afraid she'll get cold, too. We finally washed her hair in the kitchen sink. She is able to bend over the sink and they have a long hose sprayer attachment on the faucet. Next time, I'll take her to my hairdresser for a good wash and color. I just don't want to have to take her to the beauty parlor every time she needs to wash her hair.
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My mother will not shower and now, its been a month since she had a real shower. She says she is doing a sponge bath. She doesn't smell yet, so maybe she is doing it. I offered her a pedicure the other day and so was able to clean her from the knees down. Her hair is awful and greasy. I want to wash her hair, neck and face. She is afraid to get cold, so I am not going to try and put her in the shower. Has anyone used these shampoo trays that work with the sink? Do they work? I don't think the spray on / no rinse shampoos are any good. Bribery sounds great. Kudos to everyone and their efforts. Bribery won't work for my Mom. She is too proud.
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Mom has refused to let the CNA wash her hair for 3 weeks and lately she rarely bathes. She is shadowing me and very clingy so I pretended to prepare to bath myself and wash my own hair in her bathroom, using all her prized toiletries. At the last moment, I asked her if she wanted to go first and she agreed!!
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I had 2 three year old kids at the time so I was into bribery, I did what worked to keep my sanity. I like that people on this site not only give advice but share their personal experiences. We are learn from our mistakes.
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Rosebush,
that's a clever one! I wish I would've thought of that one before the APS stepped in and the courts took over. Hindsight sure is a good teacher. However, I must admit that I am very inexperienced in dealing with these types of cases let alone any at all. These situations that I don't with what ones that I had to learn as I went. I never thought that I would ever be faced with a situation where I would end up having to take care of someone else. Everyone faces their first time at some point, and my dad was definitely my first. I'm sorry I never really knew the ropes, but I must admit but I am learning from this site! This will definitely prepare me in case I ever face another situation later
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Private, I went thru this with my uncle. He was an only child and never married. I could not get him to bathe, think it was about 3 years before he finally got a shower as a result of an ER visit. Doc up the dosage of his depressioneds but what I found out too late was that he never took the pills. The larger dosage made him completely out of it. However, this was a blessing in disguise because I was finally able to get him to a nursing facility where he lived another 5 years. When I found out he was then refusing a shower when I called the nurse, found out what time they could shower him, i showed up with a milkshake. Take a shower and I'll give you the milkshake, worked everytime! As stated before, bribery works wonders.
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I think this is pretty common among older people. I've known a few older people in my life, and sometimes you meet someone who smells like they haven't bathed in a while. There are multiple reasons for this, my surrogate dad was one of them. I never knew for the longest time that not bathing could actually be connected to dementia or Alzheimer's. All I knew was other people could smell him such as his former upstairs neighbor in the upstairs apartment. I know this sounds kind of odd, but she came to me and told me for herself that she could smell him all the way upstairs. All I could really tell her was that there was nothing I could really do about it since I can't force him into the shower and that I was already trying to encourage him to bathe himself to no avail.
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Gina you are so right with the bribery! I did the same thing! My thing was lets get clean because we need to put on new nail polish. I washed my mom up each morning . She worn depended because we weren't able to get her to the potty quick enough with the transfers to the wheelchair. I averaged 2-3 showers per week. Every other day, I am impressed!
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I think it is very normal with dementia patients to not want to bathe. Every patient is different and every caretaker/patient relationship is different. You have to figure out how to make them care or how to bribe them. I could smell my mom across the room and I would say to her. " I love you mom...you are so beautiful... such a princess", then I would go hug her and say "ok wow you are kinda stinky" and she would say "I am?" and I would say "yes, lets go get clean. A princess never stinks. Lets have a spa day, wouldn't that be fun? I'll give you a hair makeover and a facial and a nice warm bubble bath. You are so lucky. I wish someone would spoil me like that :) "
Sometimes, I have to bribe her. I would say," hey you wanna go get some ice cream?" She says "i would love that". I say " O K ,but we can't go out looking like that. Lets get you cleaned up so we can go get ice cream".
I would buy a really good smelling lotiion and say "smell this. Doesn't this smell great" and she say yes. I would ask her if she wants to put that on so she can smell like that? She would say yes and then I'd say well lets go take a bath so I can put this lotion on you. You are going to smell so good."
This stuff worked for me but I'm not saying it works for everyone. It is exhausting. Just kept wishing I could tell her to take a bath and have her do it, but it's just not that easy. I only made her wash her hair twice a week and bath every other day
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well my mother does not have dementia in fact shes pretty healthy ( 74 ) and she don't bathe like a person should. She would go for months without 1 if she could. When she finally does bathe it only takes her 5 mins MAX and shes out of there. Its maddening because she looks and smells dirty all the time. She just doesent care at all.. Shell complain about needing a haircut while sitting there with nasty greasy hair hanging in her face ( no mention of dirty greasy stinky, hair only that its too long ) Not much you can do about it. If she dosent care..... how can you ??
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It was for my mom. My sister would fill the tub with bubble bath, put shower chair in tub and lower the shower hose then my mom would go in bathroom and close the door. My sister would tell me that mom showered last night. It was evident that the only part of her body thst touched the water were her feet. I stopped asking my mom if she needed help and just decided that I would help her. I had been showering my grandmother for years and told her I would help. I don't know if my mom was afraid or just forgot what to do once in the bathroom. Mom would wash what she could once i handed her a soapy rag and I would do the rest. Really didn't give her time to think about it and I made sure I had everything ready. Towels, heater on, warm robe, pretty smelling soaps and shampoo. Good luck
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If she is like my mother, she may be afraid of getting into the shower or bath because of falling. Maybe some towelettes would help? Older people lose some sense of smell, and they don't realize that they need a bath - the 'old people smell' that you hear about.
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Perhaps she has a problem balancing herself. Is there equipment so she can do so comfortably? She may need some help.
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Yes, pretty common as dementia advances. However, her MD can order a bath aide or occupational therapist to help with this. Without bathing, she will develop skin fungus, especially under the breast area.
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