How can I make the person I care for feel more secure/confident when I give her a shower-without her walker in the shower? - AgingCare.com

How can I make the person I care for feel more secure/confident when I give her a shower-without her walker in the shower?

Follow
Share

I care for a 76yr old retired nurse, she has had 5 hip surgeries and is on Prestiq. She is very 'edgy', to put it nicely, when I have to rouse her in the mornings. Her son requests that she be showered at least every other day. There is NO railing in the bathroom. The last time I took her in for a shower, she slapped me on the head when I tried to get her from the toilet to the shower. I know she is frustrated w/herself for no longer being 100% mobile. I also know that the morning emotional issues are from the Prestiq. However, her son is more of a 'Get it done and move on' kinda person. He's bigger than I am, and can just DO IT. I cannot. I also have a back issue. The woman stumbled 2 days ago, and I DID catch her, no problem. I do have my own confidence issues w/her in the shower situation. I also HATE having to take her in to the shower. She wears 2 Depends each night, and does need to shower usually almost daily, she can't go weekly. Short of having her son do this one task, anyone have any advise on how to manage this chore?
She can be rather cantankerous throughout the day, never conversational.
At best, my telling her I am only here to HELP and to make her more comfortable has been my own best approach. Appealing to her nurse's past is NOT a good idea. I think that makes her madder.
Thanks!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
32

Answers

Show:
1 2 3 4
You can install grab bars in the shower. I actually did away with the bathtub and use a walk in shower because it's easier to clean and no issues getting in and out of the tub and even the walk in shower has grab bars. No big deal!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I am sorry to hear of your situation, but according to what you have written, it sounds like you are not physically capable of handling this woman and I'm sure that is one reason why she is uncomfortable getting into the shower for you. You also wrote that you took this position due to your own personal financial situation, more then any other reason, knowing you had no training. Unless you get some sort of training, you are doing this person and yourself a great injustice. I am inclined to agree with the person who suggested allowing the woman to have some control the time she wakes up. I have been caring for my husband for several years now due to dementia and I've found when I let him sleep in a little longer he is in a much better mood. Even if it means I might have laundry to do because of the Depends leaking. Wheel chairs or "travel chairs" are also handy for getting the person around. I do think it very unprofessional for you to refer to this woman's bowel movement in the term that you felt the need to write, even if it is the term that the son uses. Please for this woman's sake as well as your own, get some training if you intend to continue with this position.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Oh dear, blessing. Indeed, thank goodness her son walked in, and that he is prepared to help you. I am shocked at her lack of quality of life. My mother is 100 and still in an ALF, though with lots of help. I am 75, and still driving 5 hrs to see her sometimes, and do my own house wotk, cooking etc., though I think I will look for once a month cleaning help. I went tenting a few years ago. She has no quality of life at all. I am glad that your friend's sister may come to talk to you. She could have some valuable ideas. I do hope that the son will take his mum to see her doc and he will make some changes to help her. Keep up the good work!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

She just came out, and had...uh...a shit blowout, as her son puts it. She sat down at her table, I smelled IT and got her to the toilet. It was..horrific. Stupid me, thought BABY WIPES! Hell no. Thank Buddha her son walked in. I told him, I need you to get her into the shower. He did, and she kinda fought him. She won't help, that's the issue, but he's like 6ft2, and linebacker from HS, College- he gets it done. HE sez, its ok, this is a team effort, if I'm here, I'll help. Thankfully. But she didn't even clean herself under his instruction, he had to turn the shower back on her, and tell her to do it again. I will attempt to talk to him tomorrow about all of these things you all have given me. she IS too young to just lay here. My dad is 77 and totally active. My friend's sister, from Visiting Angels, may come talk to me, too. That would totally help.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You are in a situation which is very difficult b/c this family is undergoing a lot of turmoil and it seems like the son is overwhelmed but trying to do the right thing. And you, not being a family member, have to walk on eggshells with your attempts to help out. This lady needs a good doctor who will listen to her and talk to her and try to find the right combination of things (low dosage antidepressant) physical therapy, etc to get her condition improved. When the dr comes to the home, does he communicate with her or talk over her to the son? Are you allowed to talk to the dr to tell him what you are observing? Have you tried asking your patient, since she is a nurse, what she thinks she needs to feel better and improve her situation? Have you asked her what you can do or her son can do to make the shower experience better? Have you asked her if she wants to try to put a bedside commode next to her bed so she can start trying to get up when she has to go so she won't have to walk so far? What about a wheelchair, does she have one? can you suggest you both go outside for fresh air? If she has severe depression she probably needs the right medication and right dosage to give her that boost to get back on her feet. I know from experience with my elderly family member that some of those drugs can make them act crazy, some make them sleep all the time. some make them sleepless. The magic one turned out to be a low dose of wellbutrin, after many failed tries. Would her son be open to suggestions if you find articles on the internet that talk about depression and the elderly and the different drugs and treatments and give them to him? And re his not being open to shower training. Tell him that things change with the elderly and she may be getting weaker from laying in bed all the time and need more support. Thus, my original suggestion to look into getting a good home therapist to come and evaluate her and offer some sessions. Medicare ususally covers it. She is too young to waste away in bed.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I agree with the others, there's some serious depression going on here and I don't see the woman cooperating, let alone progressing, until the depression is addressed. There are many, many signs in your posts of a major depression. My oldest daughter suffers from bi-polar disorder and it's truly amazing what the right cocktail of psych medicines will do for a person! Poor lady needs a mental eval as soon as possible, IMO.

I commend you on being such a caring, compassionate caregiver - hang in there!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

She is not on the seroquel now. I was once on it, myself. I know that John has her on the minimal meds, which I personally agree with. I was overmedicated to the point of weighing 300lbs. I can't imagine what is going on inside her. I look into her eyes, and can SEE that someone is in there, but does she want out, does she want to GO and BE again? I have no idea. I only have my own horrendous experience with being over medicated to go on. A Friend told me to watch Patch Adams, and 'connect' with Betty, well. I do not foresee that happening. I know that she was an ICU nurse in LA forever, then when it got to be mostly AIDS patients, she went to the VA to be a nurse the last 8 or so yrs of her career. All of this is hard friggin work. Whatever she wants to eat, I will make her. I know a few things she kinda likes, and I make that on a rotation. I guess her being happy is not going to happen. Comfortable, and less annoyed with her self imposed confinement, maybe. Her son keeps telling me, its all her choice- he would have her in another situation, if she would do other things- books, crosswords, crochetting, all this would be at her disposal, if she mentioned it. She has tv. She doesn't even want it on. :( Thanks for the help...
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

(((((((((((((Blessing))))))))))))) It may well be best that she does not know about her granddaughter. I commend you for wanting Betty to be happy, but I really wonder if that is possible. Comfortable. maybe, clean, hopefully, properly nourished, yes, but happy? It might be good for you to lower your sights to looking after the basics. I don't think anyone can make Betty happy. I do think it would be good to mention to John that his mum may need an evaluation, and meds adjustment, as it could make her easier to manage, and also make her life more pleasant. The meds (too much or not enugh) may be contributing to her not wanting to get out of bed. He may not want to do that, but at least you have tried. She is on Prestique and Seroquel - pretty heavy meds for depression and bipolar disease I believe. Traditionally bipolar disease is very difficult to manage. She is a senior, so side effects of these drugs may greater. A friend of mine (since deceased) was a professor of Pharmacoloogy. He visited his mum to find her lying in bed with her face to the wall. He reviewed her meds, and found she was grossly over medicated. Once her meds were corrected she came back to herself. There may be a parallel here. Whether or not a med adjustment would have any effect on her temperament, I don't know.
I am really sorry about your injury, and know it will take time before you get a settlement. You are in a very different situation compared to what you were before - looking after, presumably, normal kids. Yes, detaching and letting the nastiness roll of your back is difficult - no question of that. However, detaching will help you survive, if you want to keep this job. Again, I commend you for seeking to find answers to a very difficult situation. Good luck, and keep us updated.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I do not think Betty knows the girl passed away, it was 2 mos ago. She mentioned her a week ago, asking if her son had mentioned the daughter. I just moved past it. She asks if he is going home- I do not think she knows the size of the house, etc. John- her son, lives upstairs. I live in the basement, below Betty. John's wife Rita, is back at their house, as he tries to sell it. She is also an alcoholic. I am worried in am in over my head with this job. I have never done this before, with adults. I have been a nanny, for children. I will not be making this a career, I'm sorry. I was in a car wreck in July, rear ended by a semi- John knows this and am working on a settlement via SNAIL ATTORNEYS, lol. Thus, this was the only job I could find, no car, no $, no resources. I do want Betty to be comfortable, and be happy. She IS severely depressed. John said she was on Seroquel, which is an anti-phsychotic. she will often just say, "I think I'm crazy" (kinda under her breath) ...I don't imagine we are going to be having a dr visit for medication maintence anytime soon.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thanks for all the answers! Always helpful. Betty is in Prestiq and I believe that is her only psyche med. The rest is all 'reg' medication. I keep on telling her, I am trying to help. I brought her a drink to her bed, and had to raise the head of the bed just now. When I went to lower it, I got screamed at. She has made me cry, and seen me crying. I have tried talking to her. I tell her, I cannot help you if you don't let me, I cannot help you if you don't help me. I am a 'natural' servant. I enjoy doing. I USED to like cooking, but not so much now. I go in sometimes, to get her up, and tell her, you lay there and wake up, I will be back in a few min to get you up. I do understand about sleep cycles, I sleep barely 3hrs a night myself. I was a forced morning person.Her son won't be offended, he just probly won't go for new ideas. He's been at this for years now.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

1 2 3 4
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions