How does one deal with a loved one who absolutely refuses to bathe or brush their teeth?

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He is always in denial of his situation and only changes clothes when I undress and say I am washing clothes give me yours. His dementia has progressed over a 10 year period. His self care is non existent from who he used to be. Just the two of us live together in a fairly new area. He thinks that he is still back where he used to live. In addition to everything, he has blockage issues, and I have to resort to put otc medications (laxatives) in his beverages. However, not bathing and spitting at night from the bed; when he is reading inside and outside of the house spitting is so difficult to take. He is difficult to say the least.

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Oh my. All of this is very, very difficult. I know it is hard to take.

For at least the last year, maybe longer, my husband spit a lot. I think it was because of increasing difficulty swallowing (common in later stage dementia) and a built up of excess saliva. I kept a basket near the bed and another next to recliner, each lined with plastic bags, for him to spit into and throw his used tissues into. When he became bed-bound near the end I used a lined plastic bowl that I could set right on his bed, next to his pillow.

The hospice nurse order a patch for him to wear behind his ear that considerably reduced his need to spit. She warned that it might dry his mouth uncomfortably and I should watch for that, but it never did become a problem. Perhaps you could speak to his doctor about something to dry up his secretions, making both of you more comfortable!

The hospice nurse also provides oral swabs that could be used right in bed. Maybe that would appeal to your partner.

At least you have a way to get his clothes clean!

Are you giving him bed baths?

Also talk to his doctor about when it might be appropriate to have him evaluated for hospice? Most people don't call hospice in soon enough, and it can be a real help.
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