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Doesn't change diaper or shower any more.

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Hi Lizziebee57. I hope things are going well for you. I wanted to share an article that one of our experts have on our site regarding this very subject.

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/elderly-parents-who-wont-shower-or-change-clothes-133877.htm

I wish you the best.
AgingCare.com Team
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Shala9, my cousin is a nurse in an assisted living place and she said none of them like to take a shower. They sometimes fight you over it because they don't like to be cold. After we realized that my mother-inlaw wasn't waiting for the water to warm up, I started getting it going for her while she was undressing.
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I thought I was the only person with a mom who showers once a week. She has a full time care giver who comes to our house every Monday morning and Leaves Friday afternoons. I deal with her the whole weekend. She is very obstinate about what she wants to do and what she doesn't like to do. Showering is on top of the no like list, even though I've had a handyman build a bench for her and a handheld shower installed. Also her caregiver helps wash her. I've had to literally force her into the bathroom by physically blocking her bedroom. Much yelling and screaming, which is embarrassing if the neighbors hear, since the assumption is that she is being brutalized. It has been a heartache for me to use these strong arm tactics on her but I have had no choice. We have assigned a special shower day for her now, Thursdays, and I am trying to increase the showers to two days a week. The thing is that once she goes in then she doesn't want to come out, just like a kid!
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My MIL wasn't washing her hair and was getting out of shower after a minute, so we knew she was barely getting wet. So what I started doing was getting all her clean clothes and towel and washcloth ready, turned on water to get the warm water flowing since it took a while, closed the door for a few minutes until she got in behind the shower door, and then I stand by the door and coach her to wash each body part and wash her hair. I can see her outline so I know if she isn't doing it, so I can help at that point. But so far it is working. As long as I can keep her under the water and scrubbing her body for a few minutes, I feel like she is getting a decent shower. And after doing this every other day, she is getting used to the routine. She goes to adult daycare 3 times a week so she gets her shower every other day and then both days of the weekend, since her hygiene is getting so poor.
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Thank you both for your replies! After the diagnoses, I went through a period of feeling totally overwhelmed and depressed. Then I had an epiphany of how my behavior was setting the tone for our home and relationship. It was as if I had given up...missing in action, if you will. Jaye, I wish I had some of the options you mentioned. My family lives 100 miles away and consists of a 94-year-old Mother and a 55-year-old sister who is now not only our Mother's primary care provider but who also has a husband who recently suffered a massive stroke and coronary. My husband’s older brother lives in our area he is in his 70’s. Bless his heart; he does take his brother once a month to get a haircut. My two stepdaughters live 250 miles away and are having a very difficult time accepting their Father's illness. They see their Father about once every two months. Each visit is about two hours long and always ends with them sharing many complaints concerning their Fathers behavior and the care I provide. I have checked on respite care however because my husband is on Social Security Disability he does not qualify for Medicare (you have to be on disability for 24 months) and his disability payments are 200.00 to high to qualify for Medicaid. Neither of us now has health insurance; first time in over 35 years. I have checked with the department of Aging they do have some funding available for respite but again our income is too high. I have checked with our State SRS (Social Rehabilitation Services) and they sent out a lovely social worker who is trying to find us help with medication cost and a support group for me. The problem with the support group (always seems to be a problem) it is 35 miles away from where we live and they do not provide any kind of care service during the time of the meeting. I have been in touch with my Church and with Catholic Charities looking for any type of assistance/help/support. I hope this posting does not sound negative however; at this moment, this is my reality. Perhaps tomorrow will bring a positive change. All of the agencies and people I have been in contact with are still working on finding some viable options for us.
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fayday this is not an easy situation for either of you. Are you getting any help at all? I am thinking of some respite care for you. Respite would be when someone comes in and stays with your husband while you go run errands, go to the store or the beauty shop to get your hair done. Many home care agencies will provide this. It is also possible another family member could come. Are you in a support group??? You need to take care of you too... I would encourage you to realize this is a process and get support and respite. take care, J
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Fayday...How are you contributing to the problem??? I don't quite understand why you have put that on yourself? Seems to me you are doing all you can( within your power) to help here??!! You aren't "making" him have the strokes and YOU certianlly did NOT "give" him dementia! All each one of us can do is help w/what we can.., pray for what we can't and understand that WE are only human... Godbless You and Take care of you too!
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My husband was the same way when it came to showering, shaving and changing into "street clothes" in the morning. I finally figured out that I was part of the problem...my expectations were not always consistent nor always simple and concise. I had placed a white board in the room he usually sat in. I was using it to write the current date, weather and upcoming events/appointments. Then I started taping up pictures of friends, neighbors and family with the appropriate labels. Then it dawned on me there was no schedule for routine daily activities. I put up a list of expectations (out of frustration) for the first 2 weeks it was only: 1. Get dressed 2. Eat breakfast. And it worked. Now he gets up, sits down in his chair across from the board, and drinks a cup of coffee as he reads/looks or asks me to read out loud the list on the board. Then he gets dressed and sits at the table waiting for his breakfast. I have now added a shower on Sunday and it has been three weeks now with no problems (with the shower part). Next week I will add another shower mid-week. The shaving is still an issue but one I can live with. I know this will probably not work for long...he was as frustrated, as much as I; trying to get use to not working anymore (he needs supervision 24/7) and we had few set routines. My husbands dementia is fairly pronounced; he asks the same questions over and over, does not consistently recognize family members or friends. He frequently cannot recall the names of objects or be clear about what he needs or wants. He has lost most of his safety skills. Sometimes he can read or write simple things like his name and the date and sometimes not. He was diagnosed with Binswanger's Disease in June of 2012 the disease was manifested by many mini-strokes deep in the white matter of his brain. My lesson was understanding that I was a BIG part of the problem. As he continues this hellacious downward spiral I hope I can step back and see how I might be contributing to the problem. Not my strong suit.....
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those are good points... a nice warm towel and some pampering often helps too!!!
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I find most elderly do not like showers because the bathroom is so cold this really upsets them. if you can put a heater up in the ceiling to keep the room warm. or i use a blow dryer before i take them in the shower and use hand bars too. for safe measurements. a bed bath would be good too once a week plus a shower if they can stand at the sink too would help full but keep the room warm
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Love it! Actually I had thought of going with the prescription way on other things and maybe that would work. My husband is physically able to get around and he was always so active. I try to get him to go for a short walk with me and he always says no. Was thinking of getting the doctor to write a note saying he needed to walk and now maybe I will get him to add the note to shower. He loves his doctor and maybe this would help. He just doen't remember anything from an appointment (of course). Like getting him to stop driving. I did take his key away (so he uses his house key to try to open the car door - hope he doesn't ruin the lock!) and I say the doctor said you can't drive and he always said "he never said that".
For now I've been able to get him to shower at least once a week so guess I should be happy with that.
But you were very creative in your approach to Ami
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Your suggestions reminded me of the advice an "expert" gave me - "get a prescription for a bath from the doctor," she said. "Never fails." My aunt's doc obligingly wrote a prescription ("pt is to bathe once a week") and gave it to her. Ami took it graciously, then ripped it up in the car. "Who is that old bald guy to tell me what to do." Later, at the adult day care, I told her she had won an aftertoon in the "spa" but she shook her head. "Have you seen that spa?" she said disbelievingly. "It's filthy." (She was right). I tried again, telling her the doctor had called. "I know," Ami said calmly. "He say 'not yet.'" I cracked up. She has dementia and she was winning! However, when she goes to Wedgewood Pines where she stays one weekend a month, caregiver Lois just marches into Ami's room and announces, "It's Saturday. And on Saturday, everybody in this room gets a bath." And Ami meekly follows. Sheesh. But, hey, so long as she's clean!
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I am new to this site and do find it very helpful and information. My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's this summer though I've noticed his decline for two years now. (his primary doctor told me "if it were me, I wouldn't want to know" so I didn't pursue treatment). He is on two medications but I am thinking that because we waited so long, maybe the drugs are not that helpful.
But the showering issue is something I have been battling over these past few years and I found it so frustrating as he was always such a clean, neat person. I do know that he thinks "I took a shower yesterday" and he does have a very low sense of smell. I am learning little "tricks" that sometimes work and sometimes do not. When he is in our bedroom and I'm asking him to shower, he will stand up, look out the window, sit on the bed, stand up look out the window sit on the bed... over and over. Now I sit myself on his side of the bed preventing him from doing that step (and hold on to his clothes) otherwise he would just dress himself without showering. Rather than arguing about him not shaving, I am doing that daily and he doesn't seem to mind. Another thing that amazes me as he was always just so proud of his appearance (he is 21 years older than me).
But reading all these responses does help to know that it all is part of this horrible disease (even though it does get discouraging know what I have to look forward to -- He is considered moderate at this time. So I am grateful that at least for now, he knows who he is, where he is an who we all are and so far is able to go to the bathroom himself. He is 84..
I'm not sure that I answered your question, but for myself, I find it helpful knowing that others are having the same problems...
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Hi, My Motherinlaw didn't like to take showers or bathe either. We got a bench for the tub, I would say Mom we need to take a bath tonight or do you want to do it in the morning. She would do it at night so she didn't have to get up earlier. I helped her run the water, got her stuff ready and so on. She washed herself. I stayed with her so she didn't fall since she had a stroke earlier in the year.
We started putting pads down on her chair and our furniture, even in our cars.
I would just have to tell her she smelled. She had bladder spasms which we found out when I took her to the urologist and she had to take medications.
Is there a man who can help you with him? I know my husband did not want to have to deal with those issues with his Mom.
You may have to see if someone can come in and help you bathe him, does he have insurance that covers those situations?
My Motherinlaw died on Dec 2 so I am now not her caregiver but I can sympathize with you and others who still are.
Take care.
no longer frustrated 2012
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It is getting worse with my husband (alzheimers). He use to shower everyday, and when he was working, two or three times a day. Now it is a chore. He doesnt go outside, does nothing but lay in bed. After while he DOES start to smell. I talk him into a shower maybe every 2 weeks....he forgets to turn it off so probably best that he doesnt take one every day. He will NOT let me cut his hair anymore, and he will not shave. Maybe he forgot how. I mention it everyday, but nothing. He cannot talk, first thing to go, so I dont quite know what he is thinking. Doc makes him come back every 3 months....if he won't shower before an appointment, I do not care.
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I had similar problems and had a home care attendant for my mother who has dementia. The problem was home care attendants are not allowed to force patients to physically do anything when a patient resists. If someone is hurt they can lose their license. My mother also lost her sense of smell. It was up to me. You may not like this, but I had to do something for her own good. I'd take a empty milk container filled with warm water and pour it over her. Because she didn't like being wet she was forced to disrobe and I could give her a sponge bath. This solved my problem of having to wrestle with her. At 93-years old, she is pretty strong and I did not want her or me to get hurt. Nursing home staff will tell you that patients can hurt them. I did this once a week for almost a month. Now when I tell her it's time to bath (sponge bath), she complains but does not physically fight me. Yes, I had to mop up water, but it was worth it. My mother was also stuffing toilet paper between her legs after she'd wiped herself instead of flushing it. She is capable of using the bathroom. For some reason she started urinating on the floor. That's when I began using Depends. I tell her that they are panties which I think helps her dignity or sense of normalcy. Each morning when she goes to the bathroom I tell her to throw the "panties" in the waste basket and then wash between her legs. This has worked for me. Maybe it will help someone else.
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The fear of falling is a huge fear!! Get rid of those bath tubs.You can get a step in shower the same size as the tub at the home box stores. And a bench will fit in it . Use a shower wand too.I am 64 and was in nursing homes for 7 months. The showers were freezing so make sure that your bath room can get hot. Seniors loose their ability to controll body temps.My shower has a 5 inch step up.I have grab bars too. I had a stroke 7 years and have fallen 15 times Only 4 of those in my home.In a nursing home I broke my arm.Get rid of those tubs!!!
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The answer is simple, but amazingly complicated at the same time. You do whatever you have to, whenever you have to, to take care of this.
If he is still able to walk and talk and do everyday tasks on his own for the most part, you can try bringing up somthing from his past (Or make somthing up) to make him shower.
Ex: "Dad, we really need to get you cleaned up. So-and-so will be over soon. You want to look your best for them" Could be a good friend or a person that they have always respected. Whatever works for you.

If you can afford it, hiring help is good to. Even if it's just one other person, having that extra brain and muscle around can make a world of difference.

The last thing that I can suggest, and we had to do this eventually with my grandmother, was simply just do it when YOU felt it needed to be done.
You as the rational adult with all of your mind know when a person needs to be cleaned up or showered. This is especially important when it comes to the diaper.
If he urinates or poops in it, and refuses to change it, take him by the hand, walk him into the bathroom, grab a fresh diaper and change it/clean him up even if he protests.
The health problems alone that my grandmother started to develope because she refused to change her diaper forced us to stop caring if she or the rest of us were uncomfortable.
Sadly the nature of these diseases means that as they progress, we get to be less our parents/grandparents childern, and more of their parents instead.

When it comes down to it, if you would'nt let a toddler or infant remain in a soiled diaper or unwashed over a certain period of time, the same has to apply to the adults that we take care of....Even if they are fighting against us the whole way.
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I think this is one of those times when we have to use the tough love idea... I have had to do this with my Mom at times. She has dementia and has lost her ability to reason. I used to tease my Grandfather that he was beginning to look like Gabby Hase( the old western star) and he would laugh and let me shave him. If indeed your Dad was in the military at all you could kiddingly suggest a GI shower. I do think there are times when it has to come from someone else such as an aide! I know this is not easy, take care and God bless...
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Stressedmom hit the nail on the head. Repetition. Don't overlook the possibility that your loved one can't remember the some of the details of HOW to perform self care. My mother is going through a struggle to remember how to get into and out of bed. She gets confused and takes a rest break, then gets more confused. In the middle of the night, she sometimes gets her legs over the edge of the bed, but can't push herself into a sitting position, she'll lay that way for a couple of hours. That makes her back hurt, which in turn frightens her. The fear and pain increases the confusion. So, first check or pain. Then work on trust in order to be able to help. We got a hospital bed, but she sleeps wherever she lands, so raising the head to help her sit up only folds her chest and compromises her breathing. We're still working out the kinks.
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I heard a very creative answer to this problem at a caregiver support meeting a couple of months ago. Since her father had been in the military and it was a very big part of his life she told him that inspection would be in an hour and that he should shower and shave for it. Problem solved.
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My my... Had the same sort of thing going on with my mom.. Nothing worked. So my sister who is in remission, from cancer, took the time to help me. She comes over two days a week and gets my mom out of bed.. Mom bathes on her own, but doesn't know how hot to make the water.. But I always check it. Than we both wash moms hair at the sink when she is out of the tub.. Each of us standing on other side of her. We massage her scalp and take our time. Mom said yesterday, that she remembers our little hands, growing inside her belly. It was a very touching moment.. No matter what, your parents are yours... Enjoy every moment. Embrace it and turn the problem into a blessing of your life.
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@lizziebee, My mil is 93 and refused to shower/bath or change her adult panties also. We hired in home care to help assist but were not sucsessful at that time. When we placed her back into a care facility we then hired a caregiver, w/the specifics of getting and helping her to shower/bath in mind. While it took several starts and fails,2 months worthand many frustrated days, she is now getting one once a week...! We didn't think this would happen, but with dementia we learned that repetition is key to almost everything!!! Keep trying or hire an inhome care person, they are out there, it will help you help your dad as well. We asked at the care facility if they knew of someone who was kind gental but yet firm to assist in this area.They were very helpful. Good luck and Godbless......
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I also agree with the home aide idea. Maybe try a male aide first and let him know in advance your father's hobies, background etc. so he can establish a relationship. If it works out, have the same aide come each time.
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My dad passed away in August. He had pampered my mom for 20 years after she had a brain aneurysm. She has dementia and is very obstinate about showering. Once I talk her into it, she's fine with it as long as I just keep talking about other things while showering her. Does get very stressful arguing with her about it though. Actually glad to hear it is a battle others face too.
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Even though I am "not quite there" yet with my dad i have a feeling it could become an issue. He showers once a week and refuses to wear deodorant but so far we all can stand him. I think having a home aid would be best for us too. I know he wouldn't want me to help.
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Yep, been there, doing that. My Dad (almost 92) thinks he doesn't really need to shave or shower more than once a week. He does change his Depends, though he makes a mess when doing so -- hence the need for more frequent showers! The search for home health aides starts with the doctor making a referral to a Visiting Nurse kind of organization for a home evaluation. An Occupational therapist will evaluate his abilities to do his own "Activities of Daily Living", or ADL's. My Dad did better in the shower with a shower chair and detachable shower head. We had already put in lot of grab bars. At that time, he also needed physical assistance getting in and out, so he also got strengthening Physical Therapy. Eventually, still at home, he was able to take his own showers with just reminders from home health aide/companion care people.
Now he is starting to get feisty about going in for a shower. Or a shave. Or to change his clothes. HIs caregivers and I are working together to try to find a motivating factor to use with him. His short term memory issues make it hard for him to remember why he is doing this, though. Though "I really don't want to have to put you in a facility" seems to have some effect.
So far, I can get him to go to the Barber to get a haircut once every month or two. They are very nice to him there, cut his hair nice and short, trim the nose and ear hairs, shave up the parts of his neck that he misses wen he shaves. Dad likes to be pampered.
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My aunt has dementia and hasn't bathed on her own since moving in with me 3 years ago. She's 95 now. Very occasionally she lets me do a sponge bath, but mostly she "remembers" that she bathed this morning or argues that she used to bathe all the time. You have to pick your battles. I put her in respite care once a month. There is a caregiver there that has the knack for bathing her. By the time she starts to smell a bit ripe, it's time for respite care again. I give her a wet, warm washcloth every morning to clean her face and hands. I give her lotion to keep her skin supple. I hire a foot care nurse to do her toenails every month and check her skin integrity (even though I'm an RN, my aunt won't let me do it - she still sees me as a little kid). I make sure she changes her Depends at least twice or 3 times daily. No sores or rashes, so I guess this is good enough. She doesn't exactly smell like a rose, but she's tolerable. Life is too short to be battling with a dementia sufferer about baths. It's stressful on them too.
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Definitely happened with my Dad, who is now in a NH, and now happening with Mom. A couple of things not knowing your situation. With Dad, he lost his sense of smell, so he couldn't smell how bad he smelled! I had to say, "I won't take you to church or anywhere unless you bathe." That worked for a while. He wouldn't change his Depends and stuff paper towels in his pants because he thought he was saving money, (something else to think about with that generation).

Now with Mom, she definitely has depression, sleeps all day and as for bathing, we'll she also can't smell herself and when I told her just yesterday, "you need to bathe," she said "I do?" She just forgot........

So I am on plan B and plan to hire home healthcare to come in one day a week to pick up the house and be with her while she bathes. Even if she says, "no" I'm just doing it. Yuck.....enough is enough!

Hope this is helpful.

-SS
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Sometimes an outside person is able to get around these obstacles. Does he have an aide, a nurse or someone who visits regularly? If not, having someone come in a few days a week may do him (and you!) wonders.
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