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My mother lives with me. She's 72 years old. My job requires that I travel and I'm away Sunday evening through Thursday/Friday evenings. On Saturdays and Sundays i do 'catch up' things by doing housework, laundry, pill distribution, spending quality time with her, etc. She has vertigo and horrible lower back arthritis. Lately, I only find a single night gown or undergarment in the laundry some weeks. I'm concerned her hygiene might be suffering. How can a son lovingly find out if mom is bathing regularly. She's always been a very fastidious person with regard to hygiene. Is it time to have someone come in to help?

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W/little actual experience I'd say "yes" if you can afford it, if only because later down the road she will need more help & it's nice to have someone already there so that you can just dial up the care level rather than having to "decide" to get care. The official "reason" could be that you want to spend less time catching up on chores & more doing "fun" stuff with her on weekends (and do take that extra time). Gets an extra set of eyes on her mid-week, AND takes a bit of pressure off you. As odd as it sounds, is that one pair of undies clean or extra-dirty? That could be your clue to if she's doing laundry or has decided on the once-a-week plan. Oldsters don't sweat much, & she may not feel like she need to change a favorite gown, or arthritis makes it painful to do so, depression, etc. could all be issues. Glad to hear that you are trying to be sensitive about this, though at some point some of the politeness may have to give way to more hands-on care, either by you or hired aide.
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Thank you, JessieBelle and Sisters2!! It has been 'nagging' me. Next week, I take action. Again, thanks and God bless both of you!
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"I only find a single night gown or undergarment in the laundry some weeks", there is the tip off for you. Is she capable of doing the laundry 'herself', does she have 'memory issues', etc. When you're home, have you 'seen' her go into the bathroom and take showers or even wash herself? If not, perhaps you should see about getting her some help, especially when you're out of town? Maybe a home health aide who can come in for a few hours, in order to make sure she's taking care of herself (showers-washing up, eating, changing of clothes, etc.) in the right way?
If it's 'nagging' you and you feel that 'something' isn't as it should be, when it comes to your mom, then I'd say you're generally 'right'. Hope it works out for the both of you. Blessings.
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I agree it could be time to get more help. It your mother has vertigo and arthritis, she may have a fear of dizziness and falling in the shower. She may not be telling you her fears because she doesn't want you to worry. It is very good of you to notice the shortage of laundry -- it says a lot if your mother has not been doing the laundry. What it would say to me is that she sits in her gown all week long until it was time for you to come home.

She may not need full-time care yet, but maybe just a personal assistant to help her with bathing and housekeeping. It sounds like a good idea to me.
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