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My mom has showered every day of her life that I can remember. She vaguely knows who I am now and has lost so much of her words that make sense. Lately she will not cooperate when we want to put her in the shower. She has a shower bench, etc. but no luck now.

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Dear SmileAtLife;
Please know it is a common problem with those having Alzheimer's to want to shower. Everyone is different, however, looking back I would say my husband started to refuse showering in Stage 2 of Alzheimer's. Not only showering but shaving, brushing teeth, combing hair, etc. Hygiene went south along with bathing. You will find there is unyielding response to activities and daily routines. Sad to say...your mom will never be the person you remembered years ago---it will be no more. Arguments about trivial matters will become more frequent with obstinate behavior, inflexible headstrong deviance, self-denial and stubborness. I would suggest attempting to go very light with bathing. Start with hand washing mom's face, then her arms, and continue adding just a little more bathing. Talk to her and tell her how pretty she will look and how nice she will smell once she bathes. She may accept this as a very special time and become more agreeable. Provide soft, fluffy towels and perhaps fragrant shower gel. Please know it may not work. If it doesn't, do not be disappointed. My spouse, having Alzheimer's for over 10 years, refuses most routines. He curses, asks me who I am at times, laughs at absolutely nothing, slurs his words...if they are words and usually makes no sense. Television is on, he doesn't know what he is watching...just stares into space. He screams if I try to put clean clothes on him, he lies and fantasizes about everything in life and is 24/7 care. He can't listen, doesn't comprehend and if I attempt to plead with him not to do something for his own good, he will go ahead and do it anyway. Caregivers come to "live with strangers within." At some point, you will start to wonder who really has Alzheimer's---you or your love one. Showering every day will become less important and simply surviving will be foremost. There will be days you will not care, days of loneliness, bitterness and days that nothing will matter. Being a caregiver is the hardest, most unrewarding job there is. And, yes, it takes a toll---a mighty emotional toll. God bless you. Love your mom, take care of her the best you can. Embrace and accept your situation, however, above all else, know when enough is enough. Alzheimer's can, and does, suck the life out of normalcy. Take care of yourself first. Make decisions and do not second guess them. Never look back and question... what if. Remember, you also deserve a quality life.
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Without language skills, she probably is in her later stages of dementia. Don't fight with the shower. Try sponge bathing, and if she does not recognize you, you are a stranger, and who would want to get into a shower with a stranger? Also, ASU's research shows running water in a shower is like fire coming out of the faucet to someone with dementia. So, take it slow and let her lead you.
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My father takes a daily morning shower with no soap and no shampoo now for almost 3 years. He is wearing the same jeans I told him to change in to from April. There are no words to describe his smell, maybe putrid. With my mother, who got things done, gone, I've been trying to get him to clean himself all this time and trying to get someone besides me to get him some help. He finally agreed to testing when we were at his psych nurse after repeatedly saying no, and "there's nothing wrong with me." I made him an appt for a geriatric PCP for Thurs, if he doesn't cancel when they call with the reminder. It's his first regular doctor visit in almost 3 years. Now, I'm having trouble getting anyone to set up cognitive testing. Since he was tested 3 years ago, they don't think he needs it again. I get so frustrated. I have to tell them he's a zombie. Grammy's description sounds a lot like my dad. I hope to have him diagnosed because as she said, I'm thinking I'm the one who's losing it. He was staring at cartoons this morning. He hates cartoons! Couple that with my 7-year-old cat dying of kidney lymphoma and the presidential race, and I think I'm going insane.
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Sounds to me, with "vaguely" knowing you and little verbal expression, that she's in much later stages. My MIL is in about Stage 4 and won't go anywhere without showering. However, she doesn't want to be told when it's time to (by well-meaning siblings who spend so little time with her that they have no idea what her regular habits are) because she still has enough of her faculties to still have her regular grooming routine and resents being treated like a child. She's not that far gone yet. Blessings and patience to all as you deal with these issues.
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I have been caregiver for my husband , who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's for over two years. He is currently in rehab therapy in a Nursing Home until next week, when he will come home again after a two-week stay in ICU for his kidneys shutting down and potassium levels dangerous. He sat out in the 95 degree heat on Father's Day and refused to come in to drink. He had been physically abusive to me as well. He landed in the Hospital and in ICU. I am about burned out already, and talked to the Director of Nursing at the Nursing Home he is in. She told me not to wait until I was burned out as it would do no good to have both of us down. I suggest the same for you. When I feel it is too much for me to handle any more, I will put him in a long-term Nursing Facility. I love him dearly, and it will be the worst thing to be apart from him, but I know my limitations. Medicaid will look at it as "no one home to care for him", if I am unable to do it. I am 72 years old, and incapable of helping him if he falls. He is also a fall risk. It is a devastating disease which robs the victim and the caregivers of any quality of life. Good Luck and God Bless You. Bonnie O.
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My Dad stopped bathing regularly or changing his clothes about two years ago (when I finally had to move him to my city to be with me). He gets his days mixed up and would always say that he had already showered. I'm not sure what stage of Dementia he has.

He didn't start bathing again until I put him in Adult Day Care and they showered him. The director of the center told Dad that the facility would lose money if he didn't accept the shower services. That worked. Have you tried getting someone else to try to convince Mom to shower?
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My mother has dementia- not an ALZ diagnois. Not showering/bathing was one of her first signs for her. Not understanding dementia I totally missed this as that - just thought my eccentric mother had developed a new quirk.
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My mom used to fight me tooth and nail when I even suggested she needed a washup. She's still resistant (has lived with me 3 years) and still doesn't like it. I do well to get her in there once per week and even then, she wants out before 10 minutes are up. In between, I can use a warm washcloth after BMs. So I just concentrate on the parts needing it. I have the shower chair that she will rarely sit down on. Funny, she will always say how good the water feels. But I'm lucky if she will let me get her face wet, clean her ears, etc., before a doctor's appointment. She's also not fond of brushing her teeth, so that's another chore that doesn't happen daily.
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Sometimes a person with dementia develops a fear of water. It is a very strong fear. So, I started to wash my husband with huggies. It worked!! AND, we avoided making him more anxious and upset than he already was.
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My husband of over 35 years says , he hasn't done anything to get dirty, so why take a shower. I have to conjole him into taking one once a week. Washing his face and arms seems to make him feel good on a daily basis. Good Luck.
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