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Mom has this blue blazer (ratty) that she wears every day. She has done this for years - wearing the same thing for weeks, months. The AL told me they had to distract her to get it out of the apartment to wash it, and then as soon as it was back she grabbed it and put it on again. She has a closet full of clothes. If I see her in it one more time, I will scream. The AL doesn't feel they have the right to take it away. Should I? (She has dementia and might not even notice if it is not there, or she could accuse people of stealing.) All I know is that the jacket HAS TO GO!
Also Mom will not take a shower, won't let anyone help. The only shower she has had in the past three years is when my sister forced her the day we took her to AL. She whimpered, whined and moaned the whole time. AL has tried everything but they can't force her. Should my sister and I force her, or hire someone to do it and just tranquilize her for the "event'?

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I also feel that the condition of the blazer bothers you more than her and since she's 100, she should be entitled to wear what feels comfortable to her. I agree with the suggestion that someone could make a reasonable facsimile. Would you take away a baby's security blanket? It's the same thing.

For bathing, check out the camping section of the sporting goods stores. I bought some no rinse shampoo and some really large, soft disposable wet wipe type cloths at ours. A lot of elderly people have an aversion to bathing. It is a knock-down drag-out fight at our house on bath day. We have it down to once a week at this point, with an extra sometimes thrown in for special occasions. In between we do what some call bird baths, but around here we call it a spit bath. No spit involved, I'm sure that's just one of those old timey sayings. Anyway, we do what is essentially a sink full of barely soapy water and a washcloth. Followed by baby powder and lavender baby lotion.

Be sure, if you do manage to talk her into a shower, that the bathroom is warm, and you have everything you will need at hand before you begin. I'm so surprised that your mother, at 100, is still able to get around enough to live in assisted living. That is absolutely amazing.

Once again, I implore you, please don't take her security blazer away.
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Oh..., clean the blazer and let her have it back. It may annoy the heck out of you, but if she is so attached to it at 100 1/2 just let her wear it.
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would it have to be blue?
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Amy, I'm going to take exception to discarding the blazer and forcing your mother to take a shower.

You wrote:

"Her whole life, her biggest concern has been what people thought of how she looks. She was obsessed with that. When in IL, she would ALWAYS wear a button down, long sleeve blouse buttoned up to her chin, slacks and a blazer because she didn't want people to see her wrinkled skin and a few people told her she always looks nice so that is what she remembers".

I think you have your answer in those statements. Your mother is reminiscing, or mentally living in the time when she looked nice and people admired that. That apparently is one of the strong needs she has now, at this stage of her life, and it obviously is very important to her.

I would leave her with that delusion, as I think depriving her of the blazer would crush her and leave her somewhat directionless in what she now perceives as maintaining a pleasant appearance. It might be one of the few links she has to a better time.

I would also search as hard as I could to find a blazer. Try clothes from conservative lines: London Fog has nice conservative trench coats, and may have blazers. There was another company which made conservative college and business attire but I can't recall the name now.

I Googled "women's blazers" and found that Penney's, The Limited, Lands End, Nordstrom and others have women's blazers.

Many private schools require uniforms, some of which may include a blazer. It will take some research, but if you contact them and ask who their supplier is, you might find another lead on getting blazers. Or what about thrift stores, or consignment shops?

They're out there, even if it does take some effort to find them.

If any of your family sew, make her a blazer. High end ones take some skill but you can make one without lining and it could serve the purpose.

Isn't it worth some effort to help her feel that she looks good? I really, really feel that depriving her of this connection to her past would be detrimental.

So would forcing her to shower.

I would take an entirely different position: Given that she doesn't want to, how else can you ensure that she's clean?

What about sponge baths? There's also a dry shampoo (I just bought a can a few weeks ago) that can also be used as a dry bath.

Our local hospital uses dry bath soap; they have to have a supplier, so some company makes it. It's easy to use and your mother wouldn't even have to get into a shower or tub. Make an event of it: put on her favorite music, style or fix her hair, chat with her about her day or whatever else she wants to talk about. If she did that for you when you were little, reverse the roles and bond with her as you might have years ago when she was the parent.

Google dry shampoo and check for the ones that are also a bath wash. We got ours at Walgreen's.
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Amy, I may be wrong about that; I'll check with my friend but I know they don't make them go to bed or to their room; they just let them wander - of course I realize they're locked in so they can't get out but as I understand that's the point and of course they don't make do anything as far as their clothes, pretty much, as you're learning but even beyond that or at least there was a story of someone - who at least did shower? - but would only then go around with a towel wrapped around himself and no underwear - maybe not all the time? but at least for a while and not just in the shower and/or to his room but out in the common areas
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I meant Mom never took a shower in IL for the 9 years she was there, ever. We maintained the apt, shopping, etc so knew because the shower was never wet, never used except to throw dirty clothes in.
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Its hard to explain about Mom. Her whole life, her biggest concern has been what people thought of how she looks. She was obsessed with that. When in IL, she would ALWAYS wear a button down, long sleeve blouse buttoned up to her chin, slacks and a blazer because she didn't want people to see her wrinkled skin and a few people told her she always looks nice so that is what she remembers. Whether the blazer is covered with stains, pulls and missing buttons, whether she is wearing brown socks with blue slacks, she doesn't care - with the dementia, she is stuck on a blazer and blouse thing. At this point she is a creature of routine, but even in IL, she would wear the same thing for a month until people started talking about her and brought it to our attention. Sadly, she doesn't remember what was said to her five minutes ago so has no idea if she wears the same thing every day for 6 months. Its all habit. Sometimes we would have to take some things away and throw them out because they were in deplorable condition, then she would accuse the maids of stealing and almost got kicked out of IL.................
The bath thing is another story. Even 20 years ago, she would take a three minute shower. We love her, but she has some sort of condition. As long as I can remember, she has never connected or enjoyed or savored in those things most of us do - like a nice hot shower, or a good meal, or a beautiful picture or lovely music - no interest in physical or aesthetic pleasures whatsoever. I'm sure there is a name for it and I sometimes wonder if she doesn't have some degree of Asperger's which can manifest itself in many different ways.

The family has decided, the blue jacket will disappear the next time it is filthy. I have done that before but I stupidly returned it to her in a few weeks and the routine started all over again. If she smells, my sister and I will simply force her into the shower and wash her. I don't think she has been washing herself either - in IL we did the laundry and there were never towels or washcloths and the soap was always dry and never shrank in 6 months. Five years ago she only bathed in the sink. We knew that because it was always stuffed up with soap, but that stopped years ago. She took a shower in IL in the 9 years she was there (or used the oven). She won't cooperate whatever way we try to help her so I'm hoping she doesn't ever smell.
Interesting they won't force bathing in memory care as I thought they might.
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Maybe it's like a security blanket for her.

I don't understand the bath part. Tell her she is going to have a bath. Then get it ready period. End of discussion. Three years? Makes no sense. Maybe the water hurts her or she feels immodest in front of others?
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My mom is in late stages of Dementia but she takes a sponge bath and changes her clothes every 3 or 4 days. I don't know what to tell you if she won't bathe herself. My mom is very stubborn as well.
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Just let her wear the friggin blazer, as long as it doesn't stink or something. She's 100?! Who cares. Let her wear what she wants. Bathing....oh boy. Nothing easy about that issue. My dad has dementia and doesn't like to take baths anymore, especially in winter. All I can do anymore is the sniff test. So far, so good. For someone like your mom I don't see why the occasional med couldn't be used to relax her and get the job done.
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they probably wouldn't do it in a memory unit either; tranquilizing is a big no-no for them
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Kimber, I wish I could, but I have looked all over, every store, even the internet. The darn thing is ten years old. They don't even make that kind of blazer, especially not that horrible blue color. I think I'll take it away to "wash" and hope she forgets about it.
The AL says if she doesn't smell it isn't a problem, so far it isn't a problem. They explained due to liability, they cannot force her. So I guess if she starts to smell, my sister and I will have to do it, or hire someone and make it happen. She is unbelievably strong, I would rather hire someone, really! We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. At this point, with her being 100 1/2 we may never have to cross it, or her dementia will get to the point she will go into memory care and then they will tranquilize her and do it I guess. At this point, she won't allow anyone to do anything for her including touch her or help her, won't use a walker, wouldn't go for help even if she fell and hurt herself. She's pretty much impossible to help and there is no (never has been) reasoning with her even when she didn't have severe dementia.
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What if you got a few blue blazers that were the same and sort of cycled them through? If she has dementia, she will probably not be able to be reasoned with about it - she seems to have an attachment to it.

What does the AL recommend if not a shower? Are there other ways to clean her? When my step mom worked in a Nursing Home - she did a lot of sponge baths for the residents.
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