My mother has mild to moderate Alzheimers. She has lived with us for several years and overall, with much support from this forum, we have done pretty well. But lately my mother is refusing to take a bath. And even when we can get her into the shower, she will not wash her hair. Up until this point we have let her take her own showers, while we wait for her patiently outside the bath to finish, and thought she was doing well, but over the past few weeks she is now refusing to work with us. She has even gotten to the point where she will give in and get in the shower, turn on the water for about a minute or two, and then get out, claiming she has showered. But obviously she has not used soap and sometimes her hair is not even wet. I am at my witts end and don't know how to handle this latest developement. Does anyone have any suggesstions?

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Thank you for all of your suggestions. I know they should seem obvious but when your in the mist of things its not always easy to figure them out. I like the idea of the fragrance no rinse GardenArtist. I think she would enjoy the experience and it would help calm us both down. Thanks again to everyone for the helpful encouragement.
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neveralone, sometimes it is the fear of falling.... or the lost of ability to reach due to arm or leg movement.... I ran into that myself after I had a broken shoulder, I got to a point where it was very painful to shower and I hated the thought of doing it.

As GardenArtist had mentioned above try the No Rinse product. Or you can try a baby wipe to use as a bird bath, I like the Huggies Natural wipes which I use myself.
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Also, search on youtube for Teepa Snow + bathing. She is a dementia educator who is very easy to understand and she has a great bathing technique.
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You can get body wipes - NOT baby wipes - to wipe down areas of the body without going into the shower. Maybe one day is the top half, another day is the bottom half.

Elderly skin is more fragile and thin, and if they haven't actually soiled themselves somehow, a real old-fashioned bath or shower like we do isn't necessary more than once a week. It is however, important to keep skin clean and dry to avoid skin slip and open sores starting which can lead to other infections.

You can also look on youtube to learn how to do a washcloth style or sponge bath if the person is bedfast.
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This doesn't seem to be unusual. I remember at least 2 and possibly 3 similar queries in the last month or so. It might comfort you to know you're not alone:

1. There could be a few reasons why she now doesn't want to shower:

Dementia, not perceiving the necessity of showering, too frequent showering attempts, mobility, being undressed, being cold in the shower and afterward.

2. Sometimes working directly on the issue isn't as effective as finding alternate solutions. I've recommended a No Rinse product used in hospitals as what we've used. It can be used as a shampoo and body wash but doesn't need to be washed off.

Instead of being a full immersion experience, it can be more like a visit to a beauty parlor, getting one's hair done, or just a time when mother and daughter can have a family moment (if that's still possible).

It avoids all the mobility, cold and other issues associated with showers.

3. It can also be done without completely undressing, so she doesn't get cold.

4. Perhaps try just the shampoo aspect, or maybe just the bodily cleansing aspect to see how she reacts. But don't use the words bath or shower - little white lies are allowed here! You could tell her you have some fragrant body lotion you'd like to use; if it has lavender or a legitimate scent (not just a lot of chemicals designed to fake a scent) she may even feel better afterward.

5. You can also set the mood - play some of her favorite music, perhaps bake cookies or something fragrant to relax her.

Then follow the "nonbath" with something else that relaxes her - maybe again just listening to music, looking at a family album, or just ask her what she wants to do. If nothing is the answer, then nothing might be the best solution.

6. And she doesn't need to bathe as often as younger people who are working or active every day. Older skin also becomes dry and flaky more easily.

7. If she's sundowning, I would never try this at night.
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