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My mom hates showers. She would not allow anyone to come into the house to help. We even had home health call and try to set up appointments and she refused. It was a constant fight. So I finally just let her go for about two weeks and my brother told her one day when he came to visit that she had a smell. After that she was so mad about what he said that she has agreed to a shower once per week. So for some reason she wants to sponge bath that morning and then she tells me that it won't take as long because she took a sponge bath. So she now lets me shower her and wash her hair after she takes a sponge bath. It works and she gets her shower weekly. We do it every Sunday and I always tell her on Saturday "Tomorrow is shower day". She gets up knocks on my bedroom door tells me that she is taking her sponge bath and she will be ready for her shower. Ok with me. I get to sleep a little longer and then we take the shower. We also have a big breakfast when she comes downstairs and she looks forward to that afterwards. The woman loves to eat.
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tell her that it wont be that bad its not bad for her
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My mother was the same way! It was heartbreaking to see her filthy and not want to clean-up!...Before she was diagnosed with cancer and passed she told me she was afraid of the water. The water pressure ect...It was like torture. I felt horrible trying to make her shower not knowing or how to even be sympathetic to her issues. Im learning as I go...As I now care for my father full time. This site has helped me cope in so many ways. Just knowing Im not alone and others too wana pull all their hair out makes me feel better! 🤗
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Some times when one gets older they get claustrophobic in the shower.... strangely enough that happened to me right after I had major surgery as I had no help with the shower [never knew there was such a thing as a caregiver].   So I had to learn to keep the sliding doors opened a bit, and shower really quickly !!
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You can also help her get a sponge bath. My mother took sponge baths for years. Way before she got old.
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Anxiety meds such as the Benzodiazepines (Ativan etc) are not like anti depressants, they should work immediately.
Sometimes there is no logical reason behind the refusal to shower/bathe, but sometimes there may be something that can be fixed. Have you tried to find out exactly what it is that your mother fears? For example if her worry is about falling that is a legitimate concern that can be addressed by adding grab bars, anti slip mats or decals and a sturdy bath seat with a back rest, all of which will be helpful whether she has a bath aide or not.
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Thank you! After I asked this, I did find some information shared from others. It helps to know how common everything I am currently experiencing is pretty much normal in aging people. My mom is 89 and was very much independent, this is why it's so hard. I am definitely going to be a regular on this site. Thank you again....and yes I just finally convinced doctor to give her anxiety medication. I understand it takes a few weeks before they work.
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Does she have anxiety in other areas of her life? Perhaps the anxiety could be treated. I agree about the bath aid. There are many posts on this site about bathing issues. Do a search. You'll get many good ideas that have worked for others.
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Have her doc write a script for a bath aid. Often elderly will cooperate with someone else more than they will with family members. Or what did she used to do earlier in her life that would motivate her to get cleaned up? Some here have resorted to therapeutic white lies to get cooperation. I remember one caregiver specifically that told her dad that the general would.be arriving for inspection. It worked like a charm. Think outside of the box, find some reason that she would WANT to clean up. You know her best.
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