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So, my MIL had a stroke 7 years ago and is paralyzed on her L side-totally. She is also totally incontinent of the bladder and partially incontinent of the bowels. She lives at home with my FIL taking care of her with the assistance of a home health aide. One problem that I have is that my FIL also has some early dementia issues. We went to see them today and discovered that once again, Mom is refusing to shower. My hubby tried to talk to her about and she complained that she feels as though her home health aide is going to drop her and she "is" getting a bath-with a washrag.........he gave up, my FIL said "I ain't making her-if she wants to smell, it's her problem." SOOO, I flat out told them that she is obviously incapable of making a good decision regarding that (and predicatably, she screamed that she's not crazy in the head...) and then I told my FIL that since he has POA over her and HE won't make her take a bath.......then obviously she needs to live somewhere where someone WILL make good decisions for her. She just finished chemo 3-4 months ago and her immunity is not yet back up to normal. I suggested that she call and request someone a little younger or stronger......and explain that the person she has now isn't making her feel secure that she's not going to end up on the floor........my BIGGEST problem is that my hubby DOES have POA BUT (always a BUT-huh?) HE says "so YOU say" that they both have dementia. I am a nurse and worked LTC dementia for years and KNOW what all the early signs....are. My hubby really needs to be the one to deal with the Home Health Agency and her Dr...........but he refuses because there's the denial issue. Short of calling Adult Protective Services and starting WWIII and possibly cause the end of my marriage, what should I really do????? BTW- I am now disabled and unable to do it physically myself or I would.

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Irishsunshine...Love the name!!! I see your need for wanting your MIL to be clean. Forcing her is not the answer, she is right in not wanting to fall she can't support herself. So maybe try to get a strong aid to bond with her even if it's just during a cup of tea at first. Has she had any Physical Rehab they are trained to get them to take baby steps to do such ordinary things even if they can't do it right away. The issue is trust and security and probably, modesty and humiliation, and giving someone the Ok to do all of this possibly is too much for her to handle. I try to put these sort of issues on a priority list. Cleanliness, while yes it's a need for hygiene, it's not life or death. Does she have a close relative that she trusts to at least bath her in another way?
I am trying to think of suggestions. I know that these details in care get everyone at war, it's not easy. I'll tell you a lil' story... One day at Mom's NH they had an ice cream party. music, singing, everyone was happy... then one of the lady's (who looked as happy as a baby that had the first bite of something sweet) with an ear to ear grin. She was holding her cup of ice cream and it was melting and it spilled on her shirt, at that moment her daughter walked in and all she saw was the mess, not her Mom's smile not how happy they all were. She shouted OMG why is she eating ice cream alone she can't do that, look at her she's a mess, she turned the whole room of happy people into a room of agitated restless mess. My Mom with her dementia and she loves a party, especially with ice cream and music say's who invited that BIT~~ !!! That lady was happy until THE BIT~~ got here now she's not smiling, look at my shirt, I'm just mad that the ice cream on my shirt didn't make it to my mouth HEEHEE!!!! It's funny how these observations that I witness at the NH, and Mom's reactions to them put things into a different focus of Mom and that kind of reality. I just remembered when I used to get Mom into the shower at home I always mad the water to hot. She'd say to hot.... So one day I told her when I was little I used to get out of the bath and I was red hot, I had steam coming off of me. She said why didn't you say anything? I don't know why. I think it was because Mother knew best. I guess I should have spoken up!!!
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