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She doesn't use soap when bathing, or shampoo it appears. This is grossing us out, especially given this Coronavirus. I feel she will be offended if I say something.

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I think Barb's idea to show Mom the "official" CDC guidelines about hand washing is an excellent idea for everyone to try. "This is a new, very bad virus and all of us MUST wash our hands so we won't get sick. Let's go to the sink and do it together."
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Reply to Linzy6
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Elderly ladies usually have dry skin, so maybe this would work sometimes:

"Mom I want you to try some of my new hand cream. It has a wonderful scent. Let's get your hands washed and dried and I'll rub some on for you."

If Mom is seated and won't get up, bring her a couple damp washcloths, one with some soft soap. If she'll let you, wash and "rinse" her hands this way, with a towel on her lap (and no running water.)

My good-natured parents were wonderfully compliant with such requests. I think it helped that my sister and I spoke to them in a confident, upbeat manner and made chit-chat while tending to hygiene matters.
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Reply to Linzy6
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Mine is still living independently and in the 30+ years I have never witnessed him washing his hands. He has recovered from MRSA and sepsis and as previously mentioned back to his daily routine of ... 4 squares of tp to wipe hiney and no washing hands, no showers AT ALL, no dry shampooing products, maybe does a load of laundry a month. And since he lives alone, I certainly take precautions for myself but he’s been doing this for years and it’s best we keep his daily routine as consecutive as possible in these very early stages. When he cannot make the call on these things, you can bet he’ll be one squeaky clean senior when I have say.
Safe to say when I sanitized his home before he got back from recovering I LOADED that house with hand soaps and sanitizer, body soaps, Clorox wipes, Lysol, bleach etc. Yes every single product still sitting where I left it unused since September of last year except what I’ve cleaned. So a stockpile of cleaning supplies for my place I suppose lol... he said “take it all I haven’t used it “ but I’ll use it when I’m over. If/when I have control, it’ll be a whole new ballgame for him. Prior to stocking home for sanitizing, he had half a jug of laundry detergent and one cracked bar of soap by kitchen sink if that tells ya anything.
I think now is a good time to get her practicing, with the pandemic certainly you’ve received a “notice from her doctor these are IMPERATIVE PRACTICES given her age and risk” right? 😉 hint hint, and yes I’d do it with her like suggested.
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Reply to PowerOf3
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Some good answers here.
When I remind my grandfather, he snaps, "I'll do it in a minute!" Or, "I already did!" (He didn't).

Short of threatening him with a wooden spoon, I don't think there's anything I can do to make him. I just wipe everything down with disinfectant when I visit.
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Reply to KatD81
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karen70 Mar 21, 2020
Same here! Her famous line "Yes, I did!" She only bathes..goes for days without one. I am getting sick emotionally and physically. throwing up from disgust and exhaustion has become a regular thing for me =(
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I'm in the same boat. My mother is an adult child. You have to remind her to wash her hands, did you brush your teeth?...Time for a shower.... Wipes her nose in her shirt--if she uses a tissue for her nose she tucks it in her pajama pants. I tell her throw the tissue away after you use it she throws a tantrum. This is hell. #Coronavirus Pray for me
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My mom's UTIs while in Independent Living appeared to be on some way correlated to poor hygiene. And yes, I think that with Covid-19's lack of herd immunity, a compromised elder might pick up the virus and become very ill as a result.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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If mother's poor practices were really that lethal the family would already be dead.

I am not disputing the need for good hygiene. I'm not even disputing how queasy it makes you feel to know that someone sitting at the same dining table as you is not a big fan of hand washing. But mother's not washing in the ordinary way is not going to kill anyone, not even now.

But it's not nice and it's not good for her, and there are other potential problems that are quite good enough reasons to do something about it.

With my mother, I began to follow her into the bathroom and in a casual, matter-of-course way fill the handbasin and just wash hands with her, if you see what I mean. Like you would if you had four hands. I kept the conversation going (about other things) and it never seemed to occur to her to question me, let alone protest.

Lots of people don't use soap or shampoo. It isn't necessarily a problem. What is a worry is if she always *used* to use these products but now doesn't - is that so, and can you guess why?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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againx100 Mar 19, 2020
Do you really think that people not watching their hands is not able to kill anyone? Between viruses, bacterias and e-coli, I have to respectfully disagree with you.

Generally speaking it's just disgusting. But it COULD be life threatening. And who's willing to knowingly risk that?

Reminds me, I need to get on my mom about more handwashing. I know she thinks I'm ridiculous about handwashing, even before corona. My hubby goes out into the work world every day (he's in transportation so working from home is not an option) and we can only guess at what he's bringing into the house every day.
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Well, I can lecture my mother about any and all subjects under the sun and it all goes in one ear and out the other. In fact, the more I tell her to ask for help or to stop trying to do things alone *she lives in Memory Care*, the less she asks for help & the more she does alone. She fell TWICE on Monday as a result, and a total of 44x in the past 5 years. Yes, I've kept count. Living in Memory Care, she has no other choice with certain things, such as using soap & shampoo in the shower, b/c the caregiver lathers her up and washes her hair for her. You will have to do the same for your mother if she's refusing the practice good hygiene. You'll have to help her with showers, with wiping herself, and with washing up after a bathroom visit. If she's offended, so be it. If she contaminates the family's food with fecal matter, you'll ALL be sick and offended, so that's the truth of the matter right there.

If she can't or won't take help with her hygiene, you'll have to start looking into Memory Care placement for her. In the end, her future is up to HER. I don't know what stage of dementia she's at right now, but assuming she's still able to understand basics, then make yourself clear on the subject, and that you'll be helping her to 'remember' the rules of hygiene from now on.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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You state in your profile that mom has dementia.
If this is the case it sounds like mom should no longer be going to the bathroom by herself and it sounds like she needs to have someone with her in the shower.
(not IN the shower but supervising then determine if she needs to be bathed by you or someone else)
There are a lot of steps to daily hygiene and it is easy to get confused if you have dementia.
Example for showering.
Remove clothes, Turn on water, adjust temperature. Get into shower (without slipping or falling). Get wet, get wash cloth, get soap, soap washcloth, put soap down, clean body with cloth. Wet hair, get shampoo and remember it is a different soap than the one you use for your body, lather hair, rinse and then use conditioner and rinse again. Turn off water, get out of shower, get towel, dry off, hang up towel, get dressed. (that is a whole 'nuther set of steps to remember.) And I was just doing this sitting here and I bet I forgot a few steps or simplified them.
Not even going to go through the steps for toileting and washing hands.
Mom NEEDS to be supervised in the bathroom
Do not worry about offending her you are helping her. She will continue to need more and more help as she declines and you can not be worried about offending her.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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What I said to one gentleman, without engaging my brain before opening my mouth and I was instantly ashamed of myself, was "well, would you want me to touch you if my hands looked like yours?" I'd suggested he might like to wash his hands and he'd answered "why, what's wrong with them?"

It worked, though. Not just that time but the next several too, he was there at the sink scrubbing up to his elbows with soap and a nail brush.

I still shouldn't have said that, all the same. Mean. I'll have to think of another way to put it.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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She has dementia, right? She probably does not understand or remember or care anymore. She probably can't do any of those things. You will have to wash them for her or come to her with a washcloth with soap on it and rub her hands down?

I'm sorry you are dealing with it. So gross. I just found out my mom added a new handwashing ritual into her life. She's started washing her hands before she unloads the clean dishwasher. I was like, WHAT?? You haven't been doing this ALL THE TIME???!!! Sooooo gross.
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Reply to againx100
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So you can all get sick from fecal matter spread throughout your home or she can be offended? Hmmmmm?

Sorry, I am completely offended when people do NOT practice good hygiene and I find it incredibly selfish that they are willing to subject others to illness or worse because they are to ???? to wash their hands after using the toilet.

Let her be offended and tell her that she starts having respect for others in the home by washing up or she can go to a facility where she can be as filthy as she wants. Those are the choices. Yuck!
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Well, she can be offended or she can be dead, I guess.

Show her the CDC guidelines. Wipe down everything she touches with antibacterial wipes if she lives with you.

My mother did not listen to me about handwashing. I called her doctor and he lectured about its importance at the next visit.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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