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My 79 year old mother is coming to stay with us in a few weeks. My parents live several states away. Mom is incontinent and refuses to bathe. She has had a severe stroke from which she never fully recovered and she has been on the decline for several months. She’s barely eating. She wears Depends that leak constantly. My dad has been her caregiver and he’s exhausted and at his wits end. Mom is stubborn, but confined to a wheelchair. My thought is that I can just get her in the shower... she can’t fight me as she is too weak. She smells and she needs a bath. I do work full time and I have a professional career that I can’t take extended time off until summer. My husband is retired, but I don’t want to burden him with the task of bathing his MIL. In addition, I don’t want my home smelling like a urinal. My dad drinks excessively; I think as a coping mechanism to what he’s trying to deal with. I’m wondering if I should call visiting nurses and see about getting help for when she’s here or should I do it myself or should I get my daughter and daughter in law to help as both of them are licensed CNAs. I told my dad I think Mom needs to be put in an assisted living home but he said no. Any suggestions as to what I can do?

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Who is treating your mom's dementia? Is she on meds to calm her agitation?

Is this move into your home a permanent one? Is your home equipped with safety bars in the bathroom, raised commode, etc.?

Have you arranged for your parents' medical records to be transferred to a new geriatrics doctor near you?

Who is your mother's POA for health and finance?
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Dear ArleneClaire,

I'm sorry to hear about your mom's health. It is difficult when dealing with incontinence. I think you are right to insist your mom needs assisted living or a nursing home. I know your father wants to do it on his own but it sounds like her care is escalating beyond his abilities. I would talk to a social worker or Adult Protective Services to force his hand. I don't think its safe for your mom to be at home given her current struggles.

When she is staying with you, I wonder if you can hire additional caregivers. Or a private nurse even. I know I would be easily embarrassed if my son in law or even if a family member tried to help me with something as private as toileting and showering. I hear your concern about the smell and it does need to be addressed. Hopefully another caregiver can convince your mom more showers are needed or more frequent changes to her Depends products.
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Some patients respond better to an aide when bathing. But not always
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You can an agency like Visiting Angels to sit with her during day which will be private pay during the day & maybe the other two in the evenings and can bathe her as well.
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