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Mother washes herself but refuses to take a shower. Trying for once a week. She refuses and becomes ornery and hostile.

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I'm 85 and live in an independent living facility that has grab bars in the shower. I moved here because I fell twice in six months; once on a street with oncoming traffic. I wasn't injured either time. Now when I'm about to get out of the shower, I talk aloud to my feet, telling them where to move. My husband died from a fall on a nursing home bathroom floor after climbing over his bed's locked guardrails. I don't want my life to end that way.
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Thinking back when my mom was first starting to "get weird." I remember that every time I was at her house, I was so impressed by how clean her tub and shower were. Took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out she hadn't used the damm tub and shower since the Bush administatrion.
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Folks have you seen the tub to shower conversion kit that can be remodeled so you do not have to step over a bathtub? I am having issues with this apt. we moved into and with a doctor's order they would have to install one per ADA law. Anyway, the theory of a shower running on skin (according to research done at ASU) is that dementia persons perceive the water as fire. Who would want to put fire on their skin? I got a hand-held shower kit installed, warm up the water, heat up the room, and a chair took up too much room in the tub, but the rubber non-slip pad on the bottom of the tub prevents slipping. I bought a moveable handrail and place it where necessary and get in the shower with my husband. I get him washed, then he gets out, and I can wash my hair. We use disposable wipes for toileting, disposable briefs and pads, and he has yet to get a UTI. Just keep the genitals cleaned, wash in between the toes & armpits, and using a dry shampoo has been shown to be better than wet shampoos. When one has dementia their legs will not get the signal from the brain, they collapse and then a fall occurs. Talking to feet helps when one does NOT have dementia.
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It has to do with fear... mainly fear of falling as one gets older. I am 70 and I feel that way now myself.

There is also the start of claustrophobia as when you think about it, many showers are small. There is also the comfortableness of the water hitting the skin in a shower as when one ages, the skin becomes thinner.

Grab bars on the shower walls are helpful, and many elders like sitting in a shower chair when using the shower. My Dad felt so much safer with that shower chair.

If none of that works, there are caregivers who specialize in just doing bathing/showering and they could come once or twice a week and you pay for their time at your home or Mom's home.
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It's the chill factor. Lordy, I hate the first time the shower water hits my back, it's either a cold shot or a hot shot. So I crank up the heat in the bathroom and I put a hand towel on my back so the hot water doesn't give me goose bumps. I have a shower chair (with a heated wet washcloth), a hand held shower and keep the room at 85F.
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That's a question I had to ask Myself also. I fitted a jacuzzi for My Late Mother many years ago, and with out exagiration Mam bathed in it six nights every week for years, but when the Alzheimer's struck habit went out the window as Mother refused to either bathe or shower, hence I asked a great Friend of Mothers to come and help shower Mam once a week. Result was positive. I did read that Demensia and Alzheimers Sufferers are afraid of water since They can't see it. Showering is so important as it can limit the dreaded Ut's to a minimum. Plus They smell and feel so much better.
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I agree that it can be a fear of falling but I also think it has something to do with being cold.
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my mom, 83 and with dementia and alz. refuses to shower. if we get her to shower, wont wash her hair. she wont allow me to help(daughter). finally at a rehab facility, she will allow some of them to shower her and wash her hair. she was living in an independent facility, but now requires more care than they can provide. and she wont eat! I just so look forward to getting older :(
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I'm 71, and for me, it's definitely the fear of falling. No matter how many grab bars and whether there's a stool to sit on or not, I'm afraid I'm going to fall. (And yes pamstegma, that stool is cold. Even with a towel on it.)

And who wants faff about like that every day, or every other day, or even twice a week, when it takes 3/4 of an hour even to get into the damn thing!
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We went through that with Mom. As she aged she went from a 2 minute shower, to sink baths, to not bathing at all. I think its part of aging and she actually didn't remember if she washed, and didn't notice when she smelled.

But now that I am 70, I find I don't shower every day, although once in, I love it and will be there for 20 min. Sometimes I just have too much to do, getting up and having to get dressed to take the dogs out, then I don't want to be bothered getting undressed again to shower.
I can understand the fear of falling in elders, and if that is the case, we need to make them feel safe.
I broke my ankle 18 months ago. Being laid up and helpless was the worst thing I have ever been through. I crawled up the stairs on my hands and knees and when I got to the top, I cried, from frustration and exhaustion.
It is so much harder to compensate for losing the use of a limb when you are older - aches, muscle strains and fatigue from using other muscle groups.
So, I now understand the fear of falling. I am ever so careful going up and down stairs, getting in and out of the shower. I feel like an old person, moving more slowly. Not that I have to move slowly - I want to because I am being more careful not to do anything fast which might make me fall. It has opened my eyes to why very old people do and act the way they do.
Yeah,
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