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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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luckylu; You're welcome! I can't imagine not bathing! Eww!
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My mom has always HATED shopping, dressing and undressing...She does love her pajamas to smell fresh, so my trick is to associate her bath or shower with putting on her favorite pj's...also, dry skin is an issue...she doesn't like putting her lotion on again...
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Growing up I only took a bath once a week on Saturday night to be clean for church on Sunday.
Mum had to heat the water in the big copper kettle used for boiling clothes. We only had a cold tap in the kitchen so she lit a fire uder the kettle. Mum, Dad and I shared the same bathwater.
Hair was washed at a separate time about every two weeks.
I used to bathe every day and wash hair every other day but now the bath is every 2-3 days and the hair every 4-5 as I am doing very little. It is very important to keep the genital area very clean to prevent all kinds of nasty things but this can be achieved by using wipes or good old soap and water as necessary.
There is far too much emphasis on wahing the body, it strips the skin of essential oils and often the commercial replacements we use can actually be harmful.
If i was caring for some one i would aim for a daily bath or sponge bath because when you are in bed you get sweaty and uncomfortable and it is nice to be clean and have fresh clothes every day.
it is not harmful to ones general health to only wash 2-3 times a week.
it is extremely tiring for many people to take a bath especially if there is pain involved. When some one is taking pain meds it is a good idea to edicate them half an hour before the bath and right afterwards make them comfy and allow some rest or sleep time.
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Llamalover....Thanks for telling me what those Nosegay's were for.I always wondered when Mom would mention them what they were and what they were used for and I'm so glad I didn''t live back then either.I Love to be clean and the water feels so good on my bones with my arthritis.A shower is like a gift to myself I give everyday!
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People in victorian days took a bath maybe once every 6 months or perhaps once a year. Nosegays? Yes, they were a real "thing" that women wore to cut down on their odor. Phew! Glad I didn't live back then!
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DH & I are down with bad colds - today it took me until 2:00 P.M. to get up energy to take shower & wash hair - first in 5 days - another hour to get dressed & brush teeth - I'm 68 in fairly good health but when I think of this being full time then I understand the effort to do this all for those who are in compromised health & their reluctance

Just like a premmie baby that is exhausted after a bath then so are our senior loved ones - my mom never says anything about it because of short term memory problems - dad died a few months ago & he had his favourite caregiver that gave the best bath - after he died I talked to the head of nursing staff & said how he really appreciated how well she did - feed back is important because if you don't give compliments then you can't bitch about things either - pardonez ma francais

If they have a regular nap/rest then doing the bath just prior could be best time because then the rest afterwards would be good - NO BODY SAYS YOUR BATH SHOULD BE AT A SPECIFIC TIME - I'll bet if you tracked those nap/rest times then there is a good chance that bath days may be longer due to energy out put

Also why is it so important to do a daily bath? - because we have been conditioned by advertisers to do so but unless there is a need then it can be too much for fragile senior skin - here in Ontario in NH it is mandated by the Ministry of Health that every resident have 2 baths or equivalent a week - people whose most energetic action they do is cutting their chicken up are not sweating nor are they getting dirty

Even once a week can be enough because those with diapers are cleaned there regularly - their face & hands wiped/cleaned before & after meals - so what is left over? .... the back, legs, upper arms & chest - these are not areas of problems so maybe just a sponge bath 1/2 way through week & mainly for a check on health/skin issues to prevent any issues like bed sores etc

My mom had a bed sore that a dr. & PSWs missed - they took her explaination [as did whole family] that she was hitting her ankle on wheelchair as she paddled herself around - after 1 1/2 years a new nurse saw it for what it was & it took 15 months for a diabetic to heal - this was because she always slept on same side - everyone looked for issues on her hip, shoulder etc but it was the ankle bone where the sore was so everyone thought she was right - SOME TIMES FRESH EYES SEE THINGS THAT OTHER MISS - so just because a new care giver says something don't disregard it out of hand because they are truly fresh eyes & may catch something others have missed because it came on slowly
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My mother also resists showering. Her longest unshowered period was 18 days. We are having somewhat better results now since I have insisted on a routine, but it is still often a fight. I have come to dread Wednesdays since we designated Wed. as shower day. The room is warm, it's a walk in shower, we have rails inside and outside the shower and a shower chair, a hand held shower head and an aide who bathes her and washes and dries her hair.

She says she's not cold and not afraid of falling, it's just 'hard' but she cannot articulate what it is that is hard so we can do something about it. I think that maybe it is just harder than not showering.

Now I try to schedule all of her appointments for the end of the week when she is clean.
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     My mother is bedridden and bathtime is an absolute nightmare - for both of us!! She hates being bathed even though I do it quickly. I think it's because she doesn't like being exposed even though I cover up her entire body with a few bath towels and only remove the towel from the area I'm actually cleaning and then I reposition that towel back over her body. Her right side is permanently contracted from her stroke and she flips out when I clean this area. It's just physically and mentally exhausting for me that I have to split up her bathing schedule; one day is body, the next day is hair.
     She does, however, love when I shampoo her hair in a blow-up basin that I purchased from Amazon. I use a shampoo brush to keep her scalp clean and she loves it...it's like a massage on her scalp.
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Bathing is exhausting when a person is infirm. The hazard of falling becomes very real as well. And if it’s winter the person is freezing!
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My Mother hated the water because she was scared she would drown.She would curl up like a cornered animal and both of us would be in tears by the time her shower was over.Also,she was Very modest and she always wanted her little bra and panties on.We found that with her back and arthritis pain,it hurt her and wore her out so for her last 3 and a half years on Hospice before she left,the bathaid and I gave her a "bath" in her liftchair.Alot of times I had to doctor her hiney,so that worked well too.
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YOU DO NOT NEED A BATH/SHOWER EVERY DAY - that's what the advertizers have made us think - a couple of times a week is enough - I am in my late 60's where we washed our hair once a week usually on sat [some washed only bangs on wed] & took 2 to 3 baths a week

Your parents are [hopefully] older than me but my point is the emphasis when she grew up isn't what it is today - a friend's mother who I helped with wouldn't bathe but she was fastitious about cleaniness - she was European & like to use a bidet [ see if that could work?] but she took daily sponge bathes

Any attempt to get regular ablutions [of any sort] is good but maybe think outside the box of just shower/baths because there are other options you could look into not just easiest [bath/shower]
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I think it's because they don't like to be cold, even for 30 seconds, and/or they are afraid of falling.
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HelpnGa: Throwing things because you want your MIL to bathe sounds like she's mentally disturbed! Totally unacceptable! Seek help for her through a psychiatrist.
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AmyGrace: She didn't know if she smelled because she had loss her olfactory sense.
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Thanks for the input, HelpnGA - I'll check this out with the facility when I'm there next. I've little doubt that they do have to rush the process and this may be contributing to the problem....well, that and mom's lack of cooperation which I'm sure is a real treat to deal with...
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lmb1234- this may not be the case with your mom, but my mom's dry and scaley skin has improved dramatically since her new hospice CNA started. The other girl wanted to only use one tub of water for bed baths but we requested a seperate clean water for rinsing. I think that (and a girl that doesn't rush as much) is helping remove all the soap from her skin so the moisturizer can do it's job. Within 2wk it was a dramatic improvement. Even those no rinse type soaps seemed to wreck her skin. HTH in some way!
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Oh, gosh Blackhole - your experience is identical to mine. Mom hadn't used her pristinely clean (thanks to the cleaning folks that went to her apt. every two weeks) shower in at least two years before the lightbulb went off in my head. She's in AL now and they try valiantly to get her into a shower a couple of times a month but it's largely a sponge bath type of washing at this point. I have noticed her legs are very dry and scaly even though we moisturize when I'm with her and I know the aides are doing the same when she lets them. But, this just seems like the same story over and over..........
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MIL will actually begin throwing things at us when we 'demand' a bath! She's fearful of people in general and won't allow anyone in her home but the two of us. It's crazy that we could get in any trouble when we've called APS begging for help and telling them the situation. They say it's an adult's right to bathe or not, to live where they chose & eat as little as they want. If she refuses to let a social worker in, they can't demand to talk with her because she doesn't have Alz & isn't legally blind... We help take care of my mother who has Alz as well as my 86yr old grandmother and it's obvious they get wonderful care. MIL is truly the most stubborn person I've ever met, she's pushed everyone in her life away, but we aren't going to let her sit in her home & starve to death so we do the best we can. He has a sister that hasn't been to visit her mom in a few years, even though she lives closer than we do. It's a terrible, heartbreaking situation! She also knows that I bathe my mom a few days a week for 3yr now, so I know how to do it. I've offered to put robe around her while I wash her so she doesn't feel so exposed and her son does yard work or runs to the store so she also doesn't feel awkward in front of her son. Nothing has worked. And taking the tobacco away is our trick to get her to eat. Works every time!!!! But with bathing, that's when she goes crazy or gets up like she's going to cooperate & then starts seriously crying and shaking and goes back to her chair. I just wish there was help for someone who refuses help!!!
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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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My mother couldn't get out of the bathtub. She tried for awhile then called for my sister. My sister couldn't get her out either, but wouldn't allow my sister to call for her husband. After some time my sister got her out of the tub. Now my mother refuses to take tub baths. Maybe this is how phobies get started.
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#1 Old school-depression era people took very few baths to conserve water. In fact, sometimes one family used the same bath water (I know, right?=gross), thus the term "don't throw out the bath water."
#2 Afraid of falling
#4 Afraid of water
#5 Afraid of temp (too hot/too cold)
#6 The mentality of the elder has changed drastically.
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Everyone is different. Growing up we were always big on baths so my parents wanted their baths. They resisted assistance until it was obvious to them they had to have it. Neither had dementia. Once they experienced the help of professional bathers, they relaxed and enjoyed. Loved how great they felt afterwards. I think they are more comfortable with aids who are confident unlike their children who are awkward. Loved the ideas here. The foot warmer I hadn't heard before. I think it's also imperative to adopt a no nonsense, we are all going to bathe approach and get that out of the way. The woman who smoked would not be brought her tobacco until she bathed. That one is simple ( for me). No conversation. Just the facts. Easier on everyone.
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My Mother has mild dementia. Don't know if talking to her feet will work but we can try that. Thank you for that suggestion. Also on regard to showers... that is one thing my Mother's facility harped on when Mom was showering herself and in Independent Living. The facility pushed and insisted that mom have nurses aids showering her when she was ill and had already showered herself in the morning. She loved her showers then. She was not at a risk of falling then. They made an invalid of her. They showered her after she was hurt in physical therapy and that night she fell in her room after she went to the bathroom. She bumped her head and got disoriented. I called 911. From emergency room, she was transferred to observation where she fell out of bed. She broke her nose. She went back to the health care unit where she is a resident and they refused to treat her when she got sick with phnemonia. Their Dr. never saw her. We had to call 911. She was treated for phnemonia in the hospital for about 5 days and was sent back to independent living. .. . A series of events lead to her being forced into moving to Personal Care against her wishes. It is hard to get the Nurses Aids to shower her there. The reason the facility wanted to force her to be showered by there Nurses Aids is that it would give reason to have her transferred to Personal Care. The facility overused her Medicare for Physical Therapy and there is now no money left for her to have physical therapy for the rest of this year. What I am saying is that showers and one of the indicators of whether or not the resident in Independent Living should be transferred to a higher level of care or not. A facility can use this against a resident in Independent living. This is our experience. Now my Mother hates showers she used to love and she does not get showered every day like she used to. I was told that she was not showering herself clean enough. That was B.S. The nurses Aids skip at least one of her shower days of her twice a week schedule and when they do shower her her it is a 2 minute shower. I watched as the Occupational Therapist drag a shower out to 15 minutes and she wanted to check me to see that was done. She wanted to shower Mother in front of her. Mother is smart. She said "NO." I listen to my Mother. She is going to be 99 years old this month. She has great wisdom along with her mild and pleasant dementia. Please pray for us. It is hard to fight the agenda of the facility and also my brother to take control of my Mother. I go in every day as long as I am permitted to stay, basically from 7:30 to 8:00 PM and several hours out of that for errands and appointments. I give Mom a shower once or twice a week, she now hates showers she used to love. This is what needs changed around. Getting a loved parent to love showering. How is that accomplished? When others shower her at facilities, it takes away rather than ads to her life and to others lives. How do you get around this when dementia sets in? A shower should be an exciting thing and it has been changes to chore, a red flag that a person is losing control of their life. If a facility can rob a resident of their joy of living they think nothing of taking that away from the resident if it serves their purpose. That is the problem with senior living facilities that put the resident last on their list of priorities. Please pray with me that I can effect a change in the horror of Mother's life. Thank you.
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AnotherJoe, you just reminded me of something I did with my grandmother. She wasn't happy about bathing, but keeping her warm helped things. I would warm up the bathroom with a space heater ahead of time, had grab bars for her security, her seat was there and we used a hand held shower.

But putting a basin (those plastic bins from the hospital worked for her small feet) of really warm water for her to put her feet in while she sat in her shower chair kept her warmer throughout the bathing process and she wasn't as uncomfortable.
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My FIL seems to have hyper-sensitivity to water on his feet and face, so bathing him & washing his hair is a struggle.

My wife works with autism children, and she tells me that it is common for the children she works with to display similar aversion to all sorts of things. It's difficult to understand the feelings and experiences of folks afflicted with neurological damage.
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HelpnGa, yes it is all too easy for APS to arrive and ask 64 questions about why she is not clean. Dear Husband needs to talk to her MD about a weekly bath aide. They learn techniques of reassurance and distracting them with happy conversation and use the Teepa Snow technique, which actually starts with the patient partly clad.
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I'm curious, has anyone ever heard of caregiver being charged with neglect because someone refused to shower? My MIL will not shower, wash her hands or face, nothing! Every time we go to see her DH gives her a rag to wipe face, hands and arms down and I wash hair at the sink once every 1-3mth if I'm lucky!! She smokes and somehow gets ashes all over her hands, then ends up with a grey face and anywhere else she may touch. She truly looks like a homeless person under a bridge. It is such a fight to get her to do the little bit of washing up we've gotten her to do. She rarely changes her clothes either! We've called local dept on aging but they say unless she's blind or has Alz, they can't help. She's sharp as a tack, just a recluse that has decided any form of cleanliness in the last few years is unnecessary!

Also, Grammyteacher, my own mother is unable to walk or stand now so she gets bed baths every other day and her hair washed once a week. It was always so tough to get the shampoo out of her hair until we got an inflatable bed basin. She's able to just lay comfortably back & you can use a cup or pitcher to pour water over head just like getting hair washed at salon (except you aren't hooked up to the plumbing of course) It's really super easy once everything is set up and I think you can get for around $20 on amazon. Just thought I'd mention since the shower is getting tougher to do. Much luck to everyone out there!
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Good suggestion to "Go cubs"! About taking a bath before a doctor appointment! Wow!! Using old habits and standards will seem familiar and you will experience more coperation.
I did not realize that was what made my experience with bathing my friend - a no argument deal! Thanks for the tip.
Rose petal
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I'm sure they are afraid they will fall. Also, it's just plain difficult. My own experience with RA is giving me a preview of how it will be, having to do all that while in pain and aching all over from one joint to the next. It's just a lot of trouble and discomfort.
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I think a lot of it is they are afraid of falling. Plus, when your body aches all over, it is a long, drawn-out, uncomfortable ordeal to go through. My own RA is giving me previews of just how difficult the process can be.
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