Follow
Share

Actually, she's not my mom, I work for her. Just the mention of a shower, she gets terrified. We know one of the reasons is she is afraid of falling, but we think its deeper then that. Can someone help?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Sometimes I have a problem with my MIL at bath time. She will say "I've already had a bath this morning". Or "don't wash my hair, I washed it last night." I think that even with her dementia, she rebels against losing control of her life. And she resents the fact that she does need help. Only one time did we have a real problem. And that was when she had a bowel movement and made a mess of herself. I believe she was just embarrassed about the situation. I told her that accidents happen but she needed to have a bath to be more comfortable. She still resisted, but we got through it. Taking care of someone with dementia is a whole lot like taking care of a child. They don't always want to do what needs to be done, so you, as the adult in the situation, have to take control.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I can tell you first hand what the problem is with bath resistance. I have this problem personally. I dont have dementia but my husband does and I had to fight him to take a shower. As time went on I became severely depressed and I started resisting taking a shower. Its been 13 years and im still resisting.i take sponge baths. Even thinking about taking a shower or bath upsets me terribly. My perception of it is damaged. I perceive it as cold, exausting, will take a very long time, ill be trapped, I will be needed, and I dont want to take my clothes off, again because I will be defenseless and cold. This is caused by depression! Must be the same area of the brain.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

To pointedly answer your question not wanting to bathe is an extremely common symptom of dementia. You don't mention that about this woman. Has she been evaluated by a doctor for dementia?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My mom wouldn't shower for me. I hired a nurses aid that comes 3 times a week. She is very upbeat and chatty and treats my mom like she's going to the spa. some times it just takes the right person. Clearly it was not me!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

When I first started caring for my Mumm, 3 years ago, I was mortified that she didn't want to be clean. I would beg and plead and say things like "why don't you want to be clean?" Now I have learned what to say to a myriad of things she doesn't want to do, like bathing, exercising, going out, etc. (She will tell you she CAN"T) I just say I know you don't want to, but you never want to, so let's just do it and get it over with. For some reason, it works! Good Luck!!
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Simple answer is ask her what is the problem? Falling is a real fear for most elderly people. They have decreased sensation and awareness of their body. As a result if the person starts to fall they are unaware until its too late. So as a carer you need to provide reassurance and guide her through each step slowly. Start at the basin and you can wash hands face upper body if that decreases her anxiety. Also look at the environment and see is there any trip hazards slippery wet floor, temperature too hot or cold any rails as mentioned by "pstiegman" . It is difficult being a carer in a new situation trying to find out the problems when you are on a time limit and have other people to help. Hope these tips give you some ideas. take care.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Have a warm terry robe ready when you undress her or have her do it alone in the bathroom or her bedroom.don't stand and watch her. Slip the robe off as you assist her into the bath or shower. Once the washing is over wrap large warm towels around her and assist her from the bath or shower. Get her underwear on as fast as possible then it will be OK to remove the towel and finish drying her off. With a male you can leave regular underwear on or cover genitals with wash cloth or small towel and have him wash that part himself if possible and again don't watch. it is usually OK to wash the buttocks from behind Again provide warm towels or a terry robe as quickly as possible. It is the being naked that makes people feel so vulnerable. One of those waist wraps also works well for men. They can proceed straight to their bedroom and dress themselves if possible or have assistance placing underwear before removing the towel. Of course fear of water may be a factor too. A bubble bath may also help the modesty problem too.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Bath day usually isn't happy for my mom either. She has an Alzheimer clock. I started to have her look at the clock and ask her if she knew what day it was. She would look at it and tell me the day. And then I would say "Remember , today is bath day." She would look a little defeated, but then go with me to the shower without much fuss. I let her wash herself, but I do help with washing her hair . I have all her clothes ready for her when she gets out. She drys, dresses, then I set her hair in another room. I will say our shower has a built in bench, she never want to sit down on it, but at 94, she always relents and sits down. I then hand her the hand shower and the regular shower is on her too, so she isn't in there a long time.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Yes, as I have stated previously, research into this phenomenon was conducted at ASU, and resulted in findings that show patients with dementia consider the running water is like fire and it will burn them if they step into a shower. Just give her a sponge bath and end the terror for her please.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mom refused to bathe as well for months. I could get her to wipe off sometimes and change her pajamas. I finally had someone come in and give her a bath by sitting in a bath chair.(that helped some). Now, I don't fight the issue and I run warm water in the bathroom sink and let her wash herself off and she doesn't fight me at all over that. I just encourage her to wash the "creases" and she feels better and I do too.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Ask the doctor to order OT. An Occupational Therapist came to mom's house, showed us where to put hand rails, tub rails, a shower seat and what type of hand held shower to use. Teepa Snow recommended getting them into the shower with partial clothing. She said they feel more secure and when the clothes get wet, they naturally want them off.
Mom has moderate dementia at 86. Even the sound of water running upsets her. When I was on the phone with her and she could hear the kitchen faucet running, she immediately ended the call, said she was busy. Try that scenario, you may also find she can't stand running water noises.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This was a huge battle with my mother and father (dementia). He refused to shower and the doctor said it was common- something to do with water falling on his head. The handheld nozzle was a biggie. Also it was the best money ever spent on a homecare aide to come in several times a week. Once a week the aide showered my father and he went along with that- the huge battles were gone!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This IS a common issue with dementia. Many things are perceived in different ways than what is normal. It is important to protect privacy and be matter of fact about the chore needing to be done. If they are afraid of the water falling o them, the attachment that allows for self control of spraying water will help. If they prefer baths, just be sure there are safety bars and non slip bottom in tub. Many times it's a fear of falling. My Dad's facility uses shower with hand held nozzle and a shower chair. That way, the person can be covered with a towel over private areas, even if the towel is getting wet, and they don't have to fear either falling or the water hitting them all over. They also deal with him directly.....if there is refusal, they will back off for 10-15 minutes and then come back again. But they just say.....It's time and this is what we're doing now.... Hope this helps.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

For one thing, they don't remember that they need it. For another, they think they've just done it. Further, just the active doing it is generally very tiring, something they don't look forward to if they can remember that it is. They don't like being undressed and they tend not to like water hitting them. My mom had very exaggerated and sensitive reaction to water too hot, water too cold, water at all. Showers weren't much of a time when my mom was very happy. We had a helper here but my mom would not tolerate anyone but me aiding her with her shower, when we were able to do it. As her dementia got worse, and became layered with a heart problem that greatly fatigue her, it became harder and harder.Her response was that she just didn't need one today. Of course we could never let that choice go on for too long, then it was a struggle. My strategy was that when it was time for a shower and there were no if ands or maybe about it, I would had in her direction when she had gone to the bathroom, be prepared for the shower, and just progressed into it from there. I learned never to pre warn her that shower was coming because that gave her time to come up with the excuses why not to.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My MIL told me that she was afraid of the water falling on her so we switched to baths. She is not excited about those either but we try to say something like "the kids are taking a shower tonight, when would you like to take yours?" My wife helps her with her hair. People with dementia sometimes do not know that they did not take a shower/bath. Their brains know they did it everyday for years so they "must" have done it yesterday/today as well. Some are not refusing to bathe, they simply think they have already done so.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My mother, who has early stage Dementia, and she creates a myriad of excuses to not bathe; not when my husband is home, nor when it is too hot or cold outside, when its a federal holiday, when "Lizard Lick Towing" is on television for examples. She sees bathing as something to control rather than as a means of cleaning her body. For months we fought on the subject, and now I just provide her with wipes in her bathroom and dry shampoo, as well as changing her towel, linens, and laying out clean clothes for her daily. She will now shower every two days or so, and for me, that's okay.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Probably b/c when she is naked she feels out of control. People like to be in control of their lives. Whether they are 8 or 80.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.