this Keena? It's a Stirling University project.
My mum has the option of more than one bathroom and they're all quite different in their design and general 'feel', so I don't think it's the environment that's putting her off. The funny (not really) thing is that she often says that she'd love to have a bath or a shower, but there are always reasons for why that's impossible and these reasons range from saying that the bathrooms aren't plumbed in to saying she has a heart condition which prevents her from washing, with all kinds of other stuff in between. None are based in fact, but we all know how arguing with dementia works. You never win! I went as far as getting a plumber in to show her that there was nothing wrong with the plumbing but, of course, she completely forgot as soon as he left, so that was a waste of time and money!
It's a shame because she used to be very clean and would hate to see herself now. Even her house smells now and when I visit I kind of absorb the smell onto my clothes. My husband never needs to ask if I've been to see mum because he can literally smell her and her house on me. I'm really hoping this stage won't last for much longer and I'm dreading a hot summer.
I just found this it might not help you at the moment Ellepee but there might be something useful .
Last edited by jeany123; 20-04-2012 at 09:42 AM.
You Never Know How Strong You Are Until Being Strong Is the Only Choice You Have,
Agree with all of the above!! For the moment, I think the idea for your Dad to remove the worst clothes and replace them with fresh ones is the best; perhaps later on, you might be able to introduce some external personal care who could become your Mum's personal ally/companion/Girl Friday - and she might be less resistant to outside help. My MIL accepted help from a carer who wore a uniform/tabard because we told her, she was a nurse. When I managed to get Mum into the shower, I just blocked off her retreat, got soaked and I'm afraid, turned a deaf ear to howls of protest. Then made sure that warm towels, soft PJs etc were all ready to comfort her when we emerged - and that bit, she enjoyed. Now, she is happy in the shower which we manage once a week. I still get soaked but there is no duress (other than that I decide it for her). Please take heart - things don't always stay the same and some things can get easier.
Oh - and I've taken to buying clothes from charity shops because we simply couldn't afford the replacement rate of new - but that's OK too. People are very generous with the things they give away, and I can still dress Mum and MIL the way that they would choose to dress. I'm glad you found TP.
When mum was living on her the smell became eye watering. Of course she was oblivious and when I as tactfully as I could mentioned it I was told that as no one else had said anything to her it was all my imagination. I don't think her friends were ever going to tell her she had serious issues with personal hygiene. Whenever I had to her stay with me I would tell her I put the heating on boost, there was a lovely fluffy bath towel laid out in the shower room and that I had bought her lovely showe gel. I'd tell her I had the curlers ready to do hair when she was out of the shower. Without a word she would go in to the shower and wash herself.
She too went through a phase of sitting in filthy clothes and was unaware. She hated the clothes being washed and as I wasn't living close to her there was nothing I could do. When she moved into sheltered housing I would get my husband to distract her and I would take away a basket of clothes and wash them. She did try to hood wink me and started hiding her clothes under her duvet!!
Mum is now in full time care so she's always clean, hair all looking nice and she smells like she did years ago - fresh perfume. Its amazing. She looks like my mum of 10 years ago. She doesn't argue with the staff regards washing or clean clothes. She used to argue with the home care workers so i'm guessing that the not washing, changing clothes is another passing phase of the dementia.
Oh this all SO familiar! All these posts are an almost exact account of my experience with my Mum. I wish I had found TP before Mum went into a care home. I remember coyly telling Mum's SW about Mum's lack of personal hygiene and had the SW told me this was normal for someone with VasD I might have been reassured but there was no such assurance. I think it is high time someone wrote a simple, no nonsense book called "What to expect from caring for someone with dementia" so that we all know that this is a common problem. Now Mum is in a CH she is nice and clean and her hair always smells nice. It is a shame that we have to resort to residential care for our loved ones as there is no viable alternative often if they stay in their own homes.
I know that all the powers that be say the sufferer can refuse care ( it is probably against their human rights)but it seems so wrong. Living in squalor does not have no consequences. It is a health issue. We all know how badly sufferers are affected when they get an infection. Why is this getting ignored.?What we need is someone to do a Cathy Come Home style programme on the realityof this. Any volunteers?
I feel it is so strange that for an adult, who no more has capacity to make an informed decision than a toddler owing to an illness affecting their brain, that their welfare is ignored until a crisis ensues.
This is not the same as someone who has lived all their lives with no regard to hygiene. This is sufferers who were fastidious about their personal hygiene until this disease took hold.
Until I witnessed it myself I would never have believed I would see my lovely mum unkempt, unwashed and with faeces under her fingernails. This looking the other way is a total disgrace
As we all know, residential care (which is what it would usually mean) costs a bomb and the UK is not exactly awash with spare cash at the moment.
Maybe someone should take a case like this to the European Court of Human Rights, i.e. it is against the human rights of someone with zero sense of what is necessary for their health and well-being, to be allowed to live in filthy squalor under the money-saving pretext of it being their right to do so. (If that makes sense.)
OK, only joking, not that it's in the least funny.
Some great suggestions here; I had a similar problem with my mother and she would also lie about washing etc. and not change her clothes frequently. I realised she would not be told anything and still wanted to be in control. So some tactics did work; I went to her house one day and spotted a jacket with a really grubby collar, so said, while grabbing it; 'While I am here I may as well take that jacket and wash that you asked me to, as my washing machine is bigger'. She immediately said 'thank you'!
I do think your father must sneak her clothes away at night and hide them, throw them away or maybe you could take them away and wash them at some point and sneak them back.
Then leave clean clothes out and if she asks, just casually say 'oh, you put those out last night Mum to wear today'. If she thinks she has done it and has the control that may just work.
You could also turn up and say 'You asked me to book a hair appointment; I'll ring now. Which day would you like to go?'
The only way the CH my mother is in, could persuade her to hand over dirty washing was by me suggesting they go in her room and say 'You asked me to come for you dirty laundry, so if you put it in the bag, I can do it for you now, like you asked me to'.
It honestly worked like a dream and she loves the laundry service now. She does have a tendency to wear her pj's under her day clothes but I can often sneak them into the laundry bin at some point.
Washing is another issue though!