Any advice (personal hygiene)

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by MissisT, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. MissisT

    MissisT Registered User

    Dec 1, 2010
    My husband looks and smells like a tramp.

    He hasn't got dressed for about 3 months other than when my daughter and I took him to the hospital for a brain scan. He spends most of his time in bed, gets up mid afternoon and lies on the sofa in front of the TV. At 5 pm he has a mug of Complan (everything else tastes disgusting apparently) and takes his tabs. I usually go to bed around 10 and he either goes before or after me. Sometimes he gets up in the night and gets a drink of cranberry juice (he gets through a good litre a day) and/or warms up his 'hottie' in the microwave. He doesn't wake me but I'm often awake and hear him.
    I'm not happy about this but I can live with it.

    What I find very hard is that where he used to shower and shave every day, he now does so once in a blue moon. He insists it's not because he's afraid of falling, refuses to let me (or my son) help, and is adamant that he doesn't need carers to come and clean him up. He says he will do it later if I remind him (which I do constantly) but never does. If I try to bully him, he says he feels nauseous/his neck aches etc. and takes himself off to bed.

    Has anybody else had this problem or have any ideas for me?
  2. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    This is a very very difficult, but common, problem and truly I do not know what to advise. On the one hand we are told not to 'argue' with a dementia sufferer and on the other you only want some personal hygiene.

    This factsheet may give you tips but sadly it does not tell you how to deal with outright refusal :eek::eek:

    It may be a good idea to talk to a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) as they may have some ideas.

    I hope others will come along soon with suggestions.
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Sorry Teresa, I can`t think of anything either. It`s not a phase we went through thank goodness.

    Sometimes when my husband forgot to wash I would wring out a face cloth in warm water and tell him he would feel better if he wiped it over his face and it worked, but it doesn`t address your problem.

    Is your husband depressed? It sounds as if he is. Might anti depressants help or is he taking them already?
  4. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Has your husband got a diagnosis yet? I see on your profile that he has suspected VaD, because I agree with Sylvia that this sounds like depression. My mum was extremely depressed at the start of her AD so the one doesnt exclude the other. I would contact your GP today and talk to him/her about it. Don't be fobbed off, get answers and a home visit if possible.


    POPPIT Registered User

    Nov 5, 2008
    East Yorkshire
    Hi MissisT We have the same problem with my mum, she wont have a shower at all now and unless we go and fill sink etc and get things ready she would not have a strip wash. Wont let us take her teeth out to clean and I am scared she ends up with a gum disease under them plus her breath smells. It is so hard cos she also gets smelly. The only thing she will have done is her hair washed, she enjoys that. One thing we did buy her were some of those cleansing wipes in packets which smell nice and freshen her up, would your husband use these. Take care.
  6. terry999

    terry999 Registered User

    Mar 27, 2008
    If his memory is really bad, you could say you are going to the hospital, church/mosque meet accountant etc whatever rings the bell for him to be well turned out. You can even go out drive around so he gets ready. But do not overuse this ploy. Afterall he did get changed for his hospital appointment

    Being a man he is less likely to get a urinary infection from poor hygiene.

    There are "no-rinse" products which I used which are better than nothing. Wet toilet wipes can be useful.

    They do a spray mouthwash which can be v.useful - rather than normal bottles.

    Although the only way I managed to deal with my mum was not force but speed. After she had used the toilet I would get her to brush her hair in the mirror - (hands occupied by brush) and with wet cloths and clean underwear ready would clean her. Before she could really get going complaining she was clean and only had to put on fresh underwear - which she thought had fallen down!!
  7. MissisT

    MissisT Registered User

    Dec 1, 2010
    Thank you all. I should have updated my profile - he is now diagnosed with AD following the scan. Getting him there was an absolute nightmare actually - I had to wrestle him into his clothes with him whimpering all the time and we practically carried him to the car. He then proceeded to say he needed a poo/felt nauseous/was dying + you're cruel/you b******s/take me home and moaned and complained non-stop. I'll never attempt that again, traumatic.
    He is on anti-depressants, 100mgs sertraline, because the initial diagnosis by GP was depression although he quickly realised it wasn't that simple and referred him to the CMHT. I do wonder if an increase in the dose might help.
    Thank you for your help. He hasn't shaved/showered yet again today and I'm wondering whether to hide the remote control for the TV and only let him have back once he's clean.
  8. mexx

    mexx Registered User

    Dec 19, 2010
    I've had this problem with my mum. After many attempts at coaxing, tricking etc., I finally said "go & have a wash, you smell, it's awful". She was shocked, said she was horrified if she smells etc. Since then she washes daily.

    Sometimes I think we need to be cruel to be kind.
  9. littlegem

    littlegem Registered User

    Nov 11, 2010
    north Wales
    Hi, Same problem here,
    Hubby won't wash or anything.
    I tell him he smells and he says he can't smell cos he doesn't do anything to make him smell( like work)

    I try to get him in the morning after breakfast when he goes for a wee.
    Have everything ready, sit him on a stool and strip wash before he realises what is going on.

    Sometimes he gets fed up and I can only do half so I tackle the other half the day after!!!

  10. susiewoo

    susiewoo Registered User

    Oct 28, 2006
    Bromley Kent
    I go to see my Dad every Friday and today he really did smell and before I thought to much about it I told him straight that he smelt! He moaned but he did shower and I helped him get dry amd dressed. He told me off for bullying him but did admit he felt better for being 'nice and fresh' I think he is finding the drying too much so I will have to help him in future.
  11. MissisT

    MissisT Registered User

    Dec 1, 2010
    Thank you all for trying to help. I do tell him he smells but he doesn't seem to care. Son offered to shave him when he was here over Christmas but he just got cross.
    Oh well, from tomorrow I shall be able to tell him he hasn't had a shower 'since last year' :D.

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