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Can't get her to wash or get to bed

Prospector

Registered User
Sep 30, 2014
61
Trowbridge, Wiltshire
My wife has recently refused to come to bed (sometimes politely, at other times agitatedly) and has slept on the sofa these past three nights. I have even slept in another bedroom in case it was something about me, but even then, while she may come up to the bedroom, she returns downstairs to the sofa. The accompanying issue is that she has not changed any clothes, except that (with difficulty and some agitation) I managed to get some clean underwear on her two days ago.
She is very resistant to any attempt to help her dress or undress and can become quite aggressive if I or others try, however gentle and emotionally persuasive we are.
I have tried everything from the Alzheimer's Society fact sheet on washing and dressing, but none of it works!
Has anyone else experienced something similar, and if so, how did you manage the situation please? Do I just leave her to get smelly and risk another infection? I absolutely loathe what this disease is doing to my lovely wife!!!
Thank you.


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Prospector

Registered User
Sep 30, 2014
61
Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Forgot to add - several times in the past few weeks she has been absolutely happy to let me assist her getting ready for and having a bath, it's just at the moment she seems mostly quite down and often agitated - though at other times very happy and engaged. Mood can change very rapidly.


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Chuggalug

Registered User
Mar 24, 2014
8,007
Norfolk
This is one of the tougher situations. I never knew how to handle it, Prospector. Took me ages at a time to get my hubby changed and he would never wash, barring a crisis. Only thing that helped was having others to help with it all when he was in hospital, and now, in care home.

Can you get carers in to help you?
 

Prospector

Registered User
Sep 30, 2014
61
Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Currently waiting for an appointment for a Carer's Assessment. I also have my Mum arriving tomorrow to look after my wife while I work (she is only 53 but has taken a big step down recently).


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Cheesecake4242

Registered User
Apr 9, 2013
43
This is one of the tougher situations. I never knew how to handle it, Prospector. Took me ages at a time to get my hubby changed and he would never wash, barring a crisis. Only thing that helped was having others to help with it all when he was in hospital, and now, in care home.

Can you get carers in to help you?
Maybe a carer who does just house cleaning to start with? They could then progress to doing the washing so 'they need your wife's clothes to make up a full wash'. or they could lhelp her lay out clothes for the next day for a 'special outing'. After all, men have no idea when it comes to colour coordination. :D The carer could accompany you both to the shops to purchase new clothes. Or go to a supemarket for food shopping that sells clothes as well. Get the carer and your wife to look at at the clothes etc together, leave them to it.

Maybe a chiropodist/foot care specialist to cut her toe/finger nails and rub cream into her lower legs/hands? This will get her used to someone else touching her if you have to resort to carers bathing/washng her.

I would recommend you use a small care agency so that you always have the same carer. We found my MIL's carer through a recommendation from The Alzeimer's Society, she is very tough, won't take no for an answer!

Sadly, Mil has not slept in her bed for two years;she sleeps in a chair that does not recline. I think she may have a fear that if she needs the toilet in the night she wont make it in time. Or it could be that she doesn't want to get her hair messed up. Or the fear of laying down and not being able to get up.
 

Prospector

Registered User
Sep 30, 2014
61
Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Thank you for the suggestions. I'll give them some thought. We already have a lovely lady who comes in to do 2h cleaning every week and chats with my wife and keeps an eye on her.

I'm not too worried about my wife sleeping on the sofa (which our cat has claimed as her bed ), it is more the lack of washing.


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truth24

Registered User
Oct 13, 2013
5,725
North Somerset
I don't think there is any easy answer to this. Our mornings became daily battles and it was only when my OH became very aggressive to the team put in by SS too that I had to give in finally and allow him go into residential care. I know your wife has not got to that stage but a fear of water seems common with this disease. When Fred started refusing to have a shower he would, for some months, stand in a shallow bath and allow me to strip wash him. Have you tried that? He got a thorough wash down but without having to submerge himself or stand under a shower. As I say, it finally went past that and the only way the carers and I were able to manage was for him to lie on towels on the bed while we managed to remove clothes and blanket wash by doIng bottom half then top, replacing with fresh clothing as we went. Think you need someone to help with that though. Sorry I can't help much. It is a real worry.
 

loveahug

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
1,071
Moved to Leicester
Mum went through stage of refusing to shower, we managed to overcome it by taking down the handset and giving it to her to spray herself with, as long as it didn't go over her face she was much more relaxed about it. We turned the water down so it wasn't as fierce as usual. She also felt much safer sitting down in the shower too.

Good luck
 

Prospector

Registered User
Sep 30, 2014
61
Trowbridge, Wiltshire
This evening, I got as far as getting my wife to the bathroom and getting her to take her clothes off (including raincoat!), rather reluctantly and with some firm insistence and assistance from me. She would then not get into the bath, so I lifted her in under her protests. She was upset while in the bath but we talked about how we both felt. When she got out of the bath, she slipped off the bath step and I caught her. After that she was really sweet!
She also smells sweet now .
It was a real dilemma - I didn't want to create an antagonistic situation that would keep coming back at me, but at the same time I could not leave her in heavily soiled underwear and risk another UTI. I hope I did the best thing.
She is currently rather cool towards me and I suspect she will sleep again on the sofa. At least she is now in a clean set of clothes after four days!


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gerrytt

Registered User
Jul 9, 2015
11
The dressing/undressing issue is had to deal with without her getting agitated. Remember, arguing and trying to rationalize with her won't work. Suggest to her that she change her clothes to go for a special outing, shopping, attend a family event,etc. there's no magic bullet to solve this issue. Keep trying new creative solutions. Buy her a new blouse, sweater or the like and suggest she try it on. But always....don't argue with her or try to rationalize the reasons she should change her clothes.
Bathing is an issue I dealt with for weeks. My wife absolutely refused to have a bath or shower. One day in the summer I got really creative and "accidentally" soaked her with the garden hose. After she sat on a lawn chair for 15-20 minutes, she became quite chilly. I then suggested a warm bath would warm her up and make her feel a lot better. Amazingly, she said "that would be nice"! I had to "accidentally" wet her several times afterwards. After a week or so of this, we haven't had an issue since! Sounds cruel but she has Alzheimer's and as caregivers we have to be creative and do whatever works for their benefit! Obviously, no caregiver has any intent to harm but every day you're going to have to step outside the box for abstract solutions. I wish you well!!


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truth24

Registered User
Oct 13, 2013
5,725
North Somerset
I resorted to things like that too, gerry, and realised that if I was a paid carer, I could have been prosecuted for ill treatment