Changing and washing Clothes

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Agusbainne, May 20, 2019.

  1. Agusbainne

    Agusbainne New member

    May 20, 2019
    Hi, does anyone have any useful ideas or tips on how to get a parent with Alzheimer's to give me their clothes for washing?
    A lifelong habit of not wanting clothes washed is now increasingly difficult to manage due to his Alzheimers.
    We've tried the usual reasoning etc, but as he still has enough capacity to comprehend and refuse or argue that his clothes don't need washing-its getting ridiculous.
    He dresses/undresses himself , by himself, so we don't get too involved in personal hygiene.
    We haven't tried to sneak into the bedroom at night when he's asleep to try to change his clothes.

    Help please.
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    Well, wouldn't that be the easiest option? Sneakily retrieve the old clothes and replace with new ones. He might never notice, so there won't be pointless arguing.
  3. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    This whole topic is very common. You won't be able to reason with him so subterfuge is needed. Your last sentence is actually what I would have suggested.
  4. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    My Dad 81 has mild mixed dementia. In the last year, his personal hygiene and cleanliness has gotten worse.... but he does have a quick daily bath... I suspect he doesnt always use soap though.
    We left him once to see how long he would wear the same clothes without changing... it got to 4 weeks when I had to intervene and use stand over tactics and nagging to get him to change his clothes.
    His excuses are always the same... Hes only at home, hes not going anywhere, he changed them the other day :rolleyes: He does however change if hes going out or groceries without any prompting.

    My Dad lives behind me, so Im not there when he gets up in the morning nor when he goes to bed.
    When I left for work yesterday, my departing words were “ Dad GO and change all your clothes. DONT argue about it, DO it!
    Came home from work and he had all new clean clothes on. :D
    Sometimes I think with my Dad its not so much dementia but apathy, and no longer having my Mum there to tell him what to do.
    My Mum has Alz and has been in care 3 yrs.
    But yes its an ongoing battle.
  5. Palerider

    Palerider Registered User

    Aug 9, 2015
    North West
    I have stopped geting into fights over it, which it can become and which just makes it worse. There are bad days -When mum leaves her soiled knickers in the toilet in the wash they go. When she changes her trousers I do a quick retrieve and before she can say anything the washers on. I do have to persuade her to change her clothes which she does sometimes...then let her forget the old clothes and then go for the tacical swipe while she's not looking. Some days you help, and some you just have to let go for another opportunity later in the week. Her bedding is the worse, I have to take it off while she's watching TV and replace it plus her continence mat. And sneek the whole lot into the washer before she catches.

    On good days, she does it herself (rarely these days)
  6. Amelie5a

    Amelie5a Registered User

    Nov 5, 2014
    Dad still dresses himself - but anything said about clean clothes just gets ignored by him. Everything's always clean and fresh on, he says.

    So my preferred method is to go into Dad's bedroom whilst he's having breakfast. As a minimum I can make sure that yesterday's shirt is removed for washing - and a clean one left in an obvious place. But I can usually sweep up pyjamas and trousers too.

    Having several of everything helps, as Dad doesn't remember what he has. He just picks for what's in front of him.

    Underwear is more tricky - vests in particular! But I manage to find some ruse to get a vest off him often enough. Recently, it's helped that he's taken to spilling things on himself and being quite particular, he likes to change his clothing after that. That's my cue to jump in and get the vest replaced.
  7. Agusbainne

    Agusbainne New member

    May 20, 2019
    Thank you all for your experiences and suggestions.
    I think you are right re the apathy aspect too.

    Next time I visit Dad I might just try the sneaking in bedroom method.....I just hope I don't frighten him or him, me!.
    Worst case scenario....he could even be wearing his clothes in bed!!!
  8. imthedaughter

    imthedaughter Registered User

    Apr 3, 2019
    My dad is in a care home now and they are also struggling to get his clothes to wash. I don't think he's done much laundry in the past few years and he claims to have been washing things in the sink :eek: by hand (with no apparent detergent). I asked them to try to chuck the ripped trousers he arrived in but they are proving hard to separate from him! He also makes all the excuses and so on but with a bit of cunning I think the staff will get there. But sadly yes you're probably going to have to use subterfuge. The main thing is, they are unlikely to notice or remember you took the clothing and they will have clean clothes!
  9. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    My FiL never wanted to change his clothes - and he could be exceedingly stubborn.

    What I started doing in the end was to have a clean set ready, watch like a hawk for when he went to the loo first thing, zoom in and swap. He was living with us, so it was relatively easy.
    He never noticed, but then he'd never given much of a stuff what he wore anyway. Even before dementia, once he was retired he would carry on wearing some holey old jumper and ignore the nice new one my poor MiL had knitted for him.
    Ditto shoes! 'Plenty of wear left in them!' about some pair that were falling to bits.
    My dh once had to frogmarch him to the shoe shop - and dropped the old ones in a bin on the way back! ,
  10. MimiLexis

    MimiLexis Registered User

    Mar 31, 2019
    This is so very common I know now and we have the same issue with dad. I have to tell him for him to remember as he doesn't have very good short memory anymore. He doesn't like me telling him to change his undies, socks and clothes and he grunts but I have to otherwise he will and does forget and will wear the same items forever! I have all his drawers laid out simple for him to grab items of clothes and have shown him what's what but he doesn't remember
  11. Susan11

    Susan11 Registered User

    Nov 18, 2018

    I used to make a pile of clothes for Dad in the order in which he would put them on. That worked well as he didnt have to search for anything or remember which order he needed to put them on.
  12. mancmum

    mancmum Registered User

    Feb 6, 2012
    OK this problem has surfaced at fathers care home.

    1. Could you please have a shower before the water goes off.
    2. I need to take your laundry . Oh it can wait till next it can't husband having operation
    3. Take him out for a need to have a shower before we go out for fish and chips.
    4. We are going to try. He likes cleaning silver without gloves and therefore gets hands dirty. Hopefully this will generate a self perceived need to wash.
    5. we have not done it but some people 'accidentally spill water, etc,' on the dirty clothes so they have to come off.

    The water going off was the best one.
  13. MimiLexis

    MimiLexis Registered User

    Mar 31, 2019

    Good idea! I do have it very basic and simple in the drawers but he just is lost with it, he really is like a toddler not sure of what he should do...bless him

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