Clothing or lack of it !

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by pen61, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. pen61

    pen61 Registered User

    Mar 22, 2015
    11
    Hi my aunt is proving quiet hard to help, she has mixed dementia and is seen every 9 months by the consultant, things have definitely changed over the last 6 months for the worse .She has now taken to wearing the same blouse (possible everything) for days. sometimes I find her with her winter coat on and the heating's on, even when I go over and say' you wore that yesterday' shall we get a nice fresh one, she will not go and change, these blouses were brought circa 1970, there thread bare, she has turned the cuffs and collars round and need replacing I tried to make light of it and suggest days out to go clothes shopping, we have now had three such outings working up from local shops to the city and then bluewater, where she shuffles along and on entering a store looks straight ahead with me lifting up things saying this is the right collar, colour, cuffs etc. she dismisses it every time if we get to a point to try them on( which gets me excited) as soon as one arm goes in she throws it off saying the arms don't fit right ! I've ordered some bits on line when I've taken them round she has actually cried reducing us both to the pits of despair. She always says she sorry which of course is sad in itself, my lovely aunt always took care of herself but she's looking worn now and sometimes I hate to say, smells. we don't live with her but between my brother and I and a little outside help she is seen 4 or 5 times a week we are 10 mins way and we phone each other numerous times. Laughter seems to work we laugh at silly things together , but I don't want to hurt her feelings. sometimes we play good cop, bad cop between my brother and I getting her to accept some help or advice as this wicked illness progresses I find she is consistently in my thoughts but this latest problem is proving very difficult. I've even suggested having them made but she said no. I understand its all about change, routine and I want her to feel comfortable etc. do I just buy them and put them in her wardrobe ???? any advice warmly received
     
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,899
    Female
    Scotland
    I think you have to be straight and clear. Auntie you need a nice warm bath and some clean clothes and I am going to help you. House warm and heating on and a cup of tea and her favourite biscuit when she is finished. If she argues you say well I love you and want you to smell and look good. If she cries you live with it as long as she lets you get on with it.

    When my Mum was alive she avoided bathing every which way and the result was that she and the house smelled and as a result visits were cut short. Each time she went into hospital my sister and I and her sisters gutted the house, threw things out, decorated, bought new items.

    With hindsight we bothered too much about her feelings and should have been more insistent. She would have been the better for it and would have had more company.
     
  3. Pottingshed50

    Pottingshed50 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2012
    514
    When my Mum lived at her home alone we also had similar problems. Washing and personal hygene is a very sensitive subject and the person concerned can and often does get very upset if it is implied that they rather whiff a bit. I know you should not mask the problem but as an intemediate measure could you not try these plugins which have some lovely fragrances ie Vanilla or Linen. Has she got plenty of nice smellies as I call them, talc with a lovely fragrance , deoderant etc.

    With our Mum who is now 95 (now in residential care and still wont bathe but that is the progression of her illness ) in her mind it was the 40s and 50s and people did not bathe as often as they do now , washing of hair was once a week along with the weekly bath. With this illness they often revert back to times like the 40s and 50s. Our Mum wore the same overdress which was coming away at the seams for years together with tights which she used to darn - she did look a picture. Dont get me wrong Mum and Dad were not exactly on the bread line believe me but to look at them both you would imagine they were. In her mind I think it was permanently war time. She made enough Jam for an army.

    Kindness and love will win the day. So she doesnt wash for a week , no one died from not washing. It is the illness. The person with the illness does not realise and is quite content the way things are.

    We have slowly replaced all of Mum's clothing and binned loads along the way. I think your idea of ordering on line especially from a Company that does not charge postage there or back and then you can have a quiet try on when she is ready.

    Does your Aunt like a special kind of perfume? Does she have a hairdresser come to the house? Suggesting these things is alright but I have been there and it does not always work out.

    Do keep your chin up the pair of you and be proud that you are helping your Aunt through this difficult stage. There is a lot of stages along with way.

    Sorry I cannot be more help.
     
  4. Essie

    Essie Registered User

    Feb 11, 2015
    563
    Hello pen61, your Auntie is lucky to have such a lovely niece and nephew in you and your brother - you clearly care a lot about her.

    Without wanting to be alarmist I think the issue of 'lack of clothes' is the intro to larger problems as a result of the progress of your Auntie's illness - to me it more represents an increasing lack of ability to make appropriate choices (wearing a coat indoors/not keeping clean/not changing clothes etc) which I would worry will make her increasingly vulnerable to accidents in the home or going out unsafely (ie not able to get back home, not locking the doors or locking herself out). I don't know how close or not she is to these stages or her level of independence but I do know it's easy sometimes to think that 'it's just that bit that's wrong' when really it's quite a lot more.

    In terms of new clothes I do think the buying online strategy is good as I'm not sure a busy shopping centre would help your Auntie be relaxed about choosing new things where as in her own home it's quiet and calm and you can talk up the new things "it's your favourite colour isn't it, really suits you"

    Good luck, wishing you and your Auntie well.
     
  5. Cheesecake4242

    Cheesecake4242 Registered User

    Apr 9, 2013
    43
    I would suggest you just buy her new clothes, put them in the wardrobe and see what happens. My MIL would not buy new clothes, preferred to wear really old stuff as 'she was only sitting around all day'. Now I just buy her new clothes and hang them in the wardrobe. When she wears them for the first time I say 'Oh you look nice in that' She says 'I've had it for years'! So I don't think the clothes being 'new' will be an issue. Maybe get a carer that 'has been sent by the doctor' to take over bathing and clothes changing. Contact your local Alz Society and ask them to point you in the direction of a 'robust' carer. Our carer baths MIL on Mondays, then gets her to change her clothes on Wednesday and Friday. Pre carer, we went away on holiday for two weeks, came back to seeing her still wearing the same clothes!
     
  6. Essie

    Essie Registered User

    Feb 11, 2015
    563
    I like the idea of a 'robust' carer Cheesecake! I think that should definitely be a category in the job description for the role! :D
     
  7. Cheesecake4242

    Cheesecake4242 Registered User

    Apr 9, 2013
    43
    I think we need to bottle her and sell her!!
     
  8. pen61

    pen61 Registered User

    Mar 22, 2015
    11
    Thank you so much, we have tried the plug ins..... they were unplugged and binned lol, she will only wear perfume on Special occasions etc, bless her. I think im going to try buying and putting in her wardrobe and see what she does with that, I've just phoned her and she was eating her lunch are you warm enough? I asked to be told" oh yes I've got my coat on" !!! I think I've got to toughen up a bit, she takes what my brother says a lot of the time and acts accordingly, sometimes I think she's playing me a bit because she knows I hate upsetting her. I'm sure as we progress I will find a way...ish of dealing with her.:)
     
  9. pen61

    pen61 Registered User

    Mar 22, 2015
    11
    Oh dear, but how funny, I could picture it so clearly, every time we speak? Visit we ask what have you put on today etc, and when we know she had it on yesterday, or longer and say we get a short sharp reply as if we're the ones that have it wrong ! most days we see the funny side but sometimes you just want to throw everything in the air and say fine ( even though it isn't !!) do it your way. keep on going and thank you for replying:D
     
  10. pen61

    pen61 Registered User

    Mar 22, 2015
    11
    Yes I think this is the way to go next ...we'll try at least, thank you .We used the carer approach by saying the doctor sent her so you can stay in your home because that's what everyone wants . she let the carer come( under duress) and now looks forwards to her arriving! phew one down god know how many more to sort out !:)
     
  11. pen61

    pen61 Registered User

    Mar 22, 2015
    11
    Thank you and Yes we worry about what is happening when no ones there but luckily she has a wide circle of friends that take her to clubs and outings etc and report to us any major concerns, which we follow up on. She has always lived on her own and is fanatical about locking the doors at this time she is coping with this and both neighbours are keeping an eye out for her. We visit often and phone each day etc we are looking into ways of helping further as we realize what the future holds for her. reading the info here has ticked a few boxes, she has changed how she walks, she sees things in 3D every now and then and she seems cold all the time even though the heating is up high. we are looking forwards to her next consultant visit as maybe he can enlighten us as to what, and how much more we should be doing at this time. Thank you for you kind wishes :)
     
  12. pen61

    pen61 Registered User

    Mar 22, 2015
    11
    Thank you and I think your right I worry far to much , sometimes about hurting her feelings when she is rather rude to me at times when I try to help. You cant help but see the person you've grown up with rather than the one in front of you.:)
     

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