Hello - I am new to this Board


Registered User
Mar 17, 2008
South Wales
Hi All!

I am new to this Message Board so would like to introduce myself!

My Grandmother was diagnosed with this horrible illness 2 years ago. Unfortunaltey things are getting to the stage where we (her fmaily) are struggling to cope with what we are witnessing. A woman who was once so smart, elegant, funny, loving, always with a beautiful smile on her face is now reduced to looking like a tramp with absolutely no recognition of her own family, home, friends etc....

Any kind of advice on how to handle the situation would be gratefully recieved, especially if you can give advice on how we can persuade her to wash/ change her clothes?

Many Thanks!

Brighteyes :)


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hello Brighteyes

welcome to Talking Point!

can you let us know a bit more about your family situation?

Is your Grandmother living with the family? After diagnosis, has there been any support offered?

How does Grandmother live from day to day - what fills her time?

Is anyone with her during the day?

Sorry to fire a load of questions, but it makes it easier to understand the challenges you face all around you...

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello Brighteyes,

It is very painful for the family to see a deterioration in the personal care of a once smart woman. From my experience only, there is no longer the same importance given by dementia sufferers to how they look or how often they wash. It`s as if they do not see the change, and most probably they don`t.

My mother was also a very smart woman. She had her hair done twice weekly, had regular manicures and pedicures and was always very fashinably dressed. It all went by the board once dementia set in and I honestly feel she lost all perception of acceptable appearance.

I used to take my mother`s clothes home to wash. It involved being a bit sneaky, but it was justified.
When she attended the day centre, she was bathed there. I took clean clothes and they sent the dirty ones home.

The priority though is that your Grandmother remains safe. Once you feel she is at risk, you might need to involve Social Services for support.

I hope this is of some help.


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
N E England
Sorry to hear about your Grandma brighteyes. Sounds like she has a lovely & caring Granddaughter :) Welcome to the forum.

Everyone with dementia has differing symptoms but I must admit from what I have read on here the not washing & changing clothes is very common to most dementia suffers. My Dad has so many clothes you wouldn't believe, he was always very smart & meticulous in his personal hygiene. I hate to see him in dirty clothes now. I sometimes 'steal' his clothes & shove them in the washing machine.:rolleyes:

Is there not someone around who can take your Grandmothers clothes away when she goes to bed & lay out fresh ones? The washing bit is a bit more difficult.


Registered User
Nov 7, 2004
Hi Brighteyes

There is no easy answer to your question.

I used to arrive early in the morning and creep into mum’s bedroom while she was asleep and swap the previous days cloths for clean ones. Then the dirty ones were either washed and dried in mum’s washer before she got up and complained, or taken home with me for the full bleach wash dry and iron. She never remembered what she had worn the day before.

A hairdresser called at the house every two weeks to wash and set her hair.

Fortunately most of the time personal washing was not a major problem as mum had been a Guide and had reverted to that period of her life… though she would not use soap. During the last year at home mum was reasonable compliant and if you were assertive you could get her to move into the bathroom and help her have a good wash down. Baths were impossible.

The bedding had to be changed everyday. This had to be done when mum was not in the bedroom otherwise she got very very annoyed. I would tell her I was going to the toilet, but go and change sheets and duvet. I had about 5 minutes before she would come looking for me. It was quite a challenge doing the duvet !!.

As I have written before, in my opinion you have to go with the flow as confrontation never worked for me.



Registered User
Feb 17, 2008
Hi and welcome to TP.
I have the same problem with my step mum It is impossible to get her to wash and do her hair, it is a battle we have been advised not to worry and after she has been assesed she could go to a nursing home for them to bath her etc but the other prob is getting her to go to the nursing home, she is impossible to get her to go anywhere there is lots of groups near us but she won't go. Its a matter of go with the flow depending on her mood

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