Help with showering

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by Vic10, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Vic10

    Vic10 Registered User

    Feb 18, 2017
    It is becoming increasingly difficult to get my OH to shower, I know this is a regular problem.
    So far he refuses help but I do feel he is reaching a stage, or soon will where he needs it.
    Sorry if this is a really stupid question but how exactly do you help someone to shower without getting soaked?
    I have no intention of joining him in the shower as we have been through the ‘hypersexual’ stage and I do not want to go there again! (Sorry if that is a bit insensitive)
    Any advise would be appreciated
  2. MoodyC

    MoodyC Registered User

    Sep 22, 2018
    Hi Vic,
    I suppose it depends on your showering facilities . We have a double length, low level shower tray with a half screen which means that my husband can step up into the shower end to wash and I am down the dry end. We've managed to get into a routine now where I put the soap on his hand and direct him to wash certain areas. I get a little wet but I am fully dressed and keep it as business like as I can. I use very simple step by step language and encourage him to do as much as he can. Hope this helps.
  3. Beads

    Beads Registered User

    Jul 19, 2017
    I can’t remember the last time OH showered . I say to him he needs a shower then when I check all is dry & he says he has had one.
    When I tell him different he will say it’s not us that need them it’s you women that smell. (Really I don’t think so )
    He had an accident the other day & I said to him to undress & put all his clothes in bin bag & have a shower .
    No shower & clothes were thrown in dirty laundry basket which has now been thrown out.
    It can be embarrassing when in confined space & deodorant only lasts for so long then that smell is there.
    So sorry Vic10 hope someone else can give good advice as I’ve tried everything.
  4. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    My dad stopped showering ages ago, he had one under pressure in March but since then it's just a sloosh. He is adamant that he has a shower 3 or 4 times a week and a good wash in between.

    He will not accept help or allow anyone in the bathroom with him but he will agree to leave the door unlocked in case he falls.

    Amazingly he looks clean and does not smell. I give him clean clothes every morning and he accepts that so maybe that helps.

    It's a struggle.
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I have a system similar to MoodyC, so I too can stand at the "dry end". Even so, sometimes I get a bit wet, but it soon dries.

    I started off asking him if he would like me to wash his back, then once he was used to that said Id wash his legs to save him bending and I just go round the edges to wash underarms and bits. I put the shower gel on his flannel and give it to him to wash his front and arms. Fortunately, it has now become part of his routine.
  6. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    I got a split shower screen (a bit like a stable door) put into our adapted bathroom. It meant that the carer could stand with the lower half of the body protected and help my husband wash. By this time he had to use a shower chair so he was stable during this process. Sadly we didn’t use it for long as he passed away three weeks after we moved house. I now use it with the both halves closed.
  7. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    We have an overhead shower that also has a hand held spray. I haven't had to do it for a while but I used a shower chair with arms so it was easy for my husband to stand up again. By using the spray, I could direct the water away from me and I also had a waterproof smock like the ones kids use at school for their art classes.

    I used to dry as much of him as I could before getting him which helped to keep me dry. And of course non slip mates are essential.
  8. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    My husband now sits in a chair with arms provided by the OT. As he sits there the shower sprays over him and I hand shampoo, soap etc then unhook the shower head and finish off. I give him shaving cream to put on which he applies pretty well everywhere and I then shave him in the chair then another shower spray to finish. He showers every day. My daughters tell me that he is compliant because I always did too much for him anyway and this may well be true.
  9. Casbow

    Casbow Registered User

    Sep 3, 2013
    I am sorry you are having this problem My husband started by refusing to step into the bath to take the shower. So I paid a lot of money to get a walk in shower put in, that I had doors on, to keep me dry whilst I helped him. That lasted a little while and then he refused to go in there, So in the end I got him to sit on the toilet with pj's down in hope he would go to the loo as well. He was also incontinent. He allowed me to wash him and we managed like that for a while. It is possible to wash them top to toe like this, and then just do their bottom as the last thing. As an ex carer in a care home I knew how to do this and if they are happy with it it is fairly easy. You could possibly get more information from a nurse. The worst thing was that I couldn't wash his hair so had to use dry shampoo. At the age of 77 he still had a full head of hair that was only slightly grey. If he is refusing to shower there is not much else you can do. But he will need cleaning of course. Get old fashioned flannels. Much better that using loads of wet wipes. Good luck.xx
  10. Vic10

    Vic10 Registered User

    Feb 18, 2017
    Ahh! That sounds doable, when the time comes I will give it a try. If he lets me! Thank you
  11. rhubarbtree

    rhubarbtree Registered User

    Jan 7, 2015
    North West
    Hi Vic10,

    I am a bit late to the party but will put my twopennorth in anyway. Not sure that there is anyway to keep dry when helping someone to shower. My routine is to get showered myself, put underwear on then deal with OH. Then any splashing is mostly on skin or underwear which is unseen. I think the idea of waterproof apron is good as well, just have not got around to acquiring any yet.

    I found OH was not showering properly so now assist. I find a flannel glove and hard soap is best. Then I know everywhere is dealt with. Like Canary I give him the flannel to do personal bits. Then a towelling robe which drys arms and back while he dabs away at the front.

    OH is very reluctant to shower but I am finding talking about his health helps compliance. i.e. you sweated so much last night, pyjamas as evidence, must keep your skin healthy do not want any more rashes. I also have to get his socks off at night because he will use them as an excuse for not getting in the shower in the morning. I show him how they cut into his legs and make his feet swell. These are true health issues but I do exaggerate a little. Appealing to his self-centredness seems to help. He would not care a damn if I said he smelt and it offended me.

    Will be getting a wet room soon so looking forward to not banging my arms on the shower door. I am going for the completely open shower but if the water does go everywhere will put a shower curtain in to protect basin and toilet area.
  12. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    @rhubarbtree i don’t have problems with water getting out of the open shower area we now have, although I have several shower mats which I use to catch any loose spray or for wet feet. I find that I don’t get wet either as I’m standing in front at the edge of the tray and only lean in to lift the shower head off the hook to finish him. The shower seat has holes in the base so you can hose up and clean his bottom.
  13. Jaded'n'faded

    Jaded'n'faded Registered User

    Jan 23, 2019
    High Peak
    Oh, I could do with a couple of those :D

  14. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Mats or mates! Both sound good. I guess the mats won't answer back though!
  15. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    I meant to add that I use though nylon things, lots of stuff bunched up into a round ball. Shower gel on those things can cover a body in no time. No going back to soap up a flannel all the time and it's amazing what a good spray can remove.
  16. Mudgee Joy

    Mudgee Joy Registered User

    Dec 26, 2017
    New South Wales Australia
    I must look for one of those nylon things !!

    I use the foam but go through heaps !
    I had the shower head changed to the shower on a flexible hose - and added a wall grab rail - so my husband can shower almost himself with me turning in the water on to check the heat and soaping up his back !
    But every second day he refuses to shower ! But will change his clothes -Joyxx
  17. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Those scrunchy nylon things can be found in a Reject Shop, very cheaply. When they get a bit tired, I just ditch them and grab a new one. Just look near the shower gels.
  18. PalSal

    PalSal Registered User

    Any chance of using a bath? So far my OH still loves a bath. He was always a shower man, but I found he was not getting himself clean enough. Now after my bath I say..".yeah le'ts save water why don't you use my bath too!" As he is physically still fit at 66 to get in and out of the bath....I get a better result from the effort. I help him to get those areas I worry about smelling and cleanliness. He is still very willing and I am so grateful. But we do have a nice walk in shower on the first floor when the time comes. The nylon things sound like a very good tip @Lawson58. That is what I love about talking point...suggestion for everything.
  19. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    We have lived in our house for eleven years and I hated having to clean the bath because we never used it. It just picked up dust.

    However, my husband has had a skin condition and the dermatologist suggested that if possible, he should soak in a warm bath for twenty minutes to help with the absorption of the cream he had to use. I installed some grab bars but he couldn't remember how to get out. The sight of him with one leg dangling over the edge while he tried to lever himself out was something to behold. Thankfully, he is now back to showering again. No more baths for him!
  20. Grahamstown

    Grahamstown Registered User

    Jan 12, 2018
    East of England
    Amazing that this thread is in action because this morning I seized my chance when he came down wearing his night clothes. I have stopped trying to keep him acting normal so he had his breakfast and then I said shower now. He is compliant now whereas before he was very resistant and complaining but it’s still an ordeal for both of us. So he has had a shower using olive oil soap for his skin, a pedicure and foot oil for his feet and is back in bed exhausted. Is he happy with all this spa stuff? No he is not and I guess I can’t blame him because his skin and feet are very sensitive and he squeals as if I am doing an operation. Clean clothes today as well which is also tricky. Physical weakness means that he is a semi-nursing case now.

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