• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can be found in our area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

How do I get him to wash?

sister support

Registered User
Feb 11, 2022
12
0
Hi my brother has been diagnosed now for about a year. He lives alone with Carers popping in to give him dinner and medication. My biggest problem is Keeping him clean. He brushes his teeth which is one thing I suppose but refuses to wash or shower or wash his hair. I have given up trying to get him in the shower now as he gets agitated with me over it. However this is not solving anything as he currently has gone two months now without washing. He smells like a bucket of old cabbages! I used to Get him to shower once a week on the promise of a meal out for us but this has no effect anymore he just refuses and I don’t want to stop our trips out as this is the only thing he does and enjoys. Any help would be really appreciated.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
76,074
0
Kent
Hello @sister support . Welcome.

Many people with dementia seem to develop a fear of water either coming down or towards them as in a shower or being immersed in it as in a bath.

Others may find it just too tiring managing the organisation of undressing and dressing.

I used to give my husband was face cloth wrung out in warm water to wash himself. It wasn`t a full body wash but luckily I only needed to do this a couple of times.

It might be worth trying, just to see if your brother will accept this if only for his hands and face. Perhaps it will give you some idea why he refuses to shower.

I hope others will offer their solutions
 

Wildflowerlady

Registered User
Sep 30, 2019
939
0
Hi @sister support my dad refused to shower or bath he said he didn't like the water so last three years or so of his life he did accept a wash from bathroom sink. There are some waterless products around which perhaps you could try although when I used on my mum when near her end of life (not with dementia ) I did still tend to wet the flannel first as not exactly 'waterless' as is a little runny but you only need to dry off not rinse. You could also try waterless shampoo which mum actually liked can just rub into the hair with hands and then towel dry. It will freshen up hair and not too bad or maybe try a dry shampoo?. I know it seems he will not wash but could he be told is a lotion to help his skin rather than a wash?
 

Nannytime

New member
Feb 11, 2022
3
0
Hello, I am a community carer, but also mum has been diagnosed so I totally understand.
Here are a couple of items you might want to ask him to try with or without his carers, giving him a little independence.
Hope this helps.
 

Attachments

  • C3BC8848-99F2-4F41-93ED-004153691B32.png
    C3BC8848-99F2-4F41-93ED-004153691B32.png
    727 KB · Views: 123
  • CB3C5BE4-2047-4BFF-AC1F-431D8D322A4D.png
    CB3C5BE4-2047-4BFF-AC1F-431D8D322A4D.png
    841.4 KB · Views: 125

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,029
0
65
London
Would he be more receptive to assistance from a male carer? Stripping naked in front of your sister doesn't come naturally.
 

sister support

Registered User
Feb 11, 2022
12
0
Hello @sister support . Welcome.

Many people with dementia seem to develop a fear of water either coming down or towards them as in a shower or being immersed in it as in a bath.

Others may find it just too tiring managing the organisation of undressing and dressing.

I used to give my husband was face cloth wrung out in warm water to wash himself. It wasn`t a full body wash but luckily I only needed to do this a couple of times.

It might be worth trying, just to see if your brother will accept this if only for his hands and face. Perhaps it will give you some idea why he refuses to shower.

I hope others will offer their solutions
Thank you. I don’t think it’s a fear of water it’s more that it’s too much effort and he can’t be bothered. He doesn’t like being told by his little sister which is where the agitation comes from. He just thinks he’s fine and doesn’t want any interference from anyone
 

sister support

Registered User
Feb 11, 2022
12
0
Hi @sister support my dad refused to shower or bath he said he didn't like the water so last three years or so of his life he did accept a wash from bathroom sink. There are some waterless products around which perhaps you could try although when I used on my mum when near her end of life (not with dementia ) I did still tend to wet the flannel first as not exactly 'waterless' as is a little runny but you only need to dry off not rinse. You could also try waterless shampoo which mum actually liked can just rub into the hair with hands and then towel dry. It will freshen up hair and not too bad or maybe try a dry shampoo?. I know it seems he will not wash but could he be told is a lotion to help his skin rather than a wash?
Thank you. It’s more a battle of wills about him being asked to do something he doesn’t want to do I doubt he would accept alternative methods.
 

sister support

Registered User
Feb 11, 2022
12
0
Would he be more receptive to assistance from a male carer? Stripping naked in front of your sister doesn't come naturally.
Thank you. Yes I agree it’s uncomfortable for us both but we have tried getting his carers to manage this side of it (male) and he kicked off big time over it. He just doesn’t want to wash or have his clothes washed.
 

sister support

Registered User
Feb 11, 2022
12
0
Hello, I am a community carer, but also mum has been diagnosed so I totally understand.
Here are a couple of items you might want to ask him to try with or without his carers, giving him a little independence.
Hope this helps.
Thank you. I didn’t know about these. I’m not sure he will use the wipes because he thinks he’s fine but I will try and the caps sound good.
 

Stone Bell

New member
May 2, 2022
1
0
Hi @sister support, we are also really struggling to get my MIL into the shower.

One thing that has made it easier to coax her into the bathroom and help her to actually wash herself is to put some good music on. Something she really likes. It is still not necessarily easy, but she is now showering and sometimes even singing and dancing in the shower.

One thing I have also learned from my MIL is that rude / aggressive and extremely stubborn behaviour is often used to mask her fear. It can be so hard to remember at the time, but I try to remind myself that these big outward behaviours are often her way of covering up the vulnerability she feels or a quick way to make people around her stop doing scary things (like trying to get her to part with her clothes or stand under the shower).

If you can’t get him in the bath still, It might be possible that, if you meet your brother where he is (so in his bedroom or living room for example), put some great tunes on, and capitalise on him feeling more comfortable, you might be able to to tempt him to use some water free products.

Lastly, giving compliments is something I find helpful. “You’re going to smell amazing after your wash!” Etc. Tempting with a favourite perfume / cologne as a small ritual after they have showered might work too.

I really hope you find something that works!
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,029
0
65
London
A bit of a bizarre approach admitedly but would it work to have a carer dressed in an old-fashioned non-nonsence nurse's uniform. I have a vision of Hatti Jaques, which might perhaps be going too far, but a uniformed and rather stern carer might have an impact on some people.
 

sister support

Registered User
Feb 11, 2022
12
0
Hi @sister support, we are also really struggling to get my MIL into the shower.

One thing that has made it easier to coax her into the bathroom and help her to actually wash herself is to put some good music on. Something she really likes. It is still not necessarily easy, but she is now showering and sometimes even singing and dancing in the shower.

One thing I have also learned from my MIL is that rude / aggressive and extremely stubborn behaviour is often used to mask her fear. It can be so hard to remember at the time, but I try to remind myself that these big outward behaviours are often her way of covering up the vulnerability she feels or a quick way to make people around her stop doing scary things (like trying to get her to part with her clothes or stand under the shower).

If you can’t get him in the bath still, It might be possible that, if you meet your brother where he is (so in his bedroom or living room for example), put some great tunes on, and capitalise on him feeling more comfortable, you might be able to to tempt him to use some water free products.

Lastly, giving compliments is something I find helpful. “You’re going to smell amazing after your wash!” Etc. Tempting with a favourite perfume / cologne as a small ritual after they have showered might work too.

I really hope you find something that works!
Thanks for your help. I am trying different methods with limited success. I tried some of those shower caps that you heat in the microwave which he didn’t mind as a novelty to start with but is now refusing again. I then told him he has a new shower which has worked a little. It seems the novelty of new stuff works but soon wears off. I will try the music as he does love music. Thanks for your reply and hope it goes well with your mil.
 

sister support

Registered User
Feb 11, 2022
12
0
A bit of a bizarre approach admitedly but would it work to have a carer dressed in an old-fashioned non-nonsence nurse's uniform. I have a vision of Hatti Jaques, which might perhaps be going too far, but a uniformed and rather stern carer might have an impact on some people.
Thanks and I can see your line of thinking which may well have more impact. Trouble is I can’t see his carers being open to that and as his sister it would be too awkward. Thanks for the suggestion though.
 

Ellek

New member
May 21, 2022
6
0
Hi, I am in the same situation as you caring for my younger brother with early on set alzheimers.. I have a hard time with bathing and changing clothes as well. When I am successful it takes a long time, offer bath or shower fresh clothes that I know he likes and coax him into the bathroom. He comes out and goes In a number of times and can last for an hour. I can hear him talking to himself to get into the bath or shower. If I am lucky once he is in, I remove the soiled clothes. I then if he is in the bath. I wash his hair and rinse using the plant watering pot. He is then.open for mevto wash his back and when done I hand him the face cloth all soaped up and he washes himself. If he wants a shower. Once he is in I enter and hand him the shampoo and once the hair is done I hand him the soaped up face cloth. It does take time and doesn't always work but I keep trying. Good luck.
 

sister support

Registered User
Feb 11, 2022
12
0
Hi, I am in the same situation as you caring for my younger brother with early on set alzheimers.. I have a hard time with bathing and changing clothes as well. When I am successful it takes a long time, offer bath or shower fresh clothes that I know he likes and coax him into the bathroom. He comes out and goes In a number of times and can last for an hour. I can hear him talking to himself to get into the bath or shower. If I am lucky once he is in, I remove the soiled clothes. I then if he is in the bath. I wash his hair and rinse using the plant watering pot. He is then.open for mevto wash his back and when done I hand him the face cloth all soaped up and he washes himself. If he wants a shower. Once he is in I enter and hand him the shampoo and once the hair is done I hand him the soaped up face cloth. It does take time and doesn't always work but I keep trying. Good luck.
Thank you and it’s nice to see you are successful with your brother. I think my problem is that I am his younger sister - only by a year but the status is there and he hates being told what to do my his little sister. He doesn’t believe his clothes are dirty even though he has worn the same ones for weeks and refuses to let me wash them for him. The only way to wash his clothes is to sneak them away without him realising which isn’t an easy task. I’m kind of giving up now. I’ve tried everything I can think of and he just refuses and gets angry with me. It’s a shame but all I am doing is making us both miserable.

Today he will have his hair washed because I am taking him for a haircut and I will ask them to wash it and give him a shave too. At least that’s something.

You sound like you are doing a sterling job with your brother. Well done it’s tough.
 

Dunroamin

Registered User
May 5, 2019
259
0
UK
This will not asnwer the question but it hopefully offers a different perspective from the inside as it were (I have alzheimers)

I increasingly prevaricate regarding having a shower. IT is sometimes lunch time before I sort myself out - or indeed have to be reminded to have a shower. I hate actually getting in the shower and the water never seems to be the right temperature. I have difficulty with the controls. I hate getting dried and dressed afterwards and get muddled with clothing.

This is a woman who willingly plunges into an unheated outdoor unchlorinated spa pool on a nearly daily basis, and swims for over an hour at a time. I ask myself what the difference is. Well, a shower is something that has to be done and gives me no reward. A cold swim invigorates, is a social event and does me good. I do not have to get dressed afterwards - I use a swimming robe

A shower is a mere inconvenience disrupting both train of thought and routine. I don't expect people to understand - there is no sense or reasoning with many things these days.

Pre-diagnosis I showered with impunity.
 

tiredspouse

New member
Aug 31, 2021
7
0
This will not asnwer the question but it hopefully offers a different perspective from the inside as it were (I have alzheimers)

I increasingly prevaricate regarding having a shower. IT is sometimes lunch time before I sort myself out - or indeed have to be reminded to have a shower. I hate actually getting in the shower and the water never seems to be the right temperature. I have difficulty with the controls. I hate getting dried and dressed afterwards and get muddled with clothing.

This is a woman who willingly plunges into an unheated outdoor unchlorinated spa pool on a nearly daily basis, and swims for over an hour at a time. I ask myself what the difference is. Well, a shower is something that has to be done and gives me no reward. A cold swim invigorates, is a social event and does me good. I do not have to get dressed afterwards - I use a swimming robe

A shower is a mere inconvenience disrupting both train of thought and routine. I don't expect people to understand - there is no sense or reasoning with many things these days.

Pre-diagnosis I showered with impunity.
Thanks for sharing your perspective. That makes a lot of sense to me as my husband sometimes seems to be easier to convince in the afternoon to shower rather than the morning.