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How do I get Mum to have a bath?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Helsw6, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. Helsw6

    Helsw6 Registered User

    Jan 31, 2017
    I'm new to this site, and I'm hoping that someone can help me with a new challenge I have with my Mum who has started to refuse to have a bath. She has mixed Dementia and moved in to a part of our house that we have converted into a separate one bedroom flat 3 months ago. She's 88 and was diagnosed in january and until now has been relatively good, but in the last week she has deteriorated and after an incontinence episode on Sunday I just can't get her to have a bath and I don't trust her when she says that she had a full wash on Monday. Does anyone have any tips at all as to how I might persuade her because I'm really fretting about her hygiene
  2. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    Could it be that she is frightened of sitting down in the bath? Time was the only thing that solved this one for me, plus having a seat and a very hot bathroom, but before this I had to accept the situation and work around it. My mum would stand in the bath with bottom half clothes off and I was able to wash everything up to hips. On other days top half a flannel wash and I supervised it. Heating in bathroom is on all year round. It took about 6 months to get mum into the bath and only once a week. We did succeed with a shower, but she has recently gone against this so we are back to half wash and bath once a week. My mum is now incontinent and so when I change the pads or pull ups I use adult wipes.
  3. father ted

    father ted Registered User

    Aug 16, 2010
    This issue crops up fairly regularly.

    My Mum never bathed more than once a week anyhow. I am nearly 60 and when I was a teenager living at home I remember my Dad reprimanding me for having 2 baths in 3 days. I can still here him saying "Do you think I'm made of money!"

    Mum has not had a bath for about 3 months now but does have a strip wash at the sink. Fortunately we have no continence issues so no problem. Unless you can smell her or someone remarks on her hygiene I would not worry.
  4. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    This is very common. My mother in law hasn't had a bath since 2013 and hasn't washed her hair since at least 2014. She strip washes and won't allow carers to assist. She doesn't smell yet and it saves having to deal with aggression. I don't fret about it
  5. Aisling

    Aisling Registered User

    Dec 5, 2015

    Try not to fret too much about hygiene. You have done so much for your Mum. This is an area that becomes difficult for many people. Do you have any carers coming in to help you? We had one carer for OH for a very short period and he was brilliant but it all went downhill after him. All you can do is encourage and maybe use wet wipes?

    Father Teds post reminds me about my Dad. He constantly told us we would wash away all the oils in our skin!! In my opinion he had a valid point. Then there was the issue of switching on the immersion heater. Expensive. We became great at using basins and flannels! Latter of course we're boiled regularly. Each of us took charge of our own flannel.

    Am rambling again.....

    Virtual hugs

    Aisling xx
  6. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    #6 Pear trees, Aug 9, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
    This is very common, and there are a lot of helpful ideas in other threads. My 90 yearold mum has not had a shower or bath for over a year. The carers give her a strip wash most days, and use wash wipes on other days to freshen up, so she is clean and doesn't smell down below.
    Older people can remember when a bath was a major weekly or even fortnightly event involving heating water for a tin bath in front of the fire, and washing at the sink in the warm kitchen was normal, even when they had indoor bathrooms with hot running water.
    When I was a teenager in the 70's my mum thought I was 'stuck up' because I refused to stripwash in the kitchen and used the bathroom sink instead!
  7. Helsw6

    Helsw6 Registered User

    Jan 31, 2017
    Thank you everyone

    Thank you to everyone for all your comments, I feel a lot happier and will stop fretting so much. Everything that's been said makes so much sense and as long as I can see that she has been using her flannel I'll not fret. She does have to kneel in the bath, cannot sit down which makes it more of a challenge. When she moved in with us, we created an independent 1 bedroom flat for her with a shower room but she just doesn't like it and won't use it, I guess that's her generation, we're going to try putting a seat in it next, but in the meantime since I left this message asking for help, we've had a good few days and Mum even voluntarily had a bath yesterday evening....I don't yet need a carer to help, she's still managing and have thought about getting some wipes she can use as has been suggested...
    Thank you again I really appreciate your help, I'll keep persevering
  8. Philbo

    Philbo Registered User

    Feb 28, 2017
    Have you tried using a bath seat? Not allowed to recommend a specific product or supplier on here but if you google "bath seat" you'll see plenty of options.

    My wife doesn't like getting into a bath (or having her hair washed) so I only go into battle once a week (the remainder I use a combination of soap and flannel and wet wipes).

    It used to take a while to get her to sit down in the water so I got the seat (a small bench-like plastic one that has suction pads on the feet). I was then able to give her a wash and with the shower curtain pulled partway, wash her hair - just. You can get them in varying heights and the one I got adjusted for width too.

    More recently though, it's become a bit of a struggle getting her to sit down on the seat! So my latest ploy is to get in the bath with her (both standing) and wash her down and do her hair. She still protests - she is only 66 and physically able - but at least with the curtain fully across, I minimise the amount of mopping up the bathroom floor.

    I realise that this last option is probably not suitable for your situation but the seat may be? If you do think of buying one, shop around as the prices for identical products varies hugely. The one I got for £20, was for sale at over £50 on some sites!!

    Good luck.
  9. Moggymad

    Moggymad Registered User

    May 12, 2017
    #9 Moggymad, Aug 14, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
    Hi to encourage use of the shower you can get shower seats that attach to the wall & fold up after use. If it is the water falling on her all the time that she doesn't like, when seated the shower head could be positioned lower down or just used to rinse off. Good luck

    Hi Peartrees, not just the elderly remembering the good old tin bath in front of the fire! I'm 60 & it was a regular thing for me & my sister on a Sunday evening so we were 'clean' for school the next day. We shared the water so didn't like using it after my sister! I remember dad using it once but never my mum. I love bathrooms

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