Hygiene and Personal Care

JWharton

Registered User
Feb 3, 2016
2
Hello,

I wanted to start by saying 'thank you' for all of the information that has been posted on this forum. My husband and I have known that my father-in-law has dementia for approximately a year and feel that we need to start taking more action. Your threads have been a really big help so far.

One of the areas I have not read a lot of information about is 'personal hygiene' and I wondered whether anyone has any experience that they can share?

My father in law has not been bathing for some time now and as he is a smoker and does not leave the house, this is neither pleasant for us - nor can I imagine deep down, for him.

We have tried to broach the subject on a number of occasions - in a number of different ways and would both welcome advice on this. We also wondered whether his decision to stop cleaning and dressing himself is linked to his condition or is something else entirely?

We'd both be grateful for your thoughts and comments

Jo & Chris
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,732
This was my first real sign that my Ma was struggling.
I fought it for a while and then decided the best way forward was a carer once a day to help with personal care - she didn't want showers or baths but the carer was wonderful at sorting out strip washes and a bit of pampering lol and she managed successfully to keep clean. This was helped enormously by the continence service (google the continence service at your local NHS trust) and the wonderful nurses. They provided pads which the carer sorted out in the morning and i sorted in the evening and that kept mum clean and happy and fresh!!

You might also want to consider getting your dad into a lunch club or day centre (they often do showers etc) and it is a good way of keeping people living independently for longer.

You can get lots of info like this from your local carers cafe with a great deal of face to face support and info on local services (the good and the bad) which you can't get anywhere else.

Hope this helps a bit x
 

JWharton

Registered User
Feb 3, 2016
2
Thank you both this is really helpful. My father-n-law has lived on his own for a long time so over the years we have just known him as 'one of those bachelors' if you know what I mean!

He never was overly mindful of his personal hygiene so its really helpful to learn that this really is linked to his condition, which was probably diagnosed at a much later stage than it manifested anyway.

I don't think right now it is about fear of water, but we'll certainly look into this more and the links are really helpful.

I'm considering going around on a Saturday and simply following the steps of running him a bath in the hope he'll get in. He hate waste so i hope this will ensure he has a clean and we can take it from there. At the moment its non-stop verbal-sparring and I could really do without it!

If anyone thinks we really shouldnt do this, I'd be really interested to hear your views.

Thanks again

Jo & Chris
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,732
I can't see any reason why you shouldn't do it but it might not work and many of us who have lived in the 'world of dementia' have found that logical steps do not work and verbal sparring really doesn't and just stresses out both sides. I think sometimes people find it easier to accept help from a formal carer but meanwhile have a look at this

This leaflet on compassionate communication is very useful - I found it very hard to master but I stuck it on my fridge to remind me every day and it really does work

Do have a look at it
http://www.ocagingservicescollaborative.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Compassionate-Communication-with-the-Memory-Impaired.pdf
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,619
USA
I don't know if there is anything here that might help:

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=155

But it couldn't hurt to have a look.

Others here have reported success with:

-having a member of the family help with the bathing

-NOT having a member of the family help with the bathing (especially if there are modesty/opposite gender issues)

-having a paid carer, in uniform

-using the facilities at day care or another facility

-trying a shower instead of a bath, or the other way around

-giving up on showering or tub baths and just doing strip washes/sink washes

I think it can be difficult to identify the barriers to hygiene. Best of luck to you!
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
My FIL would only ever have a bath - he wouldn't shower - if OH was there to run the bath first, without asking him, and tell him firmly but nicely that it was high time. FIL would never do it for me, no matter how nicely I suggested it. I think he had an innate 'thing' that he could never do anything a woman was trying to get him to do.
Unfortunately, at the time my OH was often away for two or three weeks at a time...

If you also have trouble with getting him to wear clean clothes, the only way I found was to have a clean set ready, watch like a hawk for when he went to the loo first thing, charge in and replace. I only did it maybe once a week, but that was usually enough at that stage. Again, he would never change his clothes if a mere woman suggested it. He never noticed my lightning replacements, but then he was never bothered about what he wore anyway.