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hygiene issues

spuddle

Registered User
Mar 13, 2014
118
I haven't seen it mentioned here or anywhere else about hygiene problems with alzheimers. so im wondering if this is part of the disease or something else going on.
my mum has recently become very smelly. she bathes every day but whenever I see her she smells (B.O armpits). I couldn't understand it as she always had her clothes neatly laid out in her bedroom. I finally realized that these neatly laid out clothes weren't getting washed and really smelt very bad.
after strong hints weren't getting through I have started to be really blunt with her, telling her to change her clothes and wash her armpits. I don't like to do this but I don't want her to be 'that old stinky lady' that people talk about. ive even put the offending items of clothing under her nose to smell and she doesn't seem to think its bad. I now also put her washing in each time I go round. she always gets in a bit of a huff about me doing it but as we know, she soon forgets.

has anyone else experienced this. she is recently diagnosed (about 2mth) and I am still finding my feet here
 

LoriAustralia

Registered User
Jul 31, 2014
19
Australia
I have just recently put a similar thread on here asking for anyone that had been in the same situation. It is so hard for me to ask my mum to jump into the shower but taking her out smelly and seeing her in the same clothes does not roll with me. I have just started making more of a push to get her in the shower and ask my dad when I leave to make sure she gets in. I have noticed that her house is starting to get that old people's house smell and have noticed she doesn't do laundry if not at all. So going to start getting on to that from now on. She has this tiny twin tub washer that's a bit daunting ( a bit selfish I know) but it must be done. I was going to talk to dad about silver chain a home nurse help once a week and still couldn't do that. I hate the thought of me having to encroach on their private life but feel he needs help he just isn't asking for it which I would rather he ask then I would not feel pushy. My mum has never worn deodorant and does nt like it. Summer is coming up soon here and the weather has just started getting hotter. Look out BO! I think I am going to have to get tougher too :p
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,304
66
Toronto, Canada
The failing to wash and wearing the same clothes for days is very common. Are you certain she bathes every day? It's a really difficult and stressful stage for everyone.
 

Lindy50

Registered User
Dec 11, 2013
5,239
Cotswolds
I am another one struggling with this issue :eek:

I have noticed that mum has barely changed her clothes for months. I can't easily wash anything as I'd have to book into the communal laundry in her building (and there is currently nothing in her laundry basket, so I'd literally be getting the clothes off her back). Also she is unable to get into her bath even though she has an electric bath seat - she can't operate it any more. She doesn't have a separate shower so has a strip wash daily - or did do until recently :( Mum has quite poor mobility and this has been the case since well before she had dementia.

When I went today, the place was fairly honking, and I couldn't work out exactly the source. Only on the way home did it occur to me that maybe mum had had 'accidents' in her bed or chair, and may have covered them up or hidden the evidence. Oh dear!! I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with this, but deal with it I must. As Lori says, I don't want mum to be regarded as an unkempt, neglected, smelly old lady :eek:

So....any ideas other than being upfront with mum, finding the charger for her bath seat and insisting I help her use it, would be gratefully received.

This is all so difficult :(

Good luck everyone :)

Lindy xx
 

lizzybean

Registered User
Feb 3, 2014
1,366
Lancashire
My MIL doesn't change very often but luckily for me is very compliant so I just ask her to change every so often & I just take the clothes home with me & add them to my wash. Same with bedding, I just change the bed when I think I can get away with it & take it home.
That means I can do her laundry at my leisure instead of having to do it at her house. I am lucky that I live a couple of miles away & see her daily. At the moment she is strip washing but I posted a thread recently wondering if I should start showering her once a week to get her into the habit for when that stops.

Are you sure she is bathing? They will tell you that they are because they remember that they used to (if that makes sense)
 

susy

Registered User
Jul 29, 2013
801
North East
My dad gets a shower every morning and he really enjoys his morning shower he told me the other day. He actually has a care come in twice a week to help him in the shower and cannot do it himself. We have to remove his clothes so he doesn't put them on again and occasionally sleeps in his t short from the day before or is wearing his pj top from the night before. My mum has a problem if she tries to get him to change it, I on the other hand just bring down the new item of clothing and say "your top needs changing" and simply help with the task in hand. No idea if it's my different approach or just he is more compliant with me.
So basically, is she really getting a wash on a daily basis? Or does she just believe she is. To my dad him showering every day is an absolute truth.
 

tealover

Registered User
Sep 8, 2011
168
This is a problem that we currently have.

Mum is in CH now and we have meeting with them this week to look at some of these issues. She constantly refuses to shower - assisted or not. This has been going on for a little while now, prior to the home, whilst in hospital she had a bath probably around 3 times. Prior to hospital, she was showering less and less - she used to say she had strip down washes.

I have offered so many times, even to the point of bribery and corruption lol!! But she adamantly refuses. Currently the reason is that her bathroom is much nicer and she will shower at home.

Changing of clothes is also an issue - will go for days in the same clothes and sleep in them too - and when the Carers have tried to get her to change into her nightie, she has asked them "whose room is this?" and when they have said Yours, her answer is "exactly, so please leave!!"

It is getting to the point of being one of those worries that disturbs sleep, I have offered to take her out for coffee and cake and a ride, if she will have a shower and fresh clothes. But nothing works. However, I am getting to the point where I need to say to them, this is your responsibility.......I don't want her memories of me to begin to fade whilst we are locked in battle about bathing and clothes.

Its a horrid horrid thing, my Mum would be mortified.

Bless you all x
 

Sue J

Registered User
Dec 9, 2009
8,035
Hi Spuddle

Bear in mind your Mum possibly/probably has lost her sense of smell and even if it is not lost it may be intermittent. She is not aware that she smells and can't smell what you smell. If washing is an effort, from a cognitive perspective i.e. she's lost the sense of the steps required it is easier not to do it and if she smells OK (to her) there is no need to.

How about getting some nice bubble bath for her as a treat and see if that might help. I would try and ignore the huffs, not mention why you are doing it, but just get on and put the washing on. If you mention it is because she smells it will make it much harder to accept you doing the washing. If you do it quietly she may just get into the habit of you doing it and be happy about that.

I try and put strong fragrances around sometimes to try and restimulate my sense of smell. It affects how and what food you enjoy too:(
Hope it helps
Best wishes
Sue
 

Lindy50

Registered User
Dec 11, 2013
5,239
Cotswolds
Interesting post Sue :)

I think you're right, if I could just get on with the laundry, I would. But as there's none to be found, it's a different matter. Plus, with mum's mobility problems, maybe I'm best approaching it that way, ie she physically can't get into the bath so needs assistance. Worth a try anyway ;)

Also interesting that if her sense of smell has changed, this may be part of the reason why her appetite is so poor.....

Thank you so much for the ideas, Sue :)

Lindy xx
 

Sue J

Registered User
Dec 9, 2009
8,035
I think you're right, if I could just get on with the laundry, I would. But as there's none to be found, it's a different matter. Plus, with mum's mobility problems, maybe I'm best approaching it that way, ie she physically can't get into the bath so needs assistance. Worth a try anyway ;)

Also interesting that if her sense of smell has changed, this may be part of the reason why her appetite is so poor.....
Hi Lindy
Maybe you could take her a couple of new sets of clothes and then when you subsequently go say something like 'How did you find the new clothes, are they comfortable? Let me wash them first time for you though as I want to know they'll shrink in the wash' or something like that. I have bought my friend new clothes and some similar/same as mine so when I wear it it triggers her to think that she also has one as she may comment on it, I have seen hers reappear soon after too, on her!

I would try saying 'whilst I'm here let me run you the bath' get it nice and warm, towels warmed up and if you manage to get her in you can have a bit more of a look for things whilst she's bathing too;) but hope you find the charger first! A friend I lost several years ago now gave her charger away to the electrician who came from the council to fix a smoke alarm or something. When I realised what had happened I called him and he said 'I knew it wasn't mine, but she insisted I take it because she was adamant it wasn't hers', I was thankful to get it back and of course she didn't recognize it- it had been something that had been bought for her and she didn't use it other than sit on the bath seat so didn't understand what it did at all.

Hope you find a way, I'm sure you will:)
Love
Suexx
 

cragmaid

Registered User
Oct 18, 2010
7,941
North East England
When all else fails with showering/bathing....use wet wipes......and make sure clothes are changed and washed by grabbing them and putting the in the washer not the laundry basket.
I found " Oh Mum, there's a great dirty mark on the back of your jumper) (AKA eye shadow off my finger or similar) worked, for as long as Mum could see, after that it was dead easy to blame the "mark".
I also got to the point where I would say to her how many days she had worn something and tell her outright that they smelled.
 

Lindy50

Registered User
Dec 11, 2013
5,239
Cotswolds
Excellent ideas, thanks guys :)

I think my first moves are to

1 find the charger and charge it up
2 order a new one (hopefully the make is still available) if it's gone walkabout
3 test that it still works on the bath seat
4 order some new clothes (she's already refused to do this this with me, says she doesn't need any)
5 give her the new clothes well before her birthday in October
6 somehow get her in the bath within the next month
7 hopefully build bathing or washing into a care visit routine

And if I achieve all that it'll be a miracle! But hey! At least now I have a coherent plan, rather than sitting and worrying....

TP to the rescue again :) Thank you so much everyone :)

Lindy xx
 
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lizzybean

Registered User
Feb 3, 2014
1,366
Lancashire
I started a thread like I said, asking whether I should start trying to shower MIL once a week (she strip washes & doesn't smell) & I only got 1 reply , which was the reply I was expecting which was yes.

I just need to pluck up the courage now.......
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
60,903
68
Dundee
I started a thread like I said, asking whether I should start trying to shower MIL once a week (she strip washes & doesn't smell) & I only got 1 reply , which was the reply I was expecting which was yes.

I just need to pluck up the courage now.......
Lizzybean I'm sorry you seemed to get only one reply to your own thread. I hope the suggestions given in this thread help.

Good luck. x
 

Lindy50

Registered User
Dec 11, 2013
5,239
Cotswolds
I started a thread like I said, asking whether I should start trying to shower MIL once a week (she strip washes & doesn't smell) & I only got 1 reply , which was the reply I was expecting which was yes.

I just need to pluck up the courage now.......
Actually lizzy, mum has been strip washing for a year or more. She has been okay up til recently, and did change her clothes regularly.

The current situation has only been building up over the last couple of months, so that I now have no choice really. Poor mum :( It would be great if you could pre-empt this with your MIL. Good luck :)

Lindy xx
 

susy

Registered User
Jul 29, 2013
801
North East
Can I ask the wisdom of others on here, how often should a person have a full wash? My dad isn't incontinent but does dribble a bit into his pully ups and isn't to clever at wiping up the behind properly. I would say daily but is that too much. At the moment he gets carers twice a week to shower him. I don't think this is enough and he does enjoy a shower. My mum asked him if he would accept a female carer helping him but he refused (I still can't get over her asking him!!) of course he would refuse, I mean he doesn't need the male carers so why would he want a female. My mum can't manage to help him so it's now going to have to be down to me. I can't get in every day as I work lots of hours. More than full time. But if I don't do it then it won't be done.

So bottom line, how much is enough?
 

Sue J

Registered User
Dec 9, 2009
8,035
Can I ask the wisdom of others on here, how often should a person have a full wash? My dad isn't incontinent but does dribble a bit into his pully ups and isn't to clever at wiping up the behind properly. I would say daily but is that too much. At the moment he gets carers twice a week to shower him. I don't think this is enough and he does enjoy a shower. My mum asked him if he would accept a female carer helping him but he refused (I still can't get over her asking him!!) of course he would refuse, I mean he doesn't need the male carers so why would he want a female. My mum can't manage to help him so it's now going to have to be down to me. I can't get in every day as I work lots of hours. More than full time. But if I don't do it then it won't be done.

So bottom line, how much is enough?
So bottom line
I would say twice a day, nether regions, minimum. Shower twice a week is enough but if he enjoys it and it's not a problem then daily I would say - others may think differently.
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
11,891
London
My OH is doubly incontinent and has a shower every morning as he wets at night, and every time he is poo-incontinent. I also ask him to wipe his nether regions down before going to bed to get rid of the smell.
If he wasn't incontinent it wouldn't bother me if he didn't shower for a couple of days but with incontinence it's important to be clean not only for the smell but also to avoid infected skin or rashes.
It's not such a strange question about female carers. My OH actually prefers females around him and all his sitters are female.
 

Oxy

Registered User
Jul 19, 2014
955
Once the routine is established I found it gets easier. When refusing a strip wash, I found it best to leave it and grasping the moment later when maybe needing a change or indeed when they go to the toilet, 'shall we do a quick wash'. I use the 'you don't want another UTI do you or remind of the nasty fall with UTI and that we were lucky then but it could be a hip next'. I find below waist am and at bedtime with cream to prevent skin being attacked by urine. This is always accompanied by fresh undies/pad. I get the look each time but it's almost like that is also part of routine! Rest of body once a day. Interesting about loss of smell being a commonality. It takes time but I found it gets better -having said that I've just had a refusal!