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

    You can directly access this area >here<.

hygiene issues

seamble

Registered User
Jan 12, 2012
6
remember the powder

For people who are still able to turn on the washing machine, remember that they may have forgotten to put in the powder! Result clean looking but smelly clothing!
 

Giblet64

Registered User
Jul 25, 2013
4
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
I am going through exactly the same hygiene issues with my mother who has now been in a nursing home since January. Prior to her illness only a year ago she was actually quite obsessive about washing but now I find the opposite. However I have come to accept that if she doesn't want to wash etc then that is her choice. She is happy (as can be considering) and safe (most importantly). She is coming to no harm by smelling - in fact that is my problem not hers. So so sad and so hard. Nice to know we are not alone though.
 

Miss Polly

Registered User
Feb 12, 2014
66
I have now asked for help from SS. They send a carer to give Mum a shower once a week. The budget covers it. I cannot say how much this means to me. We don't have the arguments about showering. It was ruining our relationship. Such a stupid thing to argue about. She still hates having a shower but goes meekly with the carer. She has accidents, puts her clothes out to dry, and puts them on again. The smell is horrendous! Even soaking them in Napisan for hours doesn't seem to get rid of the smell.
 

sady

Registered User
Oct 7, 2010
6
kent
washing

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
hello, i used to go to Mum and Dads once a week, thought all was well, Mum seemed ok, thought the dementia was not too bad, but when i went up stairs, no idea why now, Mum was sleeping on the mattress with no sheets or protector, as these had worn away by being old and not washed, it one awful shock, my dad had covered every thing up and did not want to be a bother to me, its all so sad, Mum is now in a care home and i look after my dad, it was all too much for him
 

spuddle

Registered User
Mar 13, 2014
118
hells bells. your replies mean so much to me...I don't think I have advice but I am very grateful for you advice; it seems to get harder every day. JUST WHEN I THINK I AM GETTING USED TO THE DEMENTIA it seem to creep up in other ways. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR THOUGHTS AND INFO WITH THIS. I really appreciate it./ I FEEL SO VERY ALONE AND THANK YOU ALL FOR MAKING THIS LESS ABOUT ME AND MORE ABOUT THE HORRID DISEASE X
 

spuddle

Registered User
Mar 13, 2014
118
For people who are still able to turn on the washing machine, remember that they may have forgotten to put in the powder! Result clean looking but smelly clothing!
YEAH seamble. I know the machine goes on,,, but I also know I bought her washing powder ages ago.,.. which seems to be still full/ .... I feel very odd even suggesting that mam may not have put the washing powder in/ but the clothes come out a lot cleaner when I put a wash on. thanks x
 

Lindy50

Registered User
Dec 11, 2013
5,239
Cotswolds
I want to thank everyone for their caring and detailed posts on this thread. Personal care is my main worry with mum at the moment, though as someone implied, it's not worth ruining our relationship over. What concerns me really is that if mum goes around smelly and unkempt, she will be treated differently by other people. She won't have a clue why they don't seem to treat her with the respect they used to, and that is what I find most upsetting.

Thank you all so much for your tips and advice. It's going to take some while to establish a pattern whereby mum may accept some help (whether from me or from carers). But I don't think I could possibly have had better advice than I have had on TP.

Thank you all again :)

Lindy xx
 

AlsoConfused

Registered User
Sep 17, 2010
1,953
Earlier Whippets Rule asked if incontinence was inevitable as part of dementia. Reading the AS fact sheets suggests incontinence is very common during the later stages of dementia. I'd guess my Mum is at stage 5 or 6; she's been doubly incontinent for about a year.
 

Merewether

Registered User
Jun 19, 2014
2
My sister was always scrupulously clean and very smartly dressed but now I can't get her to shower or bath. I understand if she wears the same clothes as she doesn't remember what she had on yesterday but even if I run her a lovely soapy bath she refuses to get in. She says she showers but I know she doesn't. As someone else said she probably remembers showering regularly in days gone by! Not sure what to do. I've resorted to being harsh and saying she smells but she says she had better go to the doctor to see what is wrong with her to make her smell!
 

karmabarb

Registered User
May 8, 2014
4
hygiene

I have had this prob for 2 years. i did get my mother into a day centre that bathed her once a week, but she hated it and i had to stop it this year. Now she is back to not washing. she has recently decided not to go to the hairdressers and now her hair is not being washed. she does not wash her clothes, change her bed etc, and that has been going on for ages!! I find it very difficult to make her get undressed to get her clothes to take and wash. she huffs and puffs if i get her to change her bed. she is 91 and very strong character!! I have bought shampoo and am going to try and get her to wash her hair!!!! i need luck!! it is not enjoyable. she wont accept help from anyone. she lives on her own and i am the only one that does everything for her!! to me there is no answer!! i am her daughter, i have had a new knee op and things havent been done for a while and no-one helped me!! carers is a big no no. even the gardener is not turning up now and not replying!! she can get quite nasty
 

1954

Registered User
Jan 3, 2013
3,835
Sidcup
MIL lives with us but when she lived in her flat she never washed etc like others have already said and the smell was awful. Now she's with us I 'make' her have a strip wash in the evening and we get a bowl for her feet. If she refuses (hardly ever now) I threaten with her son (my hubby) coming in to help her and she quickly complies!

As for showers I have given up. It was so stressful for her and me. She gets showered or bathed in respite and as long as she doesn't smell or the house I have resigned myself to this routine
 

halojones

Registered User
May 7, 2014
438
getting clean

My mum got really unkempt and smelly, it really is part of the illness. Also I realised it is too painfull and confusing for her to do it herself any more. So what I do is every morning I get mum to wash her face,etc etc at the sink and i present her with clean clothes to put on. I wash and dry her hair once a week, she does complain a bit, but I do it really quickly telling mum it will be quick. I got a bath\shower chair,and once a month I prepare the bathroom,I put towels in the tumble dryer and warm them up,then I call mum in the bathroom, get her to undress(she does protest a bit,she told me she doesn't like to be cold and naked)and cover her in warm towels.I keep telling her its a quick shower to reassure her,and i do it as quick as possible,always keeping mum in warm towels( the bathroom and towels are in a total mess after,but its only once a month)it is daunting and I have to kinda pluck up the courage,but after when she is all clean and fluffy it is so worth it.I was devastated when mum was that smelly old lady!!. Not anymore!! We have a nice cuppa and cake after as well...
 

Bellabella

Registered User
Jan 24, 2013
4
Essex
Self employed live in carer

Just thought I would add something to this. The lady I have been caring for - for 2 years flatly refuses to get into the shower and sometimes reacts with aggression, scratching and hitting.

She insists that she has had a shower and refuses any help. Each week we have the exact same issue and each week she always has her shower in the end. I find that talking softly sometimes helps and also reminding her that she has never been a lazy person (which puffs her ego) and smelling beautiful will make her feel better.

Once in the shower I gently wash her neck and back , bum legs and feet whilst she is facing the other way. Then I pass her the sponge with soap on and I gently remind her the order of things - face armpits, under boobs belly and mini, front of legs. Then I say you are all tikkety boo lets get dressed.

I make sure I have laid out fresh clothes for her on the ottoman and have warm fresh towels. If I don't lay out fresh clothes she would wear the same ones forever. She has been known to put clothes back into the wardrobe that are dirty. Pockets full of tissues and bits of food.

Every week it is the same and every week we get there in the end. I try to preserve her dignity by stepping back and letting her do as much as possible for herself. The part of her that was an astute business woman in her day knows I am trying to assist her and it can be difficult when you are regarded with daily disdain and called 'the girl', however I find this easy not to take too personally as I realise that she needs to do this to retain her pride. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to have an actual family member with this, to have the degree of separation as a professional must be easier.
 

kkerr

Registered User
Dec 28, 2011
93
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
I have EXACTLY the same issue with my Mom. She moved into a CH only 6 weeks ago, prior to this - I was struggling to get her to wash (she lived at home with me) and we managed sort of every other day-ish. One of the "pros" on my list for actually making the care home move- is that I would no longer have to be responsible for the showering/clothes changing and Mom and I would no longer have to fight over this issue leaving our time together to do more pleasant things. WRONG! The care home are unable to get her wash! SO... every visit (usually 2-3x/week) I have to get her in the shower, so again, there is yelling, slapping, hair pulling, pinching (all her NOT me), I am usually soaked by the end and exhausted and just want to go back home. Am so worried that Mom will see my visits as horrible experiences as she has to shower.

Has anyone else noticed this ... Mom will fight tooth and nail to NOT take her clothes off for a shower, but once in .... happily washing away (I have to assist to ensure that shampoo actually ends up in her hair and soap on her body). It seems that once she is IN the shower, she understands the plan, but when asking her to get undressed for the shower, she has no idea what I want and gets very aggressive/combative etc. I have tried running the shower whilst asking her, hoping the prompt will help her understand. But that has only resulted in her in the shower fully clothed.

A few helpful hints I have come across/discovered along the way:
1) For those that can still dress themselves - whilst in the shower/bath - take the old clothes away, but them in a laundry basket OUTSIDE of the persons room (so they cannot be put back on), put a fresh set of clothes in their place.

2) My mom is now horrified by the thought of deodorant, think it feels cold on her skin - so I use the spray stuff - and I SPRAY HER CLOTHES! Sometimes just before she puts them on, if I with her when showering, sometimes I take them out of her drawer, spray them and put them back in. Helps with the overall odour issue.

3) Dry shampoo - that Bastiste stuff can help in a pinch. A wash down with a cloth and then dry shampoo can save the day.

Good Luck!
 

snoggy1one

Registered User
Jun 4, 2012
86
Manchester
Just wanted to join in on this .... as I have been there and got the t shirt on this one.!!

My mum goes through phases when she will not shower or wash so I get her to cleanh her face and hands with wipes. She complained about having dry skin so I bought her lovely moisturising cream that helped for a while as she hated the dry feeling she got after washing.

With regard to not changing clothes, I sometimes invent extra spillages on the back her clothes that 'she cannot see and say she has sat on something in order 'to get her change her clothes and then take out another blouse out of mum's wardrobe and pretend its new and ask her to see if the 'new top' fits before I lose the receipt and have to get it back to the shop before it closes. I have even said that I would like to try her top on as I was thinking of buying one for myself and needed to see if it fitted me and asked her to wear another one then put the dirty one in the laundry. At times you have to become a trickster as well as miracle worker to improve hygiene situations.

Its hard to think of reasons to persuade somebody to have a shower or change their clothes when you do not want to invade their personal choice. I bought some lovely shower gel in mum's favourite perfume and then let her smell it and then sometimes she agrees to freshen up. It is a struggle at times but you have to try all angles to get around the hygiene problems best you can.

Hope you find your way through it somehow.
 

suelou

Registered User
Mar 22, 2014
5
Manchester
Washing -

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
Hi Spuddle,

I too am new to this - my husband has just been diagnosed with AZ. At the moment he insists of sleeping with all his clothes on because he says, it is quicker for in the morning. He will not wear pjs. His washing habits have changed - he was always so fastidious and stuck to a routine but not anymore. I actually had to force him in a nice way, to have a bath which gave me an opportunity to put all his clothes in the was! It just seems so strange that he is like this!

Regards Sue
 

PinkyPig

Registered User
Aug 30, 2014
5
I realise that although I have the same problem with my mother not showering, I am at least lucky in that if I get some fresh clothes out for her she willingly changes into them and I can get the dirty stuff washed. I find it easiest to bring the wash away with me, do it at home and bring it back on the next visit. In fact reading some of the posts in this thread, I realise that I'm lucky that my mother doesn't put up any resistance to anything I suggest to her.

My father is the primary carer for my mother and he has mobility issues himself due to arthritis. He would persuade my mother to shower with him by saying she needed to help him in and out of the bath. I've now bought them a swivel shower chair and both seem to really like using it (having been very wary at first), and my mother who hadn't showered for a couple of weeks had 2 showers in 3 days. Fingers crossed the novelty doesn't wear off too quickly.
 

WarwickCV

Registered User
Jun 29, 2013
12
Warwick
Just us

Hygene Isuues



Helpful comments from all, thanks. My wife has AZ. Refuses to bath and shower but does wash - sort of. I organise my own ablutions around hers so I can gently 'supervise' and suggest things. My wife would sleep and live in the same clothes all the time but I keep a constant check on them and get items to the washing m/c before any chance of resistance. Under arm protection etc I always have to hand. Most time the system works but it's a struggle and a wearing one at that

I am sure my wife has lost her sense of smell and losing sense of appropriateness in dressing. So I try and put things out for her as she dresses and not give too much choice; it only seems to confuse. Continence pants are necessary, for night time really and it is a job to get her to understand why she needs to change them and wash afterwards. All this such a change form a year or two ago

The lessons are I think that I have to take charge of her welfare. Give her as much choice as is workable but in the end I need to determine ways how you can it all work. She can't.
 

shark2

Registered User
Aug 22, 2012
136
n ireland
My mum is the same. Tells me she washes but the face cloth is bone dry. Took her to Florida on hols and got a villa with walk in shower for her. Of course she wouldn't sleep in this bedroom and the bathroom beside her had a shower over the bath. My mother walks with a rollater and is quite immobile. When I said about showering she told me she showered every morning. :rolleyes::rolleyes: So she climbed into the bath and out again without help.....I don't think so. Eventually me and son got her talked round and we got her to shower 3 times max on hol. It was quite funny because she had a plaster on her leg which was always bone dry even though she ' had just showered.' Everytime she disappeared into the bathroom the general comment was ' granny must be away for another shower again.' :rolleyes::rolleyes: sometimes all you can do is laugh.
 

davenlizthegirl

Registered User
Jul 24, 2013
7
UK
Wish I knew the answer. My wife, who used to be so fastidious about her personal hygiene and appearance, has not had a shower or bath for at least a couple of months and goes to bed in her day clothes and underwear, which never get changed unless there has been a very bad spill down them or some kind of accident and this is very rare. Amazingly, the other day she had her first hair wash for ages and allowed me to help her. Interestingly, the last shower she had was when I left her with a carer who was most surprised when she had a good response to her suggestion of a shower, but that was very much of a one-off. One thing that I think is true is that there seems to be a natural resistance to me, the ever-present close husband/carer, suggesting anything. But daughters, sisters in law and other carers, have all met with the same negative response. I really just do not know what to do........ and am not sure how much of a real health problem this is. Grateful for any thoughts?
 

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
114,952
Messages
1,681,255
Members
65,954
Latest member
Romf