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hygiene issues


Registered User
Mar 13, 2014
Bracknell area

Same here.

She needs daily help now, because if she isnt washing it will be almost certain that she isnt:

1. brushing her teeth, her teeth will start to fall out/toothache
2. wiping and washing her bottom, leads to infections (eg my dad got thrush)
3. changing her clothes,bedding,night clothes
4. meds

Unless she has this it is looking like "neglect" (not you personally, but her community as a whole)

Probably you cannot give that help every, so you need to visit your GP in order to get a referral by GP to social services. (dont wait for them to be proactive, they wont, go without her you can speak to GP yourself since your mother has Alz)

SS will assess her, and will help you locate and coordinate a daily carer to come in.

We have one every morning.

I worried so much and felt sick at even introducing the idea, but then I just did it, and it is all great the carers are usually wonderful, cheery and empathetic. One advantage is you have a second pair of eyes to help you pick up on when things get worse, so you dont miss things, and can be proactive.


1. Ask your local Age Concern to help you fill in the form for attendance allowance which should give her some non means tested money approx 40 quid towards the carer

2. If you havn't got LPA's finance and health , get one fast, suggest to pay a solicitor since this is so much easier and you will thank your lucky stars you did it.


Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
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
I feel for you, Karmabarb: my mum also lives alone, won't hear of moving anywhere else, and we live in different counties. I do have a sibling but since he does sweet FA, I'm in effect an only child where care is concerned. After ferocious battles we now have carers who come in and she goes to day care twice a week. What I want to say is, try to persist with the carers if you can. They are used to the situation and can have the patience and professional detachment to cope with your mum's rejection, whereas it can be much more upsetting for you. It's taken many months for my mother to accept her carers, but now things are running reasonably smoothly...except for the hygiene issue! Her main carer had a lovely unthreatening way of washing Mum's hair with a flannel, but now even that is rejected. Mum smells dreadful as she is incontinent and has stopped washing herself. When I go to visit and stay over, I get up in the morning and make her some breakfast. While she's eating it I sneak upstairs and strip her bed and gather up all the clothes she's been wearing recently (she puts the same ones on, over and over). In stripping the bed I often find soiled pants hidden away, and also some soaking in buckets in the bath (she seems to have stopped using the washing machine and gone back to hand washing, at 86. :rolleyes:). I just grab everything I can, and wash it.

I've tried buying her Tena lady (she used to use them in the past) and she just throws them in a corner of the bedroom with a look of contempt. I worry in case the other old people at the day centre reject her for being smelly - that would be so sad, because she loves going there. At present I'm trying to get some modifications to her bathroom to see if that will make things any easier - she has artificial knees and doesn't like stepping over things, like the edge of the bath. Perhaps if she can just walk in, I might find it a bit easier to lead her there... but I'm not over optimistic.


Registered User
Mar 13, 2014
hello, I have put my detective hat on to find out why mam is so smelly. firstly I kept checking on the bath soap, moving it and seeing if it had been used.. no it hadn't. yesterday I was going to take her out for a meal. persuaded her to change her top (been wearing it all week), then with lots of huffing and puffing I got her to go to the bathroom to wash her armpits before putting new clothes on. peeking round the door to check I watched her swiftly rub a DRY flannel over her armpits. I 'accidentally' walked in on her and jokingly said that's not much use. so I fill the basin with water, wet the flannel and put some soap on and physically lifted her arms up to wash her stinky pits (I felt absolutely awful doing this). this prompted lots of squealing ... ugh its wet, I don't like soap. I don't really know how to get round this. however much I wash her clothes, if she is not washing they will still smell. I suppose she will have forgotten this so maybe I will do the same again.
it felt so horrible doing this... im sure she had to do this to me when I was a child but it doesn't make it any easier

Y Ddraig

Registered User
May 31, 2012
N Wales
Hi Spuddle

I do feel for you, and know exactly what you mean. My BIL is now in a care home, but prior to him being sectioned he had completely let all his personal care go out of the window.

He wouldn't wash or bathe and when he was sectioned, they would be lucky to get him in the bath 1x per week. It was not good. Likewise, he stopped brushing his teeth - which is much harder to take control of.

He moved into a care home after his section/time in the Psych unit and they had a contract which he had to 'sign up' to - which included washing etc daily. He was soo desperate to be out of the hospital, he was eager to sign up. I can't tell you it was easy, but they persevered with him and now he is aligned in a new routine, so is much more amenable.

Would there be any way to get into a similar routine with your mum? I appreciate it is not nice for you, but might get easier with time?

Teeth is a bigger worry. We have finally managed to get my BIL seen by a dentist as his teeth are shocking and his brushing is pretty haphazard. He doesn't understand what chewing gum is for and would swallow mouthwash, so we haven't had any success with other things that might help. As a consequence he has now got to go to the hospital for extractions and fillings. It will be very sad, but what to do.

Best of luck x