Issues with having bathroom converted!

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Kikki21, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. Kikki21

    Kikki21 Registered User

    Feb 27, 2016
    East Midlands
    My mum is 88 & lives on her own.

    She has lots of physical issues & has been diagnosed with mixed dementia - Alzheimers & vascular dementia which are getting worse.

    She had Occupational Health come round some time ago now & they recommended that her bathroom was changed to make a shower with a chair as she has a bath & cannot get into the bath unaided. Initially she agreed to this but has become very irate saying that she can manage (we know that she can't) - she got very angry when the man came round to start the ball rolling measuring up & taking details from her - I'm now not sure that this will be the best thing for her.

    The work will take approximately 10 days to complete & during that time she won't have use of the bathroom. She needs the toilet several times a day - there seems to be nothing wrong with her bladder etc, she has had numerous tests, she just needs to go very often. She would have to go into respite care while the work is done, with her refusal to even try day care, we would have a huge battle on our hands to get her to go. It's extremely difficult to even get her to leave her house these days so I'm not sure whether to just leave it.

    I have to think of the practicalities too & as I'm her only child & the house would be left to me,but if the house is sold within 5 years then we would also have to pay some of the money back to the LA for having the bathroom converted.
    It is a bungalow so they are well sought after but the house needs to be modernised everywhere which would decrease the sale value anyway.
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    If you decide to go ahead with the changes get a letter from her GP saying the work needs to be done because of her dementia. If you do this the builder will not charge you VAT. That saved me £600 last year.
  3. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    #3 jugglingmum, Jun 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2017
    There is every chance the house will have to be sold to fund her care at some stage anyway so I think the bigger issue is can she cope with the changes and will she even use the shower.
  4. Rachael81

    Rachael81 Registered User

    I wish my mum's LA would entertain the idea of converting hers, they keep saying a strip wash is sufficient - I'd like to know how many of them would be happy doing that long term?

    MERENAME Registered User

    Jun 4, 2013
    Mums was converted to a wetroom last year and it has been great. It took two plumbers one day to do it followed by half a day to do the flooring. Six days sounds like a very long time.
  6. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    Hi this sounds very much like the situation that exists with my mother-in-law .About 5 years ago she had a fall before she was officially diagnosed with mixed dementia. The occupational therapist recommended at the time that either the bathroom was converted to a type of wet room with shower or that a swivel seat be installed on the bath to assist her. Mother-in-law is self funding and initially we did not have power of attorney over her finances and she would not pay for any work to the bathroom nor would she tolerate any workman in the home to do the work correctly.
    We had employed carers to help out with personal care and we decided to have the swivel seat put in after the occupational therapists recommendation. The idea was that a carer could assist her in the bathroom with the shower head . She has always refused help and eventually she felt the swivel seat was too much hassle and we had it removed. She kept complaining about her hair not being washed in spite of the carer offering to wash it but when it came to the crunch she never allowed the carer to wash her or her hair. She was eventually diagnosed with dementia in 2015 with the carers already in place but to this day we still have the same issue over bathing and hair washing in fact her hair hasn't been washed for about 5 years she's simply brushes it. We tried to get her to a Day Centre that provided a bathing service and initially she seems quite keen but again when it came to actually doing the bath the same scenario and she refused it .

    We eventually obtained power of attorney but we still have the same issue over wether it is worth the hassle of altering the bathroom. I still think the shower is a major issue for her she is 91 and she simply does not wish anyone to see her naked. At the present time she can wash herself of sorts and we have left it as this for the moment otherwise she becomes extremely angry and agitated.
  7. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    How often does she take or want to take a bath? My mum takes a bath once a week with my help, we have an inflatable bath seat, but she cannot use this on her own. The rest of the week she stands in the bath while I shower her down, sometimes I only shower her lower parts. This kind of daily washing only happens because of incontinence.

    It does sound like a lot of disruption for an elderly lady with Dementia who prefers a bath to a shower, and I have to say the chances of her using new style bathroom may be nil. Is there any chance you can assist her with a bath just once a week? If it does not work then you can go ahead with bathroom alterations, knowing you have tried everything.
  8. Kikki21

    Kikki21 Registered User

    Feb 27, 2016
    East Midlands
    Thank you for the replies.

    Firstly my mum cannot get into the bath unaided so someone has to help her get in & then she can sit on her bathseat across the bath but obviously there is a risk to her falling and/or & hurting the carer. I can't do it as i have issues with my neck & it is also a very stressful situation.

    My mum's legs are very weak after 3 hip replacements, she is very unsteady on her feet anyway & her legs are swollen.

    As she is not bathing properly, she is getting sores in her groin area which the carers are rubbing Sudocrem into & that helps but I think if her hygiene was better then she wouldn't be so sore.

    Even if her bathroom is converted then she would need to be supervised with having a shower but that's not an issue when she has carers 4 times a day.

    I don't the conversion should take 10 days myself but they would need to remove flooring & tiling as well as the bath so they are allowing that length of time. My mum's bathroom is fully tiled though & she will complain about the work for months for sure.

    Nobody really knows how long she can continue to live safely at home. I would say she still have capacity although it is limited capacity but her memory issues for both short & long term memory are getting worse.
  9. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    I wonder if daily strip washes with flannels and a bowl of soapy water might be possible? It doesn't sound ideal, but it did work for my FIL. His carers (me included) managed his bathing for 2 years in this way. They did his top half, put top half clothes on, then bottom half. Like your mum, my FIL had had both hips replaced, was very unsteady on his feet and had swollen legs. He was, though, able to stand for short periods with support from a zimmer frame, which enabled carers to reach his nether parts.

    It would save cost & hassle of a bathroom conversion that, from the sound of it, might not pay its way. You would need a washable floor though. FIL was often washed in the kitchen which had a lino floor, or his own room which also had a hard easy-wash floor.
  10. Ludlow

    Ludlow Registered User

    Jul 20, 2016
    SE England
    I wonder if the bathroom floor is concrete with the pipes embedded in it? This would perhaps explain the extended time to do the work as the concrete would have to be dug out, rather than just lifting a chipboard floor to access a cavity.
  11. BJS

    BJS Registered User

    Feb 10, 2017
    We eventually put in a downstairs wet room in half the utility room for my father. He had been living downstairs for about 3 years by then, having only bed baths. He cannot walk. He was very resistant until we insisted as it meant he had a proper loo with handrails etc rather than using the cloakroom under the stairs and it was getting dangerous for the carers. Luckily he now loves it. He has proper warm showers for the first time in years in his wheeled 'bath chair'. We did have to part excavate a concrete floor but a lot of the plumbing was already there. It took about 10 days. Self funded but no VAT to pay. Good luck with your situation

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