1. Our next Q&A session is on the topic of Christmas and dementia.This time we want our Q&A to involve our resident experts, you! Share tips and advice on navigating Christmas here in this thread.

    Pop by and post your questions or if you prefer you can email your question to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.
  1. Rach R

    Rach R Registered User

    Mar 23, 2012
    Hi my mum still lives at home alone with a lot of help from my brother and I. Physically she is still quite good and doesn't need any help with dressing, washing etc. We have carers going in twice a day to give her breakfast and tea with meals on wheels going in at lunch time. She likes to think she is in dependant but ready we sort everything out for her and she peers around, she also goes to a day centre 3 day's a week. The problem we have is washing as we know, through putting things in the bath carefully, that she hadn't had a bath or shower for at least a month probably a lot longer. She said to me the other day when I told her I knew she hadn't used the bath that she just strip washes but I don't even know if that is right as the soap has hardly been used. I have tried to pursued her but she won't as a far as she's concerned she has washed and there isn't a problem! There is no way she will let anyone bath her at all - I don't know what to do any ideas?
  2. nae sporran

    nae sporran Volunteer Host

    Oct 29, 2014
    I have carers coming in to assist OH with showers as she would never accept it from me. Every day she says she hates showers, but after care and diplomacy comes out clean and happy. Your mother may be more stubborn Rach, but with patience and the right help it is possible.
  3. tre

    tre Registered User

    Sep 23, 2008
    Have you talked to the carers at the day care. Luckily I do not have this problem (yet?) with my husband but I do know that they do offer baths at the day care he goes to. Might be worth asking if this is available where your mum goes and if so ask if they could try to persuade her.
  4. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    When we had that problem, I used to give Mum the option of a bath or shower. Sometimes that worked. It got to the point that I would coach her through a strip wash. It was a difficult, distressing time for me because Mum had always been one of those immaculate people, requiring two face flannels (one for her face, one for her body). Her hygiene disappeared and even though she was in care, we had a long hard time of it getting her properly bathed.

    I can only recommend keeping at it. Having someone else is also a good idea because sometimes that works.
  5. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    When my mum moved in with me, I couldn't get her out of the clothes she arrived in for over a month! So bath or shower was out of the question. I did very gradually get her to take a bath, washed her legs one day then arms, hands and face every day. Slowly I got her to take a warm soapy bath, now a year on and she is the one suggesting a bath before bed.

    A friend of mine used to take her mother to local swimming pool for a swim and a shower once a week, something I did not try with my mum.
  6. ClaireUK

    ClaireUK Registered User

    Apr 17, 2014
    We have the same issue. It's hard as our Mum doesn't acknowledge she has Alzheimers, so it's not a subject that can even be discussed as she goes beserk. It's so hard knowing not washing/bathing and not being able to say anything. I've suggested my father in law just runs her a bath, but he's never done it. He's become quite deafeated by it all
  7. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    My Mum has moderate AD, but at this stage we have the opposite issue.
    2 baths a day, because Mum has forgotten she has had a bath. Her skin is getting very dry, and of course forgets to use a moisturiser.
    But washing her hair and changing her clothes, and recognising when clothes have stains on them and what needs washing is a problem.

    I take Mum to the hairdressers every 4 weeks for a trim and blowwave, which she loves, so at least I know shes getting her hair washed.
  8. 1954

    1954 Registered User

    Jan 3, 2013
    MIL will never have a shower and we don't have a bath. Last time I showered her was 16 months ago! As long as she washes all the smelly parts and doesn't smell I don't care. I think the care home manage to either bath or shower her occasionally.

    She does sometimes smells really bad and I just go for it by masking it with jokes etc. it works every time nowadays thankfully. Feet are a problem so we get her to put them into a soapy hot water bowl every now and then.....joy of joys she's sweet xx
  9. 1954

    1954 Registered User

    Jan 3, 2013
    The other thing that has worked for us is MY approach to my MIL washing. When she first came I got exasperated and angry by her non compliance but quickly learned by making a joke/fun and distractions we have a not too bad solution. Although I do still get stressed about it all x
  10. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    We have same problem. Ma has stopped washing, stopped changing her clothes. She's still capable of doing all of this but the prompts that used to exist have all now gone. It's pitiful -- she was always so smart. Even the doctor at the memory clinic commented on the deterioration.

    The problem for us is she thinks she has washed and changed her clothes because in what is left of her mind, she's the sort of person that does wash & change her clothes. We've a new carer coming in so I'm hoping she'll cajole her to take a shower and put clean underwear on. Last pair I saw I just threw away.
  11. patsy56

    patsy56 Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    Fife Scotland
    I spent 30 mins at least on the phone this AM to the social work trying to get mum reassessed she will not bath or shower will top and tail. We did try to get someone to help bath her (she has bath chair in place) but refused as she did not want washed at 3.00, she wanted to bath at night get into her JimJams. Tried to explain everything so I hope we can get something soon the smell is disgusting, I come home from visiting and near enough have to scrub the smell from ny nose.

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