Showering and change of clothes

EamonnS

New member
Dec 4, 2023
7
0
Hello everyone

First time post here.

My mother has Alzheimer’s disease and about 8 weeks ago her behaviour changed with regard to personal hygiene.
She always took pride in her appearance, showering first thing in a morning and changing her clothes.
This has now stopped and despite numerous requests from family members, she is adamant that she showers everyday and we don't know what we are talking about etc etc.

Due to her appearance and also body odour, it has come to the point where the only way my sister and I can persuade her to shower and change her clothes is by being very persistent and strong with her. This happens every Sunday morning and usually ends up with shouting and arguing, eventually she gives in and has a shower, washes her hair and changes her clothes.

We know that literally 15 minutes later she has forgotten about the episode and whilst it's difficult for us to go through it every Sunday, at least we know she is clean and fresh.

We've tried the gentle approach and tried to explain how she is forgetting she has not showered etc, but she is very stubborn and repetitive in her answers (part of the disease of course)

My question is, has anyone else resorted to this strongarm method? It's not something we'd do without knowing she forgets about it all very quickly.

Any other suggestions are welcome, she is not at the stage where she needs help showering by the way, she is perfectly capable of showering and blow drying her hair

Thank you.
 

StressedDaughter

Registered User
Jan 25, 2023
130
0
Hello everyone

First time post here.

My mother has Alzheimer’s disease and about 8 weeks ago her behaviour changed with regard to personal hygiene.
She always took pride in her appearance, showering first thing in a morning and changing her clothes.
This has now stopped and despite numerous requests from family members, she is adamant that she showers everyday and we don't know what we are talking about etc etc.

Due to her appearance and also body odour, it has come to the point where the only way my sister and I can persuade her to shower and change her clothes is by being very persistent and strong with her. This happens every Sunday morning and usually ends up with shouting and arguing, eventually she gives in and has a shower, washes her hair and changes her clothes.

We know that literally 15 minutes later she has forgotten about the episode and whilst it's difficult for us to go through it every Sunday, at least we know she is clean and fresh.

We've tried the gentle approach and tried to explain how she is forgetting she has not showered etc, but she is very stubborn and repetitive in her answers (part of the disease of course)

My question is, has anyone else resorted to this strongarm method? It's not something we'd do without knowing she forgets about it all very quickly.

Any other suggestions are welcome, she is not at the stage where she needs help showering by the way, she is perfectly capable of showering and blow drying her hair

Thank you.
My Mum smells but is adamant she washes thoroughly. She is 90 and refuses a shower/bath. It’s difficult because she used to bath (with a bath lift) daily and enjoyed a bath. GP says a strip wash is adequate - but clearly she isn’t doing a complete wash. She won’t accept any help/assistance so at the moment I just put up with her smell. Sometimes it’s really bad and I try to locate where the red fungal infection has appeared which can be anywhere. I know she would hate being like this but I don’t have the energy to fight her!
 

EamonnS

New member
Dec 4, 2023
7
0
My Mum smells but is adamant she washes thoroughly. She is 90 and refuses a shower/bath. It’s difficult because she used to bath (with a bath lift) daily and enjoyed a bath. GP says a strip wash is adequate - but clearly she isn’t doing a complete wash. She won’t accept any help/assistance so at the moment I just put up with her smell. Sometimes it’s really bad and I try to locate where the red fungal infection has appeared which can be anywhere. I know she would hate being like this but I don’t have the energy to fight her!
I can appreciate what you are going through.
My mum keeps repeating "So do I smell?" when she is refusing to listen to us. It's hard to say Yes to her but even that does not work.
It's sad how the condition can so suddenly change a persons daily cleanliness routine.
 

Suzysheep01

Registered User
Jan 14, 2023
220
0
I can appreciate what you are going through.
My mum keeps repeating "So do I smell?" when she is refusing to listen to us. It's hard to say Yes to her but even that does not work.
It's sad how the condition can so suddenly change a persons daily cleanliness routine.
My mum gets really defensive too. “ I’m obviously so offensive “.
mums in a care home, but even they can’t persuade her for a week or so. Sometimes I go in and shower her, and she complies with me.
dry shampoo and wet wipes is the only alternative!
 

Jale

Registered User
Jul 9, 2018
1,195
0
When Mum was at home she would swear on the bible that she had washed/showered -I knew she hadn't. I let the fight to get her to shower go as it obviously upset her, she couldn't stand water on her face or head and would get hysterical but I did manage to cajole her into letting me wash her.

Sometimes you have to pick which battles to fight and which battles to let go.
 

EamonnS

New member
Dec 4, 2023
7
0
When Mum was at home she would swear on the bible that she had washed/showered -I knew she hadn't. I let the fight to get her to shower go as it obviously upset her, she couldn't stand water on her face or head and would get hysterical but I did manage to cajole her into letting me wash her.

Sometimes you have to pick which battles to fight and which battles to let go.

Do you think the strongarm approach is valid knowing she will forget about it within 20 mins? It's upsetting at the time for everyone but at the end of the episode she is at least clean.

I guess I'm just wondering if it's the right thing to do.

I understand everyone's situation is different so it's tricky.
 

Angel55

Registered User
Oct 23, 2023
218
0
My mum gets really defensive too. “ I’m obviously so offensive “.
mums in a care home, but even they can’t persuade her for a week or so. Sometimes I go in and shower her, and she complies with me.
dry shampoo and wet wipes is the only alternative!
Same here. The home schedule a shower every two weeks of they can but in between if I cut Dad's hair I use the tactic of a damp warm flannel to remove the stray hair and incorporate a hair wash and feet he quite likes having a foot soak as he used to at home so we do the same.

It is such a huge effort required to change clothes and shower I can see why it doesn't happen that often.

He will not let the care home staff do those things though.
 

Angel55

Registered User
Oct 23, 2023
218
0
Hello everyone

First time post here.

My mother has Alzheimer’s disease and about 8 weeks ago her behaviour changed with regard to personal hygiene.
She always took pride in her appearance, showering first thing in a morning and changing her clothes.
This has now stopped and despite numerous requests from family members, she is adamant that she showers everyday and we don't know what we are talking about etc etc.

Due to her appearance and also body odour, it has come to the point where the only way my sister and I can persuade her to shower and change her clothes is by being very persistent and strong with her. This happens every Sunday morning and usually ends up with shouting and arguing, eventually she gives in and has a shower, washes her hair and changes her clothes.

We know that literally 15 minutes later she has forgotten about the episode and whilst it's difficult for us to go through it every Sunday, at least we know she is clean and fresh.

We've tried the gentle approach and tried to explain how she is forgetting she has not showered etc, but she is very stubborn and repetitive in her answers (part of the disease of course)

My question is, has anyone else resorted to this strongarm method? It's not something we'd do without knowing she forgets about it all very quickly.

Any other suggestions are welcome, she is not at the stage where she needs help showering by the way, she is perfectly capable of showering and blow drying her hair

Thank you.
Hi

I do wonder that the strong arm method might be? I don't think it wise to 'force' something really.

Would a strip wash or similar suffice and leave the shower for every two weeks? Dad will only have a shower every couple of weeks and when he was living at home he was the same. He would say I had one at 6pm or 6am which could have been any day as we didn't live with him we could never work it out. In a residential setting now it is the same and if someone refuses they just note it down and try again another time. Dad says he doesn't go anywhere so why does he need to shower and change his clothes? 🤦‍♀️

It is probably such a huge effort and if you think you have showered I think I would kick off as well if someone kept suggesting a shower if I thought I had had one even if that memory is an old one.

You can get dry shampoos and wet wipes which might be okay in between infrequent showers. I did read somewhere that showering/bathing isn't that enjoyable for people either something to do with the spray or depth of water if in a bath so it could be part of that too.
 

EamonnS

New member
Dec 4, 2023
7
0
Hi

I do wonder that the strong arm method might be? I don't think it wise to 'force' something really.

Would a strip wash or similar suffice and leave the shower for every two weeks? Dad will only have a shower every couple of weeks and when he was living at home he was the same. He would say I had one at 6pm or 6am which could have been any day as we didn't live with him we could never work it out. In a residential setting now it is the same and if someone refuses they just note it down and try again another time. Dad says he doesn't go anywhere so why does he need to shower and change his clothes? 🤦‍♀️

It is probably such a huge effort and if you think you have showered I think I would kick off as well if someone kept suggesting a shower if I thought I had had one even if that memory is an old one.

You can get dry shampoos and wet wipes which might be okay in between infrequent showers. I did read somewhere that showering/bathing isn't that enjoyable for people either something to do with the spray or depth of water if in a bath so it could be part of that too.
It's never anything physical of course, it's more just being very persistent and using strong words to explain why having a shower and a change of clothes is needed and basically not taking no for an answer. She'll eventually give in but it can be stressful for both her and us.

She does insist that if she doesn't have a shower, she has a hand wash instead but it's plainly obvious she is not doing this.

Yes I can appreciate how frustrating it must be for her to hear us insist she is not keeping herself clean.

I'd not heard about an aversion to showering/bathing. Perhaps there is a reason she does not want to reveal to us.
 

nic001

Registered User
Sep 23, 2022
217
0
My mum is the same. She is in a care home and I believe she refuses a bath to assert some control in a situation where she feels very out of control.
The carers will keep asking and sometimes it’s 5pm in the day before she agrees. She can go several days without a wash and they can’t force her.
As you said, imagine that she believe she’s had one and then you’re saying she has to have another, you wouldn’t agree to it so you shouldn’t really expect her to? I’d leave it for that day and try another day, even just a wash. Try to go at her pace rather than what you think she should do, I would say.
HTH
 

Gandalf's Helper

Registered User
Dec 2, 2023
13
0
Hello everyone

First time post here.

My mother has Alzheimer’s disease and about 8 weeks ago her behaviour changed with regard to personal hygiene.
She always took pride in her appearance, showering first thing in a morning and changing her clothes.
This has now stopped and despite numerous requests from family members, she is adamant that she showers everyday and we don't know what we are talking about etc etc.

Due to her appearance and also body odour, it has come to the point where the only way my sister and I can persuade her to shower and change her clothes is by being very persistent and strong with her. This happens every Sunday morning and usually ends up with shouting and arguing, eventually she gives in and has a shower, washes her hair and changes her clothes.

We know that literally 15 minutes later she has forgotten about the episode and whilst it's difficult for us to go through it every Sunday, at least we know she is clean and fresh.

We've tried the gentle approach and tried to explain how she is forgetting she has not showered etc, but she is very stubborn and repetitive in her answers (part of the disease of course)

My question is, has anyone else resorted to this strongarm method? It's not something we'd do without knowing she forgets about it all very quickly.

Any other suggestions are welcome, she is not at the stage where she needs help showering by the way, she is perfectly capable of showering and blow drying her hair

Thank you.
Hello, it seems to be a common theme, trying to get my wife in the shower is akin to showering a cat! I have found that when I can get her in the shower I have to be in the shower too! It runs the length of the bathroom. She will stand there and complain about the water being too cold or tooo hot and will dab a bit of soap on her hand then wash it straight off. I found that once in although it is a struggle I can get her hair washed and most of her body washed. Ten minutes after the shower she has forgotten it as is back down to normal. Perhaps try patient wipes (from Amazon) and wash bit when you can.
 

EamonnS

New member
Dec 4, 2023
7
0
My mum is the same. She is in a care home and I believe she refuses a bath to assert some control in a situation where she feels very out of control.
The carers will keep asking and sometimes it’s 5pm in the day before she agrees. She can go several days without a wash and they can’t force her.
As you said, imagine that she believe she’s had one and then you’re saying she has to have another, you wouldn’t agree to it so you shouldn’t really expect her to? I’d leave it for that day and try another day, even just a wash. Try to go at her pace rather than what you think she should do, I would say.
HTH
Yes now you mention it, it may be a way of staying in some kind of control. I can't imagine what it must feel like to live in a world of just the last 10 minutes and anything past this just dissappears.

She lives on her own with carers twice a day for medication only. She is still capable of cooking and general care. It's just the personal hygiene that has left her.

Thanks for the advice.
 

EamonnS

New member
Dec 4, 2023
7
0
Hello, it seems to be a common theme, trying to get my wife in the shower is akin to showering a cat! I have found that when I can get her in the shower I have to be in the shower too! It runs the length of the bathroom. She will stand there and complain about the water being too cold or tooo hot and will dab a bit of soap on her hand then wash it straight off. I found that once in although it is a struggle I can get her hair washed and most of her body washed. Ten minutes after the shower she has forgotten it as is back down to normal. Perhaps try patient wipes (from Amazon) and wash bit when you can.
I'm glad you have a method/routine that works, and yes I agree, 10 mins after the struggle its all forgotten which is the only reason we are insistant on a Sunday morning to get her clean. She forgets the harsh words and arguement right away.
Actually washing her ourselves though is out of the question right now. She is capable of doing it herself, its just getting her in the shower that is the problem. She would not entertain anyone helping her in the shower at all.

Thanks for the advice and best wishes to your wife.
 

Agzy

Registered User
Nov 16, 2016
3,980
0
Moreton, Wirral. UK.
Hello everyone

First time post here.

My mother has Alzheimer’s disease and about 8 weeks ago her behaviour changed with regard to personal hygiene.
She always took pride in her appearance, showering first thing in a morning and changing her clothes.
This has now stopped and despite numerous requests from family members, she is adamant that she showers everyday and we don't know what we are talking about etc etc.

Due to her appearance and also body odour, it has come to the point where the only way my sister and I can persuade her to shower and change her clothes is by being very persistent and strong with her. This happens every Sunday morning and usually ends up with shouting and arguing, eventually she gives in and has a shower, washes her hair and changes her clothes.

We know that literally 15 minutes later she has forgotten about the episode and whilst it's difficult for us to go through it every Sunday, at least we know she is clean and fresh.

We've tried the gentle approach and tried to explain how she is forgetting she has not showered etc, but she is very stubborn and repetitive in her answers (part of the disease of course)

My question is, has anyone else resorted to this strongarm method? It's not something we'd do without knowing she forgets about it all very quickly.

Any other suggestions are welcome, she is not at the stage where she needs help showering by the way, she is perfectly capable of showering and blow drying her hair

Thank you.
You can buy large body wipes intended to do the equivalent of a shower but my LO found them too cold and they certainly were.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
3,690
0
I gave up very quickly. It was a choice of telling dad that he hadn't showered for a long time and getting into an argument because as far as he was concerned 'he showered every day' He didn't, in fact he didn't shower for over a year. He would say he was going for a shower or a wash but in truth he just pottered around the bathroom for five minutes and then came out saying 'that feels better' when he had never so much as turned on a tap.

He truly believed he had showered so me telling him that he hadn't was not constructive so I stopped. He didn't go out so he didn't really get dirty and he never smelled. I was lucky, dad always slept in the buff so I was able to sneak clean clothes for him every day and that worked well. All his shirts, pants and jogging bottoms were almost identical so he never noticed that I changed them. I would just scoop them up off the floor in the morning and replace them with similar.

It's very annoying but in the end it was just easier.
 

EamonnS

New member
Dec 4, 2023
7
0
I gave up very quickly. It was a choice of telling dad that he hadn't showered for a long time and getting into an argument because as far as he was concerned 'he showered every day' He didn't, in fact he didn't shower for over a year. He would say he was going for a shower or a wash but in truth he just pottered around the bathroom for five minutes and then came out saying 'that feels better' when he had never so much as turned on a tap.

He truly believed he had showered so me telling him that he hadn't was not constructive so I stopped. He didn't go out so he didn't really get dirty and he never smelled. I was lucky, dad always slept in the buff so I was able to sneak clean clothes for him every day and that worked well. All his shirts, pants and jogging bottoms were almost identical so he never noticed that I changed them. I would just scoop them up off the floor in the morning and replace them with similar.

It's very annoying but in the end it was just easier.
Thanks for the advice.

I think we'll end up doing the same and just let her get on with it.

It's got to the point where the arguments to get her in the shower are leaving us too stressed out. She may be able to forget them but family members can't
 

Chizz

Registered User
Jan 10, 2023
4,329
0
Kent
Do you think the strongarm approach is valid knowing she will forget about it within 20 mins? It's upsetting at the time for everyone but at the end of the episode she is at least clean.

I guess I'm just wondering if it's the right thing to do.

I understand everyone's situation is different so it's tricky.
Hi @EamonnS

You have to remember that a PWD no longer has logical or reasoned thinking, and thus, you cannot argue with a PWD on a logical or reasoned basis.

I believe one should also realise that needs trump wants.

Thus, as has already been said in earlier posts, you should choose what battles need to be fought, and thus the action you think is best or most beneficial for the PWD. despite what they might want. As you say, they won't remember the argument even if it upsets you and/or your sister. Your hurt is the price of your love.

My OH always used to shower, put on make up, etc to face the day. Gradually as the Alz's advanced, she lost some co-ordination with her hands and couldn't do the make up as she would have wanted and gave up - and in my humble view, that didn't really matter after it had ceased to be a mental boost to her earlier self. However, I did make sure that she would shower, and wash hair, and cut nails, and I had to help her to do so.

Best wishes
 

ro100

New member
Jan 23, 2024
4
0
Hi I have this issue with my Mum, she will rarely have a bath with the carers and if I ask her if she would like one she says, 'No!" -even though she absolutely loves a bath and a hair dry plus I get to swap and wash clothes etc.

The way I do it -is to not mention a bath. I find if I go upstairs Mum comes up to to see what I'm doing. I pretend I need her help and make up an excuse e.g. ( my husband) wants to know if the taps are running ok, can you help me Mum, he says to run a bath to check the boiler is heating the water ok. Mum is happy to do that, I drop in a bit of bubblebath and she loves the smell. Getting to this point then Mum is pretty easy to win around most of the time not all the time but at lest the taps have been ran!!( should be every 2 weeks min. re Legionella)

I know it's a fib but it's a kind fib with purpose and as she forgets I don't need lots of them! However, I know everyone is different and this may well not work at all for others. It's useful to try and understand why a person may be anxious about getting a bath it maybe complex or it maybe as simple as the bathroom is not warm enough. Unfortunately the carers aren't bathing her much at all and I only visit every few weeks but it's better than nothing.
 

smithdee

Registered User
Oct 19, 2023
28
0
This was probably one of the hardest parts for me as a carer for my dad. He always wore a suit for work and a shirt even on weekends. He slowly began to be very resistant towards washing. In the end, the only way he would get a wash was when he actually had poo on his hands after playing around in his pad and he kept saying dirty. He now no longer fiddles with the pad (not that I wanted him to, but it did make him wash) so we have resorted to bed baths.