Washing and shaving..another aspect...

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by gigi, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. gigi

    gigi Registered User

    Nov 16, 2007
    East Midlands
    For a while now Eric has been reluctant to shave every day.

    I've accepted this. (Personally I'd hate to have to shave every day..):eek:

    Recently he's asked me if I think it's necessary for him to wash AND shave in the morning.

    My assumption has been that he "can't be bothered"..so I've left it up to him...(Eric is very private about his hygiene..always has been..it's a sensitive subject)

    When I mentioned this to the review officer today she took a different aspect.

    I'd already mentioned that Eric now is forgetting things like how to make coffee..and then remembering them again.

    She suggested it could be the same with washing and shaving. Sometimes he can remember what to do..sometimes he can't.

    And because I'm not involved in this activity I don't know.

    But it crossed my mind that this may be a way forward for me to become involved..as I will probably need to at some point in the future.

    The next time he asks me what he should do re washing and shaving I'm going to take as my cue to ask him..tactfully..if he would like me to help.

    Reluctance to wash and shave is becoming a "Talking Point" between us...and I was glad to have another perspective on the issue.

    love gigi xx
  2. sad nell

    sad nell Registered User


    Hi gigi this was one thing that happened early on with Trev, he just refused to wash, shower or have his hair cut ( it was shoulder length by now) he was terrified of shower and would not not sit down in bath, i tried to not react but it did bother me i will not pretend otherwise, after much reasurance he will now now get in shower with me, but still not really happy. Teeth brushing is our issue at moment, has no idea what to do himself and thinks iam hurting him if i try, cannot give him mouth wash as he just swallows it and will not spit it out. but i gice him pineapple chunks to chew which help keep his breath reasonabley fresh something to do with enzymes in pinapple. this fear of water is very common i believe. i have purchased a battery shaver which i can use in shower and sometimes we have succsess., really think that they just really do not know what to do, it must br so frightening.Trev is all sweet smelling and tooked up cuddling his lovely warm wheat bag it seems to sooth him, Good luck with the bathroom routine , best wishes pam
  3. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello Gigi

    Dhiren is still considered self caring, and so far has not forgotten `how to` but often forgets to wash or shave.

    If I find a dry face cloth, I just wring it out in hot water and take it, and a towel, to wherever he is, and offer it to him so he can wash. He always accepts it.
    He often forgets to shave, so to cover up, he tells me he is growing a beard. We have a laugh about it as we both dislike facial hair and he knows he will get the same reaction from me.
    He is very fussy about cleaning his teeth and tongue and will not even have a drink of water until he`s completed that routine.

    I think it was very perceptive of the review officer to suggest Eric might have forgotten how to wash and shave on the days he says he doesn`t need one. Something I will try to bear in mind for the future.

  4. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    My dad doesn;t know how to wash or shave and refuses to do it anyway.

    The resultant "beard" looks awful!

    No point in trying to fight this battle though.

    We have much bigger problems to cope with :(
  5. Helen33

    Helen33 Registered User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Hello Gigi

    I could relate to your thread very much. Alan has 'on' and 'off' days and only early this week Alan shrieked when he opened his shaver to find it FULL of shavings. I ran upstairs to him and really it was absolutely packed with shavings - he had forgotten that it needed to be cleaned each time he used it:eek:

    Alan cannot run a bath or use the shower but is happy for me to run a bath for him. I have recently suspected he doesn't use the soap because it has seemed rather dry to me but I started adding a particular bubble bath which acts as a soap;) I have been washing Alan's hair ever since I discovered he had a cradle cap kind of thing on his scalp:eek:

    I have noticed that on some days when Alan is reluctant to wash or shave, if I just stand there whilst he shaves he seems to feel more confident and if it looks like he doesn't know what to do I just quietly do it for him (eg turn the shaver on and show him with my hands the shaver action around my own face). Sometimes I can see the light dawning on his face.

    It seems like you had an excellent visit yesterday and I wonder whether you might benefit from seeing someone a little more often just for the helpful insight?

    The lady at our AZ society is very willing to do home visits and I have found her very insightful and empowering. I wonder whether it is the same in your area?

  6. SkiTTish

    SkiTTish Registered User

    Sep 13, 2008
    The way I appraoached it with mum was to start (in the early days ) I tried to be 'around' whilst she was washing/showering ,fetching a fresh towel ,loading the toilet roll ,fetching a fresh soap,flannel ect....
    I then progressed onto getting chatting whilst fetching these things ,so would sit on the loo seat and carry on the conversation,whilst gently reminding mum (and with humour )to wash her fet ,underwarms ect.
    I now have to talk mum through every process of showering and usually have to take over myself, luckily she is quite accepting of this as she has just got used to me being there
  7. Helen33

    Helen33 Registered User

    Jul 20, 2008
    I forgot to say that I saw Alan swallow the mouthwash yesterday for the first time. I was there in the bathroom and noticed that he hadn't let it out into the basin. He had swallowed it:eek: I then thought maybe just a little won't do much harm?

  8. Lanie

    Lanie Registered User

    Aug 31, 2008
    I think its because people with dementis forget what they are doing for example with my Mum she wouldn't use the toothbrush to brush her teeth she used her finger.

    Naively I thought because you had been washing etc all your life it would be in the long term memory. But unfortunately thats not the case as when they are actually doing something they forget what they are doing. so they may have an intention to wash but then forget what they are doing. For my Mum she'll take her clothes off for a shower and then ask what she needs to do, you can put shampoo in her hand, but you have to tell her its for her hair if I'm not quick enough she'll rub the shampoo all over her body. like wise she'll put the soap in her hair, she needs prompting at every stage. When I give her a towel she needs to be told what its for and when she's dry what she has to do next. It's difficult my belief is that if you can be there and prompt as much as possible they can keep some independence, but there will be times that you have to take charge and do it for them if they'll let you. My Mum is quite happy to be washed. So that makes its a bit easier.

  9. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Dear Laine,
    It may well be in the long term memory, but in the short term memory they forget how to 'sequence'.
    At one of our carers groups we had to write down how to make a cup of tea. Sounds simple.....fill kettle, pour hot water into teapot etc. When you stop and think how many individual actions go to do this it is no wonder many people forget.

    Sometimes they forget just where to start. Lionel used to stand in the bathroom waving his toothbrush around. When I asked what he was doing his reply was, "I am cleaning my teeth". He had started with his brush, but forget the rest.

    I agree Laine, sad but true in many cases.
  10. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs
    That makes a lot of sense. My Dad was taking his tablet the other night with which he usually has no problem. This time however he took a mouthful of water first, and then tried to put the tablet in whilst holding the water in his mouth... It was quite amusing actually and we managed to make a joke out of it, but I can see what you're saying. They know what to do but, like Eric Morecambe, not necessarily in the right order.
  11. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    I had to take over washing and shaving a few years ago. I got a shower stool from OT (free), and John sat on it while I showered him. He never had any problem with that, and the routine was helpful when he became incontinent.

    I used to clean his teeth with an electric toothbrush -- the smaller head made it easier to manoeuvre. The staff now have difficulty cleaning his teeth, he won't accept the noise of the electric toothbrush, so they tend to use the head manually.

    I showered him every day, but he only has one once a week now. But he is regularly washed top and bottom, and always looks clean and fresh.

    I asked the dentist about mouthwash, Helen, and he said not to use it, it could damage the stomach lining. One or two accidents won't do much harm, but I'd remove it if it's happening regularly.

    Just one more problem to get to grips with!:)
  12. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    Thank for that tip about pineapple chunks Pam. At the risk of asking an incredibly stupid question, does it have to be fresh or will it still work with tinned pineapple? :)o)
  13. gigi

    gigi Registered User

    Nov 16, 2007
    East Midlands
    There's some very useful information here..

    My main problem is that Eric is very private..always has been. He goes into the bathroom and locks the door...so trying to find a way to help him is tricky.

    So I thought the next time he asks me if he should wash or shave I could suggest that I help him.

    He also still wet shaves....:eek:...and does cut himself.

    Love gigi xx
  14. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello Gigi

    The locked bathroom door worries me, perhaps not for now but for the future. Could you `accidentally` break the lock somehow, just in case.

    I really don`t want to add to your worries but.............:(

    Love xx
  15. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    My mother now at the stage that she needs promoting all the time, with brushing her teeth, carer in the morning has always promoted mum. All carer have been told in care report to let mum wash them so 2 years on , mum does forget but with very diplomatically promoting she does bush her gums still herself while carer bushes her teeth

    Mum got dentures , in the evening mum would not let me brush wash dentures leave then in sterdent .

    So I got an evening carer as mum would not let me change her clothes into her night dress , she just fall asleep with her clothes on , getting very angry with me when I woke her up to change into night clothes .

    Carer now washes changes mum teeth in the evening mum bushes her gums. Then Carer leaves them in steadent. When Carers gone mum go back into bath room take them out of cut puts them back on :D

    Its a hard transition your husband going to to with excepting help with personnel hygiene.

    Mum was also very private person when it came to all her personnel hygiene. Mum would lock herself in bath room as we all do , come out saying she wash herself , but when mum clothes started to smell of urine, I new something was wrong mum needed help , but Mum would not except my help .
  16. Helen33

    Helen33 Registered User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Hazel, thanks about the advice re mouthwash. I will monitor what happens and remove if necessary. It makes me wonder how the human race survived before all this stuff anyway:D

    Gigi, Alan used to wet shave until I noticed just how many times he cut himself so I went out and bought an electric cordless shaver. Alan didn't want to use it at first but I insisted and I think it is a big improvement. It is the one new thing that Alan is able to operate.

    With Eric being very private it is going to be very different in trying to change things but Sylvia's suggestion at accidentally breaking the lock is a good place to start.

  17. janjan

    janjan Registered User

    Jan 27, 2006
    Dad was particular about his hygiene, and when dad started looking as if he hadn't shaved i brought him a electric shaver and encourage him to start using it on these days. I never would have felt safe trying to do a proper wet shave on him if he was unable to shave himself. Was glad of this has time progressed. :) Jan.
  18. alfjess

    alfjess Registered User

    Jul 10, 2006
    south lanarkshire
    I bought Dad a rechargeable wet or dry shaver.
    On the days he won't let the carers give him a wet shave, they just use it as an electric razor.
    So afr it has been successful
  19. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    John's the opposite!

    When I was shaving him, I used a rechargable electric shaver, and when he went into the home I took it in for him. He wouldn't let them use it, the noise upset him (as with the electric toothbrush), and he would grab it and hurl it across the room!

    They now wet shave him, and he has never objected to that!
  20. sad nell

    sad nell Registered User


    Lynne just seen your post. i use fresh mostly,but have tried tinned but make sure it is in juice not syrup, not sure how it works , but it does seem to improve breath,think kiwi and papaya fruit contain same enzymes. hope this helps

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