1. SusanH

    SusanH Registered User

    Oct 25, 2006
    I know from searching previous posts that the advice is not to get too stressed about washing and that nobody ever died from being dirty, but we are having real problems with Mum, who has vascular dementia and Alzheimers. She hasn't washed for 10 weeks. I tried today to get her to wash, but nothing I tried worked and she ended up very distressed (and so did I) She is very smelly and her hair is awful. It is very distressing to see her this way and I know that it is more of a problem for us and that she doesn't care, but it is so hard to witness and increasingly difficult and unpleasant for my Dad to live with. She has had a bowel problem this week and REALLY needs to wash, but she won't and won't accept help. Social services say they can only help her wash if she will let them and she won't. We don't know what to do. I am worried that her lack of hygiene will make her ill.
  2. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    I'm hugely into anyone having 'rights' and independence ... but this is ridiculous .... I am sorry Susan .... not got any practical ideas .... perhaps getting the GP on board? ... because there will surely be health concerns if things continue like this......

    Hope someone else will be along soon with some ideas .....

    Love, Karen, x
  3. citybythesea

    citybythesea Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    coast of texas
    Ok, I don't know the whole circumstance on your case but I have a friend whose mother wouldn't bathe either, but she also was not violent. Anyways she arranged for "an in home spa treatment" a nurse was told of the circumstances and came in along with a woman who does in home massages and pedicures and anyways they treated it as if it were a real spa day. The daughter had her "bath" and then the mother had her bath (done by the nurse) while the daughter was having her pedicure. They treated her to having her hair done and pampering her while her daughter was there, all the while all the daughter really did was sit in a plush robe and read. While it did cost a little it made the mother feel as if she were spending "quality" time with her daughter. Afterwards she took her mom out to a new resterant.

    I've been lucky in the sense that I could always get mom cleaned someway, but she has had to come up with some real doozies. Including having grandkids over to play with great grand in a small swimming pool , she had to be ultra careful with that one, but great grand didn't mind the kids getting her all wet and very soaked. She's also had her mother help bathe both their dogs and made sure that it was extremely messy, and as I have been lucky I have a book on antics waiting to be written about both our mothers.

    There have been times she felt that she may have gone too far in getting her mother clean, but she always made sure she was very careful and it also gave her mother a sense of still being needed.

    Hope you find your way that is not too stressful.
  4. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    Hi SusanH,

    I think the "home spa treatment" suggested by citybythesea sounds a great idea. When Dad was at home my Mum also had problems getting him to wash. She would put the music on, glass of sherry, and "dance" him into the shower! Not suitable for a daughter to try perhaps, but maybe it's the turning it into a special event that helps. I hope you get more suggestions soon.

    Best wishes,
  5. SusanH

    SusanH Registered User

    Oct 25, 2006
    Thank you all for your suggestions. The spa treatment is a great idea, but unfortunately would not work with my Mum. She has always been a very down-to-earth person with an aversion to anyone touching her, so the thought of a massage would have sent her hysterical, even pre-Alzheimers!! She's never been one to want to spend much time (or money) on pampering (unlike me!!) so I don't think this great idea would work in her case, but thanks for suggesting it as it may help others with a less self-conscious relative to deal with :).

    I love the idea of being danced into the shower :) (I might try that one with my long-suffering hubby one day.... ;)) Unfortunately Mum does not recognise Dad as her husband. She has gone back to a time when she sees herself as a very modest and proper youg girl and she thinks he is some old pervert who thinks it's ok to see her with no clothes on. She doesn't believe he is her husband and if he tried to dance her into the shower I think she would have a fit :eek: She is sleeping fully-dressed because she doesn't want to take her clothes off with him in the house. Once again, thanks for the great idea.

    I tried to make out it would be like going to the hairdresser's, with a chair in front of the basin for her to sit in whilst I washed her hair, but she was adamant that she didn't want to do this. Poor Mum - back when she was her old self she would have been horrified to think of herself in this state.

    Thanks for resoponding, I don't mean to come across as negative or ungrateful about your suggestions, which are great, but unfortunately, not right for my Mum.... it is a really tricky one.
  6. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Susan: could it possibly be that she's afraid of the water but not admitting it? Lots of people do seem to become afraid of water. Alternatively, is there any situation which in the past would have automatically triggered a bath - going to the doctor's for example. I was just wondering if you maybe use what's left of her long-term memory to help. I also assume you've tried things like baby wipes?
  7. HelenMG

    HelenMG Registered User

    May 1, 2008
    Dublin, Ireland
    Hi Susan,
    we too have problems getting my dad to wash now. He only washes his hands and face and teeth (with whatever cloth or towel he puts his hand on - we change these everyday now too)! For a while he would let my brother give him a shower but for the past few weeks now he adamently refuses this and gets distressed/ stroppy/ in a huff if he insists. We can persude him to let us wash his feet (and legs) sometimes on the pretext of cutting his toenails. Sometimes he will let my sister wash and cut his hair if he knows his hair is getting long. I try to wash under his arms when he is either going to bed or getting up. I have started to bring in a flannel and towel in the morning if I get to him before he gets up and dresses himself. Sometimes the pretext of saying lets have a bit of a wash because its Sunday and he is going to Mass helps. It is always best in the morning or at bedtime.

    We find changing his undercloths and shirt (which he also sleeps in), whenever possible can at least reduce the smell-level but he hates having his vest taken off. (Your stripping me!) He gives out a little ( or a lot!) but we try to change maybe only one bit of clothing at a time. This seems to be least stressful for him and us. I have just noticed a small rash on his body now so I am building up to trying to give his upper body a wash.

    Dad will use the bidet to wash himself if he has a bowel problem as that problem does distress him enough to want to wash, but I can see now that he is a bit more unsteady in the bathroom and we need to get in grips for the bidet to help him, and to maybe get a taller bidet.

    Dad sometimes talks about his mother as if she was still alive. I plan on trying to ask him what the washing routine was like when he lived with his mother and maybe work that into some sort of washing routine now. Good luck.
  8. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    Makes you wonder if "what would your mother think/have thought of your not washing?" would be effective...
  9. lesmisralbles

    lesmisralbles Account Closed

    Nov 23, 2007
    I may sound stupid, and you prove me right sometimes

    Could it be that all the loved ones we talk about have forgotten that this is what you do.
    When as children we are shown how to do it by our mum and dad, we do it.
    As we get older, we forget, and need to be shown again. I only know this from listening to Ron.
    He want's assurance that he is doing the right thing. Barb, is this right ? Barb is this right? It is because he has forgotten.
    So, with a baby you train babies to learn to use potty, etc (no I have never had children) but nephew's, a few of them.
    So, we retrain.
    Shoot me down if I am wrong.
    I only know, I have tried this over the last few day's, and it work's.
    Love BarbX
  10. heartbroken

    heartbroken Registered User

    Feb 17, 2008
    #10 heartbroken, May 11, 2008
    Last edited: May 11, 2008
    We couldn't get Edna to bath and as she is double incontinant she was getting very smelly, a few times she let me help her wipe her bum with me telling her how to do it, but she soon forgets. the cpn said we couldn't help her because we was family and it made her feel uneasy and she might let someone from the mental health team help her and yes it worked she now has a bath once a week we are going to increse it but slowly but syre at the mo.

    are you incontact with a mental heatlh team if so you could ask for help.

    I also have read somewhere that clear water is frightening for them so put some blue colouring in shallow water helps, and that they don't like showers
  11. May

    May Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    I would agree with the comment that your Mum may be frightened of water, this is what happened with my Mum. We resorted to baby wipes, good for everything including bottoms! ( Although we did use packets and packets.)Mum wasn't always co-operative in this but at least you can try to do a little bit at a time!:eek: I'm afraid I disagree with SS in the respect that OK, a little bit of dirt doesn't hurt anyone, but if your Mum has bowel problems this could possibly cause health problems. I have also sent you a pm with the url for an online company where you can get no rinse shampoo, this is a liquid but you put it on, no water required, it lathers up to clean the hair, and then you towel it off. Brilliant stuff, we still use this now as Mum is bedbound. This company also do 'no water' products for bathing which you might want to look at. Do hope you find a solution, it's not easy the 'won't wash syndrome'.:( Take care
  12. lesmisralbles

    lesmisralbles Account Closed

    Nov 23, 2007

    also have read somewhere that clear water is frightening for them so put some blue colouring in shallow water helps, and that they don't like showers

    Sorry, being a bit nit picky.
    Hate the word THEM and THEY
    Not THEM or THEY
    THEM are people, They are people.
    How about, I read somehwere, that clear water is frightening for some people, ladies and gentlemen who have Alzheimer's, or lewy body and other related illnesses. We are still going to offend someone, but perhap's not as many :)
  13. SusanH

    SusanH Registered User

    Oct 25, 2006
    Thank you all so much for your interesting and helpful suggestions. May, those "no rinse" products are absolutely brilliant and may well work - worth a try anyway! Thank you for sending me the details.

    I have also been reflecting on the idea of "making an event of it" as, at one stage when I was trying to persuade my Mum to let me wash her hair she kept saying "no! Chelsea does my hair!" (Chelsea is the lady who cuts her hair) I did explain that I wasn't going to cut Mum's hair, but she wasn't having any of it. I have suggested to Dad that if Mum is happy for Chelsea to wash her hair we could make a weekly appointment and that would solve some of the "no washing" problem. He is going to try this with her. Poor Chelsea - it won't be a nice experience for her the first time, but she is aware of Mum's situation and is apparently very nice, so Dad thinks she will be sympathetic and ok about dealing with such grubby hair.

    I wonder if you're also on to something regarding the fear of water. My Mum and Dad don't have a bath, but they do have a large shower. I wonder if the whole showering experience is just too much for her now. I'll see how we get on with the wipes idea and take your advice to view it as a "washing of the parts" rather than the whole!

    Thank you all so much, you have made me feel so much better about this - I now have a range of ideas to try. What a wonderful source of support this forum is.

  14. heartbroken

    heartbroken Registered User

    Feb 17, 2008
    sorry didn't mean to ofend

    I was only trying to help in the furture I won't bother.

    we all don't have deplomas etc.

    bye all
  15. citybythesea

    citybythesea Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    coast of texas
    let's remember....heartbroken

    I'm sorry heartbroken...please help in the future. I too would be lectured as I use "them" to refer to a group of people with a common idea. We as caregivers need to remember that the people we care for are one of a group of people that we champion for.

    SusanH, if the trip does not work but you can get your lady to come to the house there is an object that is like a little inflatable swimming pool. It has a drain at the bottom and allows the patient to lye with their head in it comfortably. You use a pitcher to pour water over the head. I will post a picture of it as soon as I get a chance to photograph it and get it to post otherwise I can tell you only that I went down to the pharmacy told them what I was looking for and they got it. (My AD seems to be showing as I do not remember who makes it.)
  16. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Dear Heartbroken,

    Don't like you being upset. I have obviously missed whatever someone said to upset you. I am sure it wasn't meant. Speak your mind, let us sort it pal. We are all friends on here, we all support. We don't all say the right things, cos we are stressed and distressed. So what happened Heartbroken? What did we do wrong? Let us know and we can put it right.


  17. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    [Moderator note: Hi Heartbroken

    please continue to help others with this forum.

    Your use of English was absolutely fine in using Edna's name and 'she' when talking specifically about someone of whom you have knowledge, and in using 'they' and 'them' when talking generally.

    It is nothing to do with diplomas, more with the fact that this forum by its nature is used by people who are all stressed by the situation they find their loved ones in. ]
  18. SusanH

    SusanH Registered User

    Oct 25, 2006
    Hello Heartbroken,

    As the person who started this thread, I am sorry that you have been upset by a response to it, I'm sure that wasn't the intention of the person who posted it. I have found your comments so helpful to me at a time when I needed some support. Please continue to post and to make your helpful and supportive contribution to the TP community. I'm sure I'm not alone in really appreciating it :)

  19. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    I can only agree with the previous posts.

    Everyone has an equal place on this Forum and no-one is more important than another.

    Stress and emotions sometimes make us post without realizing we might cause hurt.

    We are all in the same boat but have different ways of trying to deal with it.

    Dear Heartbroken, I do hope you will realize how much you are valued.

    Love xx
  20. helen.tomlinson

    helen.tomlinson Registered User

    Mar 27, 2008
    Dear Heartbroken

    I've just caught up and I can imagine how you might be feeling. Please take a deep breath, believe how valued your contributions are and don't allow anyone to take your support away from you. I know it's a big day for you today with Edna and I have been thinking about you on and off all the time since this morning!

    Love and best wishes


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