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Old 01-25-2007, 01:18 PM   #1
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Unhappy How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

I've posted on here a while back. My father has advanced Alzheimer's, he's almost 84 and can feed and dress himself. The problem is, he doesn't bathe or take a shower. I can now give him his medicine to take which is helpful because he doesn't fight me on it like he used to. But the main problem is, he is somewhat resentful when I, his daughter, try to interfere with his life. I know I can't just tell him that he smells and he hasn't taken a bath in nine months. He told the doctor just the other day that he took a both a day or so ago (never mind the fact that he never brushes his teeth). So how do I get him to take a bath on a regular basis? He resents it when I try to tell him what to do and he's smart enough to know when I'm trying to manipulate him to do something. I know this topic has probably been discussed before, but please give me some ideas, Thanks in advance...Diane

 
Old 01-25-2007, 01:31 PM   #2
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Re: How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

I had the same problem with my mother until we got a home health aide to come and stay with her while I was at work. After a few weeks the aide said, I wanted to give her a bath, but she told me YOU bathe her every night! I did't, simply because Mom would never allow it, and always made up some reason. (Once she washed her hair 10x in one day trying to get rid of the odor NOT coming from her head ...)

After that the aide gave her regular baths and she loved them! It was embarrasing to have her daughter do it - it went against her mother/daughter mindset. With a professional caregiver it was perfectly OK as soon as the aide realised she needed it (desperately) ...

Tough job!

Love,

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Old 01-25-2007, 02:03 PM   #3
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Re: How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

Why not tell him that you are afraid he might slip in the tub or shower and see if you can get a male health aide in once or twice a week to help him.

 
Old 01-26-2007, 09:20 AM   #4
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Smile Re: How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

I have a brother and a sister. I am the one that is most involved in her life... yet she would ask for my brother lots of times - which was fine. I would tell her that her son may come to visit, let's take a nice shower to get you nice, clean and smelling fresh... she would agree!

One other tip... when they start fighing you about taking meds or start spitting them out: Ask the doctor for a new prescription in liquid form. Better yet, research online first. I had to tell my Mom's doctor that certain meds come in liquid form! (moron) and she was a geriatric dr too. Good luck!
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Old 01-26-2007, 10:07 AM   #5
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Re: How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

I had the same problem when my mother lived with me. She absolutely would not bathe. She'd says she hadn't been any where to get dirty, she was clean didn't need a bath............though it had been months.

Finally, I would start the shower running......she would ask what I was doing. I'd say, "Well, you told me to set the water for you. Said you wanted to shower. I just got it running for you."

"Oh yes," she'd reply, "I forgot". Since she would never admit to having lapses in memory. She'd go right in and shower.

She's in a home now, though, and their biggest complaint is that they can not get her to shower without a major brawl.
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Old 01-26-2007, 10:17 AM   #6
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Smile Re: How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

Great idea! Thanks for sharing!
Perhaps the Home needs to find creative ways to get her to bathe too!
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Old 01-26-2007, 11:27 AM   #7
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Re: How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

I know of one lady, who, if approached in the right way, will shower. If approached in the wrong way, well, let me tell you, your ears would turn blue at the language she uses!! It sometimes works to touch her hair, and she'll say "Yes it's filthy, it needs a wash" which is the carers cue to jump in and suggest a hair wash (not a shower!!!) if that bit get's accepted, the carer's get a bit sloppy with the shower hose and 'miss' and get the rest of the body.

This doesn't always work, and sometimes she can go for WEEKS without a wash (and in the middle of an Australian Summer, it's not pleasant!). A resident, by law, cannot be FORCED to wash, however, after 10 days drastic measures are allowed to be taken. I know drastic measures were taken with this lady, and she's refused anybody anywhere near her since.

Hitting their vanity works many times, and oh heck, sometimes you have to start a shower in their underwear (they'll soon strip off).

On the other hand, sometimes a 'cat wash' is sufficient for some. Too many showers threaten the integrity of their skin. There are many produts 'out there' to help clean an unwilling body, wipes, lotions etc ... in Australia we have a "Bag Bath" with is thick pre-moistened treated clothes that you heat up in the microwave and wipe over the skin. Voila, clean. We also use Jenny wipes (grown up Wet Ones sort of) cold, but refreshing and quick.

For the unwilling shower person, make it quick. Make it calm. Don't make a fuss and don't turn it into something bigger than Ben Hur. It will happen, just be patient.

Cheers

 
Old 01-27-2007, 04:20 AM   #8
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Re: How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

its kinda like trying to get a toddler to allow you to wash their hair....my daughter used to scream the house down when 2 years old and I NEEDED to wash her hair...it had been toooo long
mind you, I could handle my own child being like that but not my mum.
fortunately she is polite and pliant and allows PCA`s to shower her
I HATED showering her...it was too much recognition of how much she had deteriorated
I HATED dressing her...this was my own Mum, no longer capable of putting on her own underpants or socks
Physically i could do it, emotionally it was ruining me
I suspect your dad can no longer shower himself and needs assistance
as previously suggested....investigate getting a male aide in to supervise showering or bathing....your dad probably cant manage on his own to complete this task but will not admit this to you
kind regards,
Jo

 
Old 01-27-2007, 02:38 PM   #9
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Re: How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

I second getting an aide. we got one through the dept of aging and were told to make a donation when we felt like it. My stepmom fought everything; she'd even say she wasn't hungary.

Getting another person who used to being the bad guy really worked. She would ***** all the way but get in and shut up. I found that just doing instead of talking worked, much like the turning on the shower. cheeps

 
Old 02-11-2007, 10:19 AM   #10
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Smile Re: How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

I appreciate all of the suggestions that have been given me here. It looks like the only choice I have is to find someone who can come in and get Dad to shower, etc. I contacted the Council on Aging and they only have women on their list who do this type of help. Somehow I can't see Dad letting anyone, especially a woman, help him shower or anything. He'll end up being angry and argumentative, I'm sure of that, expecially in his Alzheimeric state (my made up word ).

Anyway, I'm still trying to figure out what to do. The doc and I saw his long toenails the other week and they were really disgusting!

Thanks again,

Diane

 
Old 02-11-2007, 01:49 PM   #11
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Re: How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

I think too, that you need to start being 'pushy'. Dad ISN'T the grown up anymore (although he will beg to differ LOL) .. but you might just have to start being bossy and authoritive.

Don't ask. Tell. I know it goes against the grain to be like that with an elder (last of all a parent) but it DOES work (shock tactics LOL).

Appeal to Dad's vanity ... long toe nails get fungal infections ... short ones don't. Show him a picture of a fungal nail (lots on the internet that are really yucky) ... try the 'but you asked me to run the shower for you' trick ...

I know it's hard, because they only have a dementia, they're not stupid and they do know when they are being tricked, what you need to do is find his triggers .. good and bad ... like my lady with the hair wash ... her good trigger is to touch her hair .. her bad trigger is to ask if she wants a shower.

The PCW's x 3 went into her room the other day, 1 took the blankets RIGHT OFF the bed and onto a chair. Another said "Time for a shower" and the other one was running the shower. She screamed for her blankets to be put back, but the carers put their hands on their hips (visual cue) and said quite forcefully "nope, your having a shower, c'mon, up you get" and she submitted. EVERYBODY got a shock !!!!

I wish you luck .. it's most certainly a challenge!!

Cheers

 
Old 02-11-2007, 02:38 PM   #12
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Re: How do I get my father to bathe regularly?

> I contacted the Council on Aging and they only have women on their list >who do this type of help. Somehow I can't see Dad letting anyone, >especially a woman, help him shower or anything.

Diane-
You may find that your father's objection is to having his DAUGHTER assist him in personal activities.. When it is a stranger the objection might not be as strong. I know it worked here.
I would suggest asking the Council to send an experienced helper (emphasis on experienced).
Beatrice

 
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