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dad won't accept help for mom with hygiene
Wow horsecaretaker! That is a handful you have there. Kinda similar to my situation but you parents are more advanced in age. My dmil, is only 84 yo but has stage 6 Alz. She is cared for in her marital home of 61+ years by her husband (my dfil) who is 86 yo and a 24 hour aide. My dmil did not wash for months before we got the 24 hour live in aide. She always would say I can do it myself, if I want a shower.....ahhhh no she can't. Right now my dmil at best has a sponge bath but that involves A LOT of very loud yelling and sometimes hitting the aide and my dfil. She needs to get washed at least a little due to her getting a rash anywhere skin touches skin. She like the house VERY WARM.....I would call it hot so sweating and a rash is what you would expect.
My question would be....what are your plans for them for the future? Do you have all the legal and financial paperwork in place for them? How do they get other tasks done around their home? I know my dfil would feel very uncomfortable showering my dmil. It has actually worked out better having the aid do this as the aide is the "bad guy" doing all this stuff that she HATES !Oh and we have had to forget about washing my dmil's hair....she would never tolerate it. If you get even a little bit of the ends of her hair wet while sponge bathing her she goes on and on about how her hair is "soaking wet!!". I can't imagine what she would say if we actually soaked it and washed her hair!!
I know you will get some very good advice here.
Many many a caregiver has struggled with this issue. I think something that we caregivers have forgotten is that its just recently (last 40 yrs or so) that we've all started to shower on a daily basis, sometimes two times a day. So back in the day where our LO were younger it just wasn't heard of to bath / shower daily. So its foreign to them. Yes some bathed daily but it depended upon what you did for a living, etc.
Fast forward to today and its just 'normal' to think of it as a daily thing to do. However, many of our LO's don't need a bath daily, but certainly several times a week simply. As for hair that doesn't have to be done daily, its just what we are used to doing.
None of that will help you get them into the shower. Of course there is always the fear of falling which can be overwhelming. Possibly modesty comes into play. The water hitting them in the face is scary for some. They aren't bathing to upset anyone, they aren't bathing because they are afraid.
I know of one case where the LO refused bathing for quite sometime. How they handled the situation worked for them. When the LO was being helped to dress, prior to getting clothes on - the caregiver just said "what on earth is on your foot? Here lets wash it off." She sat her LO on a shower chair and just turned on the lower spicket - she had a washrag and soap and washed her feet. Then her lower leg - no water spraying anywhere. Then she put lotion on her legs and feet & helped her finish dressing. Several days later they did the routine again - what's this on the back of your leg? type of question. Finally after much much patience she would sit on the shower chair and let herself be bathed - as long as nothing was coming out of the shower spicket.
Everyone is different, and just because this worked yesterday doesn't mean it will work tomorrow. You've got to be creative.
Oh, Horsecaretaker, how hard this must be for you! This is indeed a struggle for us.
(Love the “what’s on your leg?” technique. Might have to try this! I have heard of using dry shampoo too, so I will be giving this a try.)
Like others here, I too am concerned about your dad. There might be some cognitive issues he’s experiencing too. You mentioned that you think it’s been some months since your mom has showered. Oh my. Preventing infection, especially UTIs, is important, so you are right to be concerned.
Please let us know how it’s going. . .