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Baths and Showers - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

Baths and Showers

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Ive come to the conclusion that dementia suffers dont shower because they cant be bothered, in the same way they dont change their clothes regularly or eat properly. I must be all part of the decision making part of their brain that seems to be lost. I think its easier for them to say they've had a shower than try to explain why they havent, they dont know why and cant explain why they have missed such a fundamental basic task. Having said that nothing will induce my FIL to shower. The carer can get him in the bathroom with the shower already running and ready and he refuses to step in. He hasnt had one for 3 weeks, always going to 'be tomorrow' and once managed to dodge one for 4 months. He is also very reluctant to wear clean clothes, his weekly washing which I do is hardly worth putting in the washing machine, 3 items, if Im lucky, one week I got one handkie Image Sometimes I bypass the washing machine and the clothes go straight in the dustbin they are so disgusting. All this has been mentioned in a kind way to a downright rude way eg you smell, doesnt make any difference. FIL is keen to give me a kiss on arrival and I have to dodge off to the loo or do something to avoid it, the smell knocks me back.
It is not only dementia sufferers and I wonder if refusing to cooperate with bathing/showering is a way of taking control when someone has lost much of the control over how they live other aspects of their life. I also suspect that, when combined with other behaviours such as feigning illness not only to get out of having a shower but a myriad of other activities, it can become a bit of a power game in which we are always the losers.

Or, of course, it could just be that some people cannot be bothered to bath or shower because it requires effort and they would far prefer to spend their days sitting in a chair doing as little as is humanly possible which is one of the best ways I can think of becoming increasingly, unnecessarily disabled and losing any capacity which did exist Image .
Ive come to the conclusion that dementia suffers dont shower because they cant be bothered, in the same way they dont change their clothes regularly or eat properly.
I don't think it's because they can't be 'bothered'; more that they just don't remember how to ! Although we've got various aids like the bath chair lift etc, due to her mobility problems Mum finds it difficult to get in the bath - at the same time she won't accept that this is her bathroom in her home and keeps telling me "It's much easier for me to have a bath in my own home" !

She doesn't like showers and won't consider having a walk in shower fitted instead of the bath (not room for both) - my cousin was even prepared to totally refit the bathroom with a 'walk-in' bath but she wouldn't hear of it. Plus the hassle and upheaval of having it done would tip both of us over the edge !!

I manage to shower most days - but it's one of those 'over the bath' showers and the water pressure is pretty poor - so it's a bit like trying to shower under a watering can ! And because her chair lift is permanently in the bath and too heavy for me to lift out easily I've only had 1 bath in the last 10 months (and that was when I stayed in the hotel at Folkestone at the end of August !).

As for wearing the same clothes all the time - I usually wait until Mum has gone to get washed and then raid her bedroom for anything that needs laundering at the same time putting out clean clothes for the day - she doesn't remember from one day to the next what she had on the day before, so that part's fairly easy.
AND it's the whole rigmarole of showering/bathing that may be just too much effort. You know, the getting undressed, the effort of getting into the bathroom, going under the shower, or climbing into the bath, washing, soaping, rubbing, lifting limbs up and down, rinsing, getting out again all wet, dripping and probably semi-cold, then all the drying and lifting limbs up and down again and drying in all the creases and awkward bits, then all that hair combing and drying and getting dressed again ....................
It's an awful lot of effort for people.
Hubby is lucky to have a shower every morning, but even then, especially on a 'bowel' day, he's completely knackered after it all. All the manouvering and shoving about, on the bed, then off it into the hoist, then into the shower, then back on the bed again to get dressed, then off it again into the hoist then into the wheelchair, then teeth and shaving ........ God, what a parlavour, no wonder he's had enough. He's knackered even before he's left the bedroom.

So, what we think of a common-day practice, actually turns out to be quite an ordeal for someone, so it is easier just to say I've had one, or to put it off 'for tomorrow'. They just can't face it all. Image Image Image
It is not only dementia sufferers and I wonder if refusing to cooperate with bathing/showering is a way of taking control when someone has lost much of the control over how they live other aspects of their life. I also suspect that, when combined with other behaviours such as feigning illness not only to get out of having a shower but a myriad of other activities, it can become a bit of a power game in which we are always the losers.

Or, of course, it could just be that some people cannot be bothered to bath or shower because it requires effort and they would far prefer to spend their days sitting in a chair doing as little as is humanly possible which is one of the best ways I can think of becoming increasingly, unnecessarily disabled and losing any capacity which did exist Image .
Yes its a power game and a way of trying to get some control on their lives. We and the carers put clean clothes out, but they are put back in the wardrobe by FIL and he dresses in dirty things.
Parsifal's 2nd para totally sums up my FILs state. Its not neglect from his carers and us it his decision to behave this way for whatever reason, dementia, stubbornness, he thinks hes right.
My husband came up with a reason this week for not wanting a shower - he said he had thought about it carefully and come to the conclusion that if he slips and breaks his hip he will be far more trouble! I keep telling him I have put a non-slip mat plus a stool for him to sit on and there isn't room to fall down anyway, and I am there helping every minute but it makes no difference. He is very obstinate about it no matter what I say, except when his son visits from Australia when he makes a special effort - as the visits are only once a year it is not much help.
Once mum took to bed to "wait for God" cleanliness was no longer an issue. Babywipes kept upturned on the radiator so they were still moist, but warm kept her spotless, and hardly any objections.

I used to have to do the clothes switching, usually during the night about 2am on my toilet trip as often mum would dress herself in bed at the first birdie`s croak. Dad`s homecarer leaves his clothes for the next day laid out in the order he would put them on for him each day.

This thread could turn into carers snippets and B and S and become a bestseller.

Take care
Meg
My 82 year old mum has parkinsons (I also believe she has dementia, but this has not been diagnosed, as it could also be the brain cell loss due to parkinsons). Some days are easier than others re. personal hygeine.

I give her a thorough wash, powder her and body lotion. Some days she insists she will do it herself (but is physically unable to do so), and I have to tell her that the doctor wants me to do it, to check for sores etc. and I will be in trouble if I don't. Reluctantly, she lets me.

Other times, she is briefly lucid and says 'you shouldn't have to be doing this'.

As for my own baths, I have forgotten what it's like to laze in a bath, its a case of a shower as quick as possible - sometimes I leave the bathroom door a bit open, so I can listen for her zimmer moving, then I know she is 'on the wander' and I get out quickly so try and do damage limitation!

It's a case of trying to keep one step ahead the whole time isn't it?
My partner has 3 showers a week, and boy did we have to fight for the third shower. We want daily showers but the DNs haven't got the resource. There is no chance of more as it is well known the DNs do the best they can with the resource they have, we simply wouldn't be supported in this, so we've taken three and thanked ourselves lucky.
I still miss a bath - only a shower now. I do get to have long showers though, when he is safely in bed laughing at the TV, so I am lucky. Also go to the gym and sit in the jacuzzi for 5 mins which is my sort of bath so to speak, it is a short but divine pleasure.

The grants spoken of earlier are called a Facilities grant. If he desparately needs one now, you can ask for a fast track, so there is not even a means assessment, so you won't have to pay a penny.
Thank you, littleRachet, a Disabled Facilities Grant, that's it.