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MIL refusing to let hair be washed! What to do??? - Carers UK Forum

MIL refusing to let hair be washed! What to do???

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Hi, can anyone give me any tips or suggestions about how to persuade my poor MIL to let her carers wash her hair?

She used to love going to the Care Home's Hairdressing Salon, and they always made her look lovely - and in her non-dementia days she was always very well presented and turned out.

But when I last visited her hair was ghastly - really dirty, lank, overgrown, and not helped by not being combed nicely either. It made her look so, so horrible, and quite upset me.

I did urge the staff that it must be washed, but they warned she was not very cooperative these days.....

I don't know what the 'rules' are, but of course washing the hair of someone who doesn't want to sit still and lean back and have it washed is going to be tricky!!! (it's not so much the length, as the dirt alas). I've offered to sit with her, she might possibly take it better if I am there.

But if they can't wash her hair, I mean, she can't spend the rest of her life with hair getting dirtier and dirtier - she could live several more years yet!

Any tips from those facing similar situations now or in the past??

Many thanks!
Not sure if this may be suitable for your mum or not, but if she finds it uncomfortable leaning back, perhaps she might be willing it give it a try.
You can get a hair bath for someone who is bedbound- think blow up lilo style washing up bowl with plug in it and waste pipe to drain down to a bucket- about 3 inches deep and neck rests on inflatable side of bowl.
I don't know the answer Jenny, but many times now hubby won't have his hair washed. Looks awful sometimes. The staff can't force him. They do wipe it over with his sponge or flannel. The manager has left a special hair washing bath in his room, that staff can wash his hair on the bed. He does get his hair cut every 5weeks, with encouragement.
Could you ask staff at your MILs home if they have a bed bath hair washing thing. Maybe she is fearful of water on her face? Oh dear, it's all so sad.
Bumped post with Henrietta, but the blow up bowl is what hubby has in his room.
A very difficult one, Jenny, the hairdresser at my mum's home told me she was frequently attacked when trying to wash hair. I have heard good reports about this product. As it is fairly cheap, might be worth a go:

http://www.ageukincontinence.co.uk/no-r ... o-cap.html
What about a dry shampoo? I gather that the modern ones work very well (and you don't look as if you've had a tin of talc tipped over your head!).
Oh Anne I'm so grateful for that. Will order some as we speak!! Hubby doesn't mind staff combing or rubbing a flannel over his hair.
Hi Jenny
Would she perhaps let you do it?
Also remember the reversion to babyhood and remember the difficulties getting a toddler's hair done...she probably finds it very uncomfortable and frightening
Does MIL have a bath or shower? Surely they could do it then?
Thank you all for your replies and suggestions! The dry hair wash might be the last resort, because I just itch to get her whole head wet and really lather up the hair (several times!!). But anything's better than nothing.

The 'bedwash' sounds intriguing. I'm not sure it's uncomfortable for her to lean back, more that she doesn't see any benefit to herself from clean hair, and it's just an imposition and so she resists it (definitely the elderly toddler striking up!!!).

I'm not sure if she is showered any more. I will have to ask. I know my friend with her dad at home says any kind of shower is a tremendous ordeal - they just don't see the point of it. And since they can't smell themselves any more, or have any awareness whatsoever of personal hygiene, I suppose I can understand why they resist something so 'unnecessary'.

Somehow, this is upsetting me more than her double incontinence! I guess I loathe dirty hair myself, and it really rams home to me when I saw her like this just how 'far gone' she is. I don't want her to look like a 'dirty smelly old woman'.....she has so little 'dignity' left to her by dementia, and as I say, she was always so well turned out and smart, that I feel her body is now looking as 'derelict' as her poor mind.

She managed to smear jam into her hair as well, when she was eating the cream tea, as she pressed her sticky hand into her hair before I could stop her!

I definitely think I will have to 'participate' when I am next down, if they haven't washed her by then!!! Maybe I can coax her along. Her surviving son is coming over this summer, efrfectively, I fear, to 'make his goodbyes' while he still has a chance she'll recognise him, and I do not want him to see her looking so desperately sad and scruffy and messy.

Thank you again for all your suggestions!
Check what products are being used. Perhaps there has been a change. She should be able to select or encourage to participate in the selection. There maybe a certain individual she has a dislike to etc. Has the time and environment changed. Has she become frightened. It's like back to basics as with a child. Something or someone has cause even an unrelated fear. Rewards system comes to mind. Lots of encouragements etc.

I know it all sound simple. Wouldn't it be good to be the fly on the wall. At the end of the day perhaps its a matter of choice.