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Personal Hygiene - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

Personal Hygiene

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hello Nenuphar, does your mum not have a bath fitted or is it only a shower?.We don't have a shower. We do have a bath seat that goes up and down it is a godsend. We have a carer that comes in and gives my dad a bath on a saturday, He absolutely hates it. tears and tantrums every week! it has to be done. He accepts it, but if it was up to him, if he could get away with it, he would do without! I give him a stand up wash in the week, he does his bits, I do his pits. and plenty of deoderant. He doesn't go to daycare though, so we don't have the problem. He can whiff a bit sometimes. xx
Picking up Sturdygirl's point: I am sure that a preference for baths over showers is a major factor in some cases. I vastly prefer baths myself, and enjoy a shower only in very hot weather. However, baths can be difficult or dangerous to get into and out of if one is at all unsteady.

Strip washing is perfectly adequate for cleanliness if it is done properly: when I was in my 20s, I lived for 3 years in a bedsit where I had no access to a proper bathroom, only a washbasin, with cold water only, in my room. I am certain I was perfectly clean and non-niffy the whole time! But one needs to wash quite vigorously: having watched my husband 'washing' during his last months living at home, I realised that he didn't really know how to wash himself thoroughly and systematically (and possibly never had known, even when in full possession of his faculties), which was why a bath worked best for him while he could still get in and out safely. Washing at the basin involved an awful lot of splashing, but not much scrubbing -- more like a vague waving of the wet flannel in the general direction of the armpits etc.

Tristesa
Oh my goodness how this forum works is unbelievable - I have just taken my Mum (Vascular Dementia) to chapel, I don't go any more because it gives me an hours respite whilst she is there. But the game I have had to get her to change her clothes to go has reduced us both to tears before she went. I explained that when she coughs she tends, as most older ladies do, wee a little and her trouser often smell a bit of wee. She wouldn't have it and has taken it all as a huge personal insult. This leaves me feeling a little resentful, I do everything for her including not only washing her clothes but putting them out for her to put on and still she insists on wearing the ones she had on the day before. She has just told me that I should be very grateful because she could insist that I live with her. I really lost it and told her if we have many more days like today she will most definitely push me right away and then we will have to see how she copes with living entirely on her own and sort out all her problems herself (in reality I know she has no chance whatsoever of sorting anything out). I hate myself for losing my rag but I have a really nasty chest infection today but as usual I have to put my own gripes to one side in order that she is sorted first. Oh folks please excuse me for venting my "feeling sorry for myself" out on you but this thread really has struck a raw nerve. Daft thing is that by the time I had armed her into chapel she had forgotten the whole episode and I again cried all the way home xxxxxx
Don't worry in the slighest - you should hear me moan like crazy as well! And you have LOADS more to moan about than me!

I'm glad you lost it with your mum - about time, by the sounds of it. Was she always this hectoring when she was 'normal' (ie, pre dementia), or was she much nicer?

I'd like to see how she thinks she could 'insist' on living with you!!!

Time for some 'hard ball' I think. (Crocus has just given me some excellent advice to do just that in my own circumstances!!!)

Good luck, stay strong, but stop pandering to her!
(((HUGS))) JHR. Like me, I know you've had a tough time in the last year or so, and really need a break. It's not as if clean clothes and bodies are a life and death situation, but it IS important to you and I'm sure used to be to mum. It's just the flaming frustration of trying to do your very best and getting thwarted at every turn, well it is in my case anyhow, but for different reasons, different subject. Tomorrow try to put your own health needs first (I'll order you to do this if it makes it any easier!) Try to get as near to a "day off" as you can manage. Minimum housework, minimum cooking, answerphone on, maximum sitting and reading a book, or better still snuggled down in bed with a hot drink. The world and all it's problems will still be there, just step off for the day. Eldest son has just taken M back to his place. I'm about to have a long soak in a hot bath, and spend the rest of the evening making my hair look presentable again, rather than an unruly mop. Cos I'm worth it - and so are you.
Mum has always been a bit pampered, mostly by my Dad pre stroke. He had his stroke in 2003 and we lost him in July 2013 - The brain bleed took the left hand side of his body and my Mum never really coped with his disabilities. He had a huge trauma to the brain but didn't lose any of his mental capacity at all. During the 10 year stint of caring for him (I gave up paid employment in order that he could stay at home) my Mum developed this Vascular Dementia and I for a lot of the 10 years was caring for them both now I am now left with caring for her alone. I don't live with her and at the moment we are coping with her staying on her own overnight whilst I am there most of the day every day. I do all of her housework, cooking, washing, finances and hygiene needs. I guess with not feeling too well today it has all got too much and her gripes have really got to me - tomorrow is another day and I will face it when it comes as I do every other day - anyone out there who thinks this caring malarkey is an easy ride should rethink - just in my own experience I find that caring for someone with a mental impairment is far more stressful than caring for my Dad who had such a severe physical impairment he had to be carried everywhere. At lease I could have a normal conversation with my Dad, Mum we are most days on Fantasy Island and I go along with it - but n'er mind hey onwards and upwards is always my motto xxxxxx
Postings crossed "Bowling" but I have been watching your threads with empathy and I return your hugs my friend. I always try to take heed in what you say because you truly do have the proverbial T Shirt. Today I just feel really frustrated with the whole affair and of course then the projection of fear for the future rears it's ugly head and instead of being pro active I just become weepy and maudlin. I am definitely going to take your advice and have just started the bath running for a long hot soak - didn't help much today when my Bro popped into Mums and said "if she spoke to me like that I'd be out of the door quicker than greased lightening" - I actually agreed with him but also felt very resentful because who on earth does he think would look after Mum if I took that stance. He really doesn't have a clue - he then proceeded to tell me what a lovely day he and my Sis In Law had had with friends yesterday -I can tell you he didn't realise how close he came to a slap LOL xxxxxx
Found the previous thread: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=17845#p177028
Does your brother do ANY of her care?......!
Ah, this is all very familiar territory to me, as both my parents are resistant to washing, showering and bathing. All very trying and no easy answers.

Dad (83) has dementia, plus very weak legs and is an alcoholic. Mum (86) is just very lethargic and rather frail, although her legs work much better than Dad's. About 18 months ago it became clear that neither of them could manage using the bath anymore, despite grab rails being in place, so my parents agreed to have the bath removed and a walk in shower was installed. However, they were still very resistant to using it, and the whole issue became such a battle ground for myself and the carers that we virtually gave up.

Dad suffered a UTI, not surprisingly, and things got to the point where moving him into a care home was the best option, for him and for Mum, as she couldn't cope with his dementia etc. So, he is now in a very nice care home, where they have a rule that every resident must shower or bathe at least once a week - which they hold him to! Image They also shave him every morning (he'd long since given up) and help him wash each day, as he won't bother, given the choice. He looks and smells so much better now! Image He is quite bemused that the carers are so willing to help him with his personal hygiene, as they are ALL female, which I thought might be a problem, but they're not embarrassed and clearly have their own ways of dealing with him.

Meanwhile I struggle on with Mum's hygiene issues. I have occasionally managed to get her into the shower (see my other thread) using various tactics, but never felt happy in doing so, because she seems so frightened of the shower and no matter how hot it is she always complains of the cold. So, nowadays I tend to concentrate on keeping her head and feet clean, by trying to shampoo her hair at the kitchen sink when she'll let me, and getting her to soak her feet now and then in water with a little bit of antibacterial wash in it. I try not to worry about her nether regions too much, but if she smells bad (she has occasional incontinence and wears disposable panties) I am quite firm in making her go up to the toilet to change pants and trousers. I make sure there are plenty of wet wipes and such around so she can use them when required.

I've been cutting Mum's hair for years now, as she resists going to the hairdresser and I'm quite good at basic hair cuts - it's not rocket science and if you have a decent pair of scissors and a steady pair of hands then a basic trim/cut is not too tricky.

As for clothes - I'm surprised that people are saying their carees are putting on the same dirty clothes each day, because the solution there is so simple - just remove the dirty clothes as soon as they take them off and put them straight in the wash (or hide till you are doing washing). You'll find that a full change of clothes can improve their smell dramatically and I'm sure a lot of the stale sweat and bacteria gets absorbed by the clothes, so changing them might help reduce the risk of infection too.

My mother has agreed to have a shower this week as she has a hospital appt, but it wouldn't surprise me if she refuses when the day comes. So, an ongoing problem, with no easy answers, but sometimes a few halfway measures can ease the problem.