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Why does dad not want to shower?

My Dad has always showered at least once, sometimes twice a day. He hasn't showered in almost two weeks and gets very beligerent and aggressive when we try to get him to bathe or even take a sponge bath. He is larger than I am and I'm scared of being injured if I try to force him. I can't believe I'm saying that about my Dad, it's like he is a different person.
Status: Open    May 01, 2015 - 08:37 PM

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May 08, 2015 - 01:54 PM

Lack of personal hygiene can be the result of a few different things. If your father isn't suffering from dementia he may simply have a fear of falling while in the home alone. It's difficult for a parent to admit they need help especially when it's their child offering. While their activity level may be decreasing and need for help increasing, their desire to still be the PARENT in the relationship is a hard role to give up for many.

You may find this article helpful as it addresses a few of the things you mentioned above. http://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-ca...

You may want to also schedule a visit with your dad's physician and review this with him/her as there may be something underlying, such as the onset of memory loss.

May 10, 2015 - 02:20 PM

A few things here.
If he has dementia decline in hygine is common. There are a lot of steps to taking a shower. If you think about all the little steps it can get confusing.
The sound of the water may be a bit of sensory overload for him.
The feel of the water pounding on him might be too much.
He may fear falling.
If you can get someone in to help it might be better for both of you. It takes the stress out of your hands, it is a professional that is trained to get people to do things that they often don't want to do.
When my husban was in Rehab I was "shocked" to learn that they only showered him 2 times a week. That is per state code. After talkign to a CNA about it she explained that as people age, are in decline the skin is more fragile and you don't want to remove the oils that protect the skin. This made me feel a bit better.
So back to your Dad.
Maybe 2 times a week would a goal that you could set that would make you feel better and not stress him out. But general cleaning when needed, handwashing, cleaning if he is soiled, deodorant and clean clothes every day.
Make the bathroom safe for him.
Get a bench for him to sit on. Anti scald device for the shower.


Oct 25, 2015 - 10:30 AM

This is a common problem for those with dementia. If that's the case, he is forgetting at least some of the steps -how to operate the faucet, maybe even the fact that you must remove all the clothes, watches, etc. Get the bathroom very warm ahead of time. My mom's assited living has heat lamps. which are nice. Have grab bars installed, and be there to assist. Falls in the tub are extremely common. Showers are safer than tub baths. Mom couldn't get up after the last tub bath, so it's showers only now.If you have a shower where you don't have to step over a high edge, that's great. I help mom with drying off on back and lower legs. I supervise her showers, as she was used to that before going to assisted living. Also, me doing that one task changed her care level enough to save $300/mo.

Temperature change on the skin is a bit of a shock for anyone, but more so when elderly. Ther skin is thinner, more delicate. Make sure you get the temp. right ahead of time, and ask how it feels to them. I've found that mom likes less heat than I do. Also, with her being raised in the depression, she will not waste water, so I tell her I've already got the shower running. Also, that she is going somewhere where there will be people around. She will always go before a Dr. visit, and now that she's at assisted living where she sits with others, she's more cooperative. There's still some "I had one this morning, or last night", but I find that is usually when I wait until she's tired.

You also might pont out that there's risk of UTI's etc.if hygeine is not kept. , Bathing is more of a chore for them now. Once a day may not be realistic anymore. I try for every other day, but sometimes if she's tired, it's 3.


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