Hygiene issues

Posted by pattyinal @pattyinal, Sep 9, 2019

Does anyone have suggestions for how to get your MCI loved one to shower, brush teeth, etc., when he thinks he did it already?

I’m interested in any and all responses as I have this same trouble with my sister. Please give me something that works.

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Hi @sallysue and @pattyinal I am sorry to read of your struggle with this. I know this was a struggle for both my MIL and my wife at a certain time in their journey. I know each patient and their journeys are unique so I can only offer what I experienced and hope it might be of help.

The only thing I found that helped with this was to establish their hygiene routine at the same time as mine so we could do it together. I also made sure to accomplish this portion of our daily routines at the same time of day everyday. This was the only thing I found that insured this got done each day. It also became just one more routine part of our day we did together, like meals, medications, etc.

I also put something important before it and after it. For a little while this helped with recall of having actually done it, but that reinforcement only worked for a short period before other memory issues interfered.

Strength, courage, and peace!

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Hi Patty,
I was my mom's caregiver for 8 years. The issue of problems getting her to take a shower and brush her teeth would arise, then subside for a while before resurfacing again. It's very frustrating! There are many reasons this can happen. Alzheimer's patients can become afraid of water. Sounds crazy, but it's true. I was given suggestions like wait a few minutes, then try again as they won't remember that you just asked. You can warm up the bathroom with shower steam to make it more comfortable. You can promise a bowl of yummy ice cream AFTER she showers, as you are leading her in to the bathroom. As for the teeth brushing, I bought some toothpaste in a flavor for kids. Bubble gum or something. For some reason, that worked pretty well. Also, instead of having her stand at the sink, I held a bowl up to her to spit in. She was going through a time she didn't like running water. I hope that helps a little. Good luck!

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My mom hates the shower or bath now….I’ve taken to sponge baths and bathing wipes….that helps a lot. It seems some Alzheimer patients become fearful of the sound of water and the feeling of it on their skin. I always try to have the bathroom warmer for her. It’s always a challenge.

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@providence1960

My mom hates the shower or bath now….I’ve taken to sponge baths and bathing wipes….that helps a lot. It seems some Alzheimer patients become fearful of the sound of water and the feeling of it on their skin. I always try to have the bathroom warmer for her. It’s always a challenge.

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Because showering brought us both to tears (and sometimes shouting) I've also decided to do sponge baths and to use baby wipes on armpits and when wiping after toileting.

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Hang in there. Usually it's a phase and she will be more cooperative later. We hope!

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