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Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

Posted by Mimi427 (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 4, 05 at 13:24

Well, we just went three rounds trying to get mom to allow her aide to help her shower. Urszula (the aide)has been here as long as mom's been here...9 months. Up until today, mom has "allowed" Urszula to be in the bathroom with her as a "just in case" and that's worked out okay. I noticed within the past few days that mom has body odor, which probably means she is not washing herself properly. So today, before she woke up, I told Urszula to be sure that mom washes properly, which means she'd have to stand by the shower, pull back the curtain and make sure mom's doing a good job. Well, mom threw a fit! I finally went in there (I've been told by a social worker that I am NOT to micromanage...stay out of their arguments, let them work it out) and asked mom what's going on. She went on and on, stating she is not a baby, she does not need anyone's help, etc, etc. I tried to talk to her, but she just wouldn't listen to anything I said, so I finally said "Mom, I didn't want to hurt your feelings, but I guess I need to tell you that lately you have had body odor and I think you need some help washing up." Obviously, that statement really ticked her off and now she's not talking to me. I realize with an Alzheimer's patient that "this too shall pass"...she just won't remember what I said. But, I'm wondering if someone out there has some suggestions on how to overcome mom's reluctance to accept help with personal care? You know, as I'm writing this, I realize that this is probably just one more fight for her independence, but it's just so frustrating. She's becoming more incontinent (both urine and bowel)and definitely declining in her memory loss, and I see all this, yet when these issues come up, she's as stubborn as she ever was....maybe there aren't any answers...if you can...please HELP!!!
Mimi


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

Have you tried a bath instead of a shower? Maybe make it with some nice smelling bath salts or maybe even a bubble bath? If she sits in the water, it will wash away some of the problem even if she doesn't actually wash. Make it seem like a nice, special event instead of just a plain old everyday bath or shower. The aide will of course, help her in and out of the tub. The stubborness is most likely get worse before it gets better.


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

Hi PeaBee,
Actually, I tried a bath when she first moved in. She had been in an assisted living apartment and there she only showered, so when she moved here, she was SO excited about taking a bath. Only problem was that I had a horrible time trying to get her out of the bathtub. But, that was 9 month's ago and since then, she has accepted a lot more help. So, maybe we should try it again. Of course, I should have the aide helping her. That is one thing I can't do anymore...I just had an MRI and learned I have two herniated disks in my lower back, so I do have to be careful how much I do for her. In fact, we bought a power lift recliner for her since she needs so much help getting out of the chair and it was really bothering my back (she's not a big woman...about 130 lbs). I was so excited about the chair and not having to lift her, but she refuses to allow me to use it past the sitting position. Once it goes beyond the sitting position and starts to lift her up, she panics and thinks she's falling...oh...the joys of caregiving...good thing I'm not a drinker lol... Thanks for the tip. Mimi


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

Hi Mimi! how about a bath chair? they even have them that they slide over to the middle of the tub, looks pretty neat. i would try the bubble bath with it, i asked Al about the chair moving and he said yes, that he is frighened that he will fall, infact he won't let anyone but the 3 of us push his wheelchair, he says that he doesn't trust anyone else, good thing i'm not a drinker either! so about you, what happens now with your back, how painful is it? be very,very careful and TRY and take it easy (easier said than done right? my sprained ankle is so swollen after 2 months and it's because i'm on it all the time, so i can imagine what you're going through with your back!) try and stay cool! debbie


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

Hi Debbie,
I don't know what happens now with my back. I do know that I will NOT have surgery, at least I hope I won't have to. Many times, herniated disks will shift and relieve the pain. This started about three month's ago. The pain isn't awful, most of the time; just depends what I'm doing. I do have sciatica along with it and that is what is more painful...pain goes from my butt down my leg and into my foot, but again, it's not unbearable. Actually, I live with chronic pain...I have Fibromyalgia which is basically chronic muscle pain and sleep disturbance. The pain is worse when I don't get enough sleep. I was diagnosed about 16 years ago and I have learned over the years to manage it with meds and exercise. But now, with my back, I'm not exercising as I should, so the muscle pain is getting worse...kind of a catch 22...
Debbie, have you heard from Linda? If I remember correctly, wasn't she going to visit you in August? I haven't seen her around here in a while, I hope she is doing okay...now put some ice on that ankle and get off your feet!!! Take care, Mimi


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

Hi Mimi! You are a true trooper, it just sound painful. a gal down the street from me has Fibromyalgia )she wanted me to teach her to quilt, but didn't like the idea you had to do a little work, to get one -lol), so i know about it, you poor thing! for me diet and exercise are swear words - lol! i don't know if you get humid wqeather like us, but if you do does it make the pain worse?
i did speak to Linda's cousin Sandra at A&P just this afternoon, she said they are travelling and taking in afew plays, then to MacKinac (sp) island, frankenmooth (sp -- yet again) then here, so she'll be here around the 8th, i'm getting nervous, it feels like a first date, what if she doesn't like me, what if she says boy she should stick to her computer, she is one ugly person! (i bet i'll really like her, and i'll let her in my house, not like those relatives of mine, didn't hear or see from them after their little visit, and apparently since Al talked to his mother, who apparently thinks of him all the time, and is so worried about him) they are back home! oh well, there's another bunch of people off my Christmas list! i'm going back to the doctor tomorrow to have him/her look at both of my ankles. debbie


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

Hi Debbie,
It gets very humid here, and I get very affected by the weather. What seems to do it for me is the barometric pressure...when fronts come through, low or high, the barometric pressure drops and that's when I get a flare-up...I missed my calling, I should have been a meteorologist because I can predict the weather better than most weather people around here! I guess that holds true for most people with arthritis and other muscle/joint conditions.
Thanks for the information on Linda and please tell her I think of her often. Now Debbie, that's enough of that talk about her not liking you...how could she not? You are one of the most sweetest, kindest, loving people I've ever known...and that goes for Linda too...the two of you are going to have a great time together, I am sure of that...hope all goes well at the doc's today...be well, Mimi


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

I'm very fortunate that Mum will accept help from people, but she suffered a stroke and couldn't "work" her left side, so help was REQUIRED. And she was aware enough to know it.

She has a tub in her bathroom. When she came home after close to 10 weeks in the hospital and two rehabs. we'd changed out the shower head for a shower massage, gotten a shower seat, installed handrails, put the arms on the toilet. I hired a woman to come thrice weekly to assist her with bathing. She went from the strict supervision of the NH to a private aid and there was NO FUSS. In fact, she LOVES the attention.

Try the bath again and tell her it's a luxury to have someone help you bathe... all the great queens throughout history have had bath maidens... ;) The woman who comes to help Mum is very nice... chitty-chatty, efficient, and very patient.

Whenever there is a Monday holiday I offer it to her. If she takes it, I pay her for it. She's earned that. We got off to a bit of a rocky start, but once I reminded her of what I expected, she did it. Reliability is worth a lot.


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

Chelone,
You're fortunate that your mum accepts the help of her aide. My mom's aide couldn't be nicer, has a heart of gold, is sweet, compassionate, caring and loves to chat. I too pay her for her day's off and holidays. She's been with me for 9 months and has never missed a day (besides those she's asked to be off) and has never been late. I am very, very lucky. My mom, on the other hand, well...she's just not one who wants to be pampered. Maybe it's because of her history -- she's a holocaust survivor; she endured ten labor/concentration camps and lost her entire family. Needless to say, telling her about all the queens having bath maidens just wouldn't work. When her aide wants to massage her arms and legs, she refuses it. She's never been a social person and now with Alzheimer's, well, it's only getting worse. But, I do appreciate your input...be well, Mimi


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

Mimi, I just had a horrible thought. Do you suppose that with her history in the camps, she may have vague memories of people being sent to take "showers" in the death camps? I know I wouldn't be able to look at a shower head without thinking about those that spewed out poison gas. Maybe even if she doesn't actually have full memory, the stories may still be haunting her.


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

I think PeaBee may be on to something very dark, here... I completely overlooked that tidbit of your mother's history.

Whew! I think of it now and how could ANYONE, ever, look at a showerhead and be "under the control" of another and NOT flashback to those times? How ignorant am I?!

Baths! leisurely, "friendly", and involve her as much as possible in the preparation of such a relaxing and rejuvenating thing. I think that's where the solution lies. But I have to say, Mum really likes the luxury of a handheld showerhead.


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

I've had the same thoughts about the shower. Tomorrow, I'm going to suggest a bubble bath and I'll have her help as much as possible.
Her physician has spoken to me about his concern about her mind going back to that time. He said she will reach a point where her mind will no longer be able to be in the present and will pick a time in the past. Hopefully, she'll go back before the war...I can only hope...


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

I am sure that deep within her mind, certain things stir up feelings of fear and stress. Perhaps she feels memories of having to strip and be exposed to others. In the back of my mind I seem to remember a patient that was overly modest. I forget exactly what was done, but I think she was allowed to wear a thin short nighty or tee-shirt into the tub and the aide would reach up and wash under it. I think she sat on a bath chair in the tub.


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

I think you've hit on it, Logfrog. We all have seen the horrifying pictures... Words can't describe what she's been through...

Mimi, I pray the thin short nighty or tee-shirt and the tub works for your precious mother. Just a thought--when she uses the toilet, would she use wet ones or baby wipes to clean herself? Of course, there would have to be plastic bags for her to dispose of the used wipes...


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

I don't know if she'd use the wet wipes herself, but I've been using them to clean her up...she's been having more and more "accidents" and now, she's not saying anything. She is in Depends, but tries to hide what she's done...it just keeps getting tougher, doesn't it?
The idea of the thin nighty might just work.
The good thing here is she trusts me completely - at least for now -. So, if I have to be the one to give her a bath, then that is what I will do. I am grateful for whatever she will allow her aide to do for her.


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

Mimi, my memory is improving....I am pretty sure that they used one of those hospital gowns that tie in the back. It would be easy to slip off after she got in the tub, or just before drying her. So, if you can't lay your hands on one of them, cut an old nightgown down the back....might work. Anything that will keep her from getting upset will be worth it. Next week, it will be something new bothering her!!!


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RE: Getting Mom to Accept Help from her Aide when Showering

One thing we can count on and that is change...as you said, next week will bring something new. But, as far as today, all went very very well! I woke mom and asked her if she'd like a nice warm bubble bath this morning and she said "oh that sounds nice"...so I said I'll go fill the tub and I will help you. She was very pleased and it went very well. While in the tub, I suggested she keep her hands on the sides of the tub, just for support, so that gave me the opportunity to wash her up...it was great. When she was finished, I told her I needed the aide's help in getting her out and she was FINE with it...once out of the tub, I left the room and the two of them got her ready. So, it seems as if it was the shower that was bothering her. Thank you so much for bringing that to my attention. Why on earth I didn't think of it is beyond me --- I must have been too close to the trees...thanks again,
Mimi


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