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Carenotes

Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 11/13/12

My mother has dementia and is getting worse. She gets annoyed when I'd like to give her a sitting shower. She thinks I'm bossing her around. The CNA that comes in five days a week asked her twice and Mom said, "No." I'm very nervous because she wouldn't even get dressed yesterday. She wore the same pajamas and diaper she had on the night before. (She had been allowing me to dress her every day.) What should I do? Help!
 
Mona

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Name: Jo S.
Location: Virginia
Date: 11/18/2012
Time: 02:13 PM

Comments

Dementia patients often become fearful of water. Perhaps allowing her to 'sponge bathe' with wipes even, if she will. Forcing will only agitate you both. Be patient for 'good moments' to encourage..


Name:
Location:
Date: 11/18/2012
Time: 12:35 PM

Comments

Mona, I also have difficulty getting my mother bathed. I find it's easier if I try not to stress about it, and figure she can bathe once a week and be okay. I also read somewhere and tried it (it works) to give in the first time and try again in a few minute. When Mother finally says yes, I have to seize the moment, whatever else I am doing gets dropped. She threatens to hurt me throughout the process and I reassure her that 1) I am doing my best to care for her and 2) She would never want to hurt me. Good luck! It isn't an easy job, this caregiving.


Name: Betty
Location: Seattle, WA
Date: 11/18/2012
Time: 12:15 PM

Comments

Thanks for all you great ideas. I have learned a lot from this Web Site. It has been a god send and I appreciate it as I can't get out to go to a support group


Name: George R.
Location: Hollywood, Fl.
Date: 11/18/2012
Time: 11:55 AM

Comments

I tell my uncle, who has mild to moderate dementia, "we cannot let you go to bed with soiled underwear', you can get skin sores, rashes, and breakouts. Many times he yells at me, but by repeating the message he eventually gets it; I also say, "you can developed a smell, and i don't you dont want that".....When he goes to sleep, I remove the clothing and replace with fresh shirt and pants for tomorrow'.....Don't take their response personal....say things like, "well, I guess I am a boss when it comes to your cleanliness and hygiene"....be consistent, friendly, kind but firm about hygiene...best of luck! george


Name: Joan Lyons
Location: Miami,
Date: 11/18/2012
Time: 11:41 AM

Comments

Mona, The first two months my Mother arrived to live with me with advanced Alzheimer, I too wenet through the frustratinof my Mother not wanting to do anything I asked or "told" her it was time to do. The Key word is "told." I realized that for a peaceful life together I had to use different stratgies and coping skills. I remembered raising my 5 children as toddlers they too balked at being told to do anything. So with my Mother, I never told her todo anything. When it was time for dinner I told her, "Mom, I'm hungry so I'mgoiongto eat." She would reply, "I better eat too." When it was time to go to bed, I'd say, "Mom, I very tired, I had a busyday. I'm going to bed." She'd reply, "I better go to bed too." It worked like a charm. I fnally realized when she said she wanted to go home, home was not a location. Home was where she felt significant and useful. It was then I'd say "Ok, but before you go homewould you help me... fold the napkins, have a cup of coffee, anything that would sound like an invitationto be a part of the family and environment. It was a distraction and she would foget that she wanted to go "home." It's challenging and can be rewarding. Peace and blessings,


Name: Magicgirl
Location: Decatur, Alabama
Date: 11/18/2012
Time: 11:24 AM

Comments

Mona, for you all all others, it might be helpful to tell us what city/state you are in. There could be someone just around your corner that could help you sweetie. I went thru all of this with my Mother. What I learned, and gleaned from reading, is just never argue, try too hard to persuade, etc. If she doesn't want a bath, what's the big deal! Like Marihelen mentioned, I would always wear shorts/t-shirt to bathe my Mom in the shower and had a rubbermaid shower seat for her to sit upon. Several times she mentioned it was embarassing for me to help her on the toilet and to wash her. I would just laugh and remind her that "if I wasn't badly mistaken, she had changed a dirty diaper or two for me, etc." and just gently told her I was doing for her what she used to do for me. When she had the rare angry outbursts, I'd find some way to change the topic, turn the tv on or play some old music to distract her anger and then, she would calm down. Many times, when she could walk, she would go the the locked back door and look at the car in the carport. "That's MY car!" and would try to unlock the door to get to the car. On those times, I would say "Well, let's go for a spin!" Unlock the door and car, strap her in and within just a few miles she was happy and ready to go back home. It is so tiring, I know, to be a caretaker. Especially with this particular disease. It has such unexpected pathways that change quickly. Just go with the flow--agree "You're absolutely right! I understand what you're saying or how you feel......" by the way, do you remember when Aunt Jane was a little girl and (did this or that); anything to get her mind on a different path. The most important thing is to ask for help. Find a support group. Find friends your Mom might remember who will come over for an hour or so and allow you to get out and go get an ice cream cone, or just drive around and scream at the top of your lungs, HA HA. If your Mom attended church, perhaps there are people there that she knows and, IF ASKED!, would be willing to give you a breather. But as far as a bath is concerned, if she doesn' want one, FORGET ABOUT IT! It's causing you useless stress and she could care less. Laugh about it! Please!


Name: Sue
Location: Redmond
Date: 11/18/2012
Time: 09:06 AM

Comments

Go to Seniorhelpers.com, they have a free video that you can get. It will help you understand why your Mother is acting the way she and what you can do different. Contact a local Senior Helpers for help. All their caregivers are trained these methods, and they focus on what your mother can do.


Name: Marianne
Location: Alabama
Date: 11/18/2012
Time: 08:27 AM

Comments

Caregiver support groups can offer great tips. Also consider hiring a home health agency to come in several times week. Those skilled in working with contrary adults can often work miracles. When the elderly or dementia patient realizes they are losing control, one bit of control they maintain is to say "NO" to whatever is going on.


Name: Ann
Location: Kansas
Date: 11/18/2012
Time: 07:41 AM

Comments

I'm so sorry that this has happened to your mother. It happened to my husband, too. I kept a log of the days he didn't bathe. Six days was the record. Finally i had a male aide accompany him to the 'sitting' shower and he didn't resist. This is not necessarily your mom's problem. it's yours. You have been raised in a culture that values cleanliness and regular bathing. A day w/o some bathing means that the person is "Dirty." They are okay, in their mind's eye. You need to rethink your priorities and decide if you're embarrassed by her behavior/smell or worried that mom might get an infection if she isn't clean. She thinks she's okay. A few days of not bathing won't hurt her. But i know how it probably makes you feel......out of control at the moment. I have only one suggestion that might work, and that's getting into the shower with your mother and have her clean your back, help to wash your hair, whatever. The idea being that You need Her and allow her to be 'in control.' Good luck


Name: Debbie
Location: Windsor Canada
Date: 11/18/2012
Time: 07:27 AM

Comments

Dear Mona Often I found they do feel like they are being bossed around and they are trying to hang on to some remnant of control. To support their need for that and dignity I found the most effective method was to offer two choices both of which you could live with. Do not ask her "Do you want to shower?" because it is a yes no, closed question and one of the options is not one you want to live with. Instead ask do you want shower before breakfast or after? Do you want to wear the red shirt today or the blue? Try and give two acceptable options in as many areas as possible. Be creative. Avoid confrontations where it is win/lose. This should help her feel a little more in charge of herself. I hope this helps. God bless you for caring for your Mom. Pray for wisdom.


Name: Marihelen
Location: Brookings, OR
Date: 11/13/2012
Time: 02:48 PM

Comments

At my last Family Caregiver Support Group, I had a local Alzheimer's/dementia caregiver director talk with us, since it is Alzheimer's Awareness Month, as well as Caregiver Recognition Month. She mentioned that there are many times when she & her caregivers have to dress in shorts & t-shirts to actually shower/bathe with the person to remind them 'how to do it'. Great idea !


Name:
Location:
Date: 11/13/2012
Time: 10:57 AM

Comments

Mona I'm sorry your mom is not cooperating, please join a support group they have great ideas and they will be local. I can't imagine having to deal with that. God Bless you and guide you


Name:
Location:
Date: 11/13/2012
Time: 05:41 AM

Comments

Hi Mona, There is help - please contact the Alzheimer's Association 24 hour help line at 1-800-272-3900. What you are going through, sadly, is not unusual, and I know that they will be of help to you. Also, if possible, try to join a local Alzheimer's Association support group. That will also be of great help to you as a caregiver. Take care, Edie


 







 

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