Alzheimer's Care

Thursday, 27 February 2014

What Should I Do When My Parents Won’t Shower or Change Clothes?

It’s hard for us to believe that our parents may not to care about their hygiene. But this problem is far more common than people think. There may be some underlying issues causing them to disregard their personal cleanliness and refusing to take showers and wear clean clothes.

If we have a parent who no longer takes an interest in staying clean or wearing clean clothes, it's wise to look at depression first. A checkup with a doctor is a good idea, especially if low energy is also part of it, or if they just don't care about anything at all. Depression isn't always obvious to an observer.

Lack of Control
As people age, they lose more and more control over their lives. But one thing they generally can control is dressing and showers. The more they are nagged, the more they resist. "This younger generation is trying to take over everything. Well, they aren't telling me when to shower, that's for sure. Besides, I'm just fine!"

Decreased Sense of Smell
What your nose picks up as old sweat, they don't even notice. Not on themselves. Not on their mate. Their senses are not as acute as yours, or as theirs once were.

Memory Loss 
The days can go by unnoticed when there isn’t a tons of activities as they were when they were young. If there isn't something special about Wednesday, well – it could be Tuesday or Thursday. They simply lose track of time and don't realize how long it's been since they showered.

Fear or Discomfort
The older adults get the more uncomfortable they are with taking risk. Falling in the shower or tripping on the tub can become a fear.  More serious is when a person with Alzheimer's or dementia is in the bathroom and doesn't understand why there is water running on them, or believes the drain that may suck them down. They just don't understand what is going on.

Look for the signs from your aging parents and be aware of their habits. If you feel it may be time for a caregiver please contact Desert Care Management at 480-804-7200. Proactive care planning for someone you care about can help prevent emergencies and accidents, thus allowing your loved one to remain safe and independent for as long as possible. Visit our website for more information.