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    Advice on getting my grandmother to shower
    rohvannyn posted:
    Now this is a bit second hand but I wanted to ask for advice anyway.

    My grandmother is 93, going on 94, and in this last year she's started declining quite a bit so she has a lot of memory problems and confusion. I have a long distance relationship with her.

    She's visiting my parents, 2000 miles or so away, so I can't be there. She's been there two weeks and hasn't taken even one shower. They put in a grab bar and such so it's a safe environment. My mother refuses to talk to her about it and has asked my dad to do that - my mom still is kind of under her mom's thumb and is extremely uncomfortable with this kind of thing.

    My dad is going to talk to my grandma about it, politely and gently, but I wanted to know if anyone had advice on how to bring this kind of thing up? Physically forcing her isn't an option, obviously, but has anyone been in this situation?
    katato responded:
    I care for my mother in law, same age.
    Her sense of smell is gone so she doesn't know when she isn't fresh, making it difficult to get her in the shower.
    We have the grab, bar but also put in a hand held shower head and a white, resin patio chair for her to sit on. All helpful but you still need to get her in.
    If you have Visiting Angels in your area you may want to call them. We love them, they will do many things for you including bathing. If she thinks it's something her doctor recommends and the Certified Nurses Assistant comes to do it, maybe she will comply.
    Good luck, it's no fun asking them to do something they just no longer feel like doing but still need tol
    Dave Balch replied to katato's response:
    Has she given a reason why she won't bathe? I didn't see anything in your post that would indicate that she has refused, so perhaps it is because she hasn't thought of it and everyone else is afraid to tell her!

    Assuming that that is oversimplified, I think that the first thing you must do is find out why. Perhaps her objection is over something that can be corrected or due to a misunderstanding of some sort.
    rohvannyn replied to Dave Balch's response:
    My folks aren't used to having to tell anyone to do basic things like that, so part of it is that they didn't mention it yet at the time I wrote that. As of now, I know they've mentioned it, sort of on the basis of "I know it's easy to forget about this but you need to take a shower." I don't know if she's done it yet though. I get the distinct impression that the family member my grandmother usually lives with is much more proactive and basically just tells her what to do all the time. At this point, I can see why. I really think the main reason she hasn't showered is she's losing all sense of time and may think she has showered when she really hasn't.
    Dave Balch replied to rohvannyn's response:
    One thing you mentioned really got my attention: "...basically just tells her what to do." Some people simply don't like being told what to do because it leaves them feeling like they have no control over their life. My experience has been that such a person may do just the opposite out of a sort of rebellion.

    Do you think that this might apply to your grandmother?

    We still don't know for sure, though, whether she simply refuses or if she is unaware that she needs to shower.
    rohvannyn replied to Dave Balch's response:
    I think it's the opposite. My grandmother now seems to be used to being told what to do, by the relative she normally lives with. She goes and visits my folks for a few weeks, and they are used to asking or gently reminding, not really putting their feet down. My mother especially is incapabe of confronting her mother about anything, because she's still stuck in her childhood mindset.

    In either case, my grandmother is leaving them tomorrow to go back to where she normally lives, so regardless she'll get a shower then. Thanks for your advice.
    rohvannyn replied to rohvannyn's response:
    Well, my grandma finally took her shower- a couple days after my folks talked to her about it, and it was a short one, but she did it. That's progress.

    Now my folks may end up being the ones to care for her! I rather hope not, but if that's the case, I'll probably be on here looking for more advice.
    rohvannyn replied to rohvannyn's response:
    Update: Over the weekend, my grandmother decided to live with my folks. So I'll probably be asking more advice on their behalf!
    atti_editor replied to rohvannyn's response:
    Glad to have you as part of the community! Hope everything goes well with your grandmother's move!
    rohvannyn replied to atti_editor's response:
    Thanks for that! Things have been pretty much transferred but now there's difficulty with getting her stuff from the family members they used to live with.

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