Saturday, March 16, 2013

dirty girl

When Mom was living at home and dementia had started to take hold, she would often go for days at a time without showering. This was very unusual behavior for my Mother, as she was always the first one into the shower every morning.

When Mom moved into her assisted living residence, her aides would prompt her every few days to take a shower. They would lay out her towel and clean clothes in the bathroom and see that she at least got wet.

Last summer, as Mom's mobility got worse and worse, I realized that the aides were providing much more hands-on help to Mom, in the shower.

Now the angry woman is back. She is yelling and screaming. She is lashing out at her aides. She won't get into the shower. She won't get into the big spa-type bathtub.  She won't let the hairdresser at the salon wash her hair. She has become mean and nasty to everyone.

Her aide called to tell me of this problem. I had seen Mom's stringy hair on more and more of my visits.
"I'm sorry she is being so nasty. Just please do the best you can."
"Don't you worry, we'll keep her clean."  the aide reassured me, she was not at all flustered, and was speaking of it as if it was a fun challenge. (Did I tell you I think Mom's aides are amazing?!)

At my visit yesterday, I took her aide aside and asked how the bathing battle was going.  She said that they are now giving Mom a mini-shower/ sponge bath while she is seated on the commode. And that Mom was accepting it.  Hurray for ingenious aides!

Mom's bathroom has a walk-in shower stall with grab bars, a fold down bench, and a detachable handheld shower-head. The toilet is high and also has grab bars. The sink is also a bit high and has knee space under it for a wheelchair.  The sink faucets are easy to use.  I have noticed that you can not stopper the sink, to prevent overflows. And that you cannot get really hot water from the sink, to prevent scalding. Maybe the next feature they should implement in their bathrooms is a totally tiled floor with a center drain. For people like my Mom, who would rather bathe outside the box.

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