General chatter - Mom is driving me nuts!




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shcirerf
07-23-2013, 12:22 AM
First off, I love my Mother dearly! She's my Mom!

But she is driving me crazy.

She is heavy, and has been as long as I can remember. So be it. She also now due to that has a number of obesity related health issues. So be it.

Non insulin dependent diabetic, high blood pressure, had her gall bladder out, has 3 stints in her heart. Among other things.

Anyway, we had a wedding this last weekend. My nephew, my mothers grand son, it's a 3 hour drive.

I'll skip all the details.

I picked her up Friday evening, we went half way and stayed with my other sis.

Anyway, Mom, refused to take a shower all weekend! The wedding was outside, late Saturday afternoon and it was HOT! The sweat beads were having races down my back!

The point is, given her health issues, not showering, and keeping good hygene in mind is not good for her health, let alone, the fact that several relatives, in the medical field cornered me and asked if she was ok, given that she stunk.

I need some advice on how to approach her, and hopefully not make her madder than a wet hen on butchering day, and get it through her thick head that a shower will not kill you!

She does not like water on her face, in fact in her opinion the only thing water is good for, is making coffee!

She is actually irritated because her 97 year old mother, who still lives at home insists on showering on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday!

My 2 sisters and I are at our wits end. We've hinted, and we've offered to help her. And she still is stubborn as a Missouri Mule in peanut butter that she does not need to shower more than twice a month!:?:

I have to take her to another family wedding at the end of August and I'm dreading it. My car stinks to high heaven from this weekend.

I don't want to be rude, or hurt her feelings, or make her feel bad, she is my Mom and I do love her, but I just don't know what else to do.

If anyone has some advice, I'd be ever grateful!:hug:


MarleneV
07-23-2013, 12:37 AM
Maybe enlist one of those relatives, seeing as she hasn't listened to you or your sisters? Or her own doctor? That's a tough situation, sorry you are having to deal with it.

Trudiha
07-23-2013, 05:16 AM
That's an awful situation to be in, I'm really sorry to hear that. Personally I'd go along the 'no shower, no ride' route but I'm not known for my diplomacy.


EatMoreCelery
07-23-2013, 07:29 AM
She's family ... just tell her outright that she does need to bathe more often because she does omit a strong odor.

If she won't budge there are some no-rinse wash sprays used for bedridden people that might work for her. Most of them are perineal washes but hey, what works for there would work for armpits and etc too.

Seashell84
07-23-2013, 07:34 AM
I agree with eatmorecelery. This is one of those situations where I don't think beating around the bush is going to work.

Wannabeskinny
07-23-2013, 07:55 AM
Was this post written in the year 1732? It find it hard to understand why someone is afraid of showers. It's not the way she was brought up if her 97yr old mother takes regular showers so it must be something else. My immediate response would be not to allow her to attend the wedding and definitely not allow her in the car unless she takes a shower. But addressing this issue for good might mean speaking to a professional because I would suspect only mental illness could cause this sort of response to water. Perhaps she has a phobia of water or is suffering from severe depression. Is there a doctor you can speak to?

NJChick78
07-23-2013, 09:43 AM
I would tell her, I wont take her until she shower and I expect a minimum of 3 showers a week.

We had to tell my elderly Dad, who lives with sis that he is to shower Monday, Wednesday and Friday minimum. He did not want to shower!

We also had to tell him to use soap.

You will have to be firm! You will have to hurt her feelings.

Psychic
07-23-2013, 09:57 AM
Personally, I would just tell her that she needs to bathe more often. There is no excuse for poor hygiene and it can cause other health issues, such as rashes and sores.

Perhaps you could convince her to use baby wipes or bathwipes to at least wipe herself off on the days she does not shower? They also make dry shampoo and scented body powders now to help with the sweat.

Scarlett
07-23-2013, 09:06 PM
I don't have any advice but I wanted to add that I work at a nursing home.

All of the residents have 2 shower days a week (or more if they need it) where the aid helps them bathe. The staff is not allowed to force people to shower if they do not want to. Anyway, it is surprising how many residents do not want to bathe or decline showers. They may say something like "I'm as clean as I want to be." I think it's an old person thing...one that I don't understand either.

AwShucks
07-23-2013, 11:03 PM
My mother doesn't shower often, either. She bathes herself with a wash cloth most days, and showers once a week to wash her short hair. She has back trouble, and has a portable shower chair and we installed a hand held shower in her tub. If she didn't have that, she probably wouldn't shower at all, since she can't stand for very long. I've used the shower at her house, and having a chair is kind of nice. Maybe that would entice your Mom to shower more...making it more comfortable for her.

Also, having one of those "medical" friends prescribe regular bathing might help. My mom says that 50 years ago her doctor told her not to bathe so often because of dry skin. I don't think her skin is still dry, but she hasn't ever forgotten that advice.

shcirerf
07-23-2013, 11:29 PM
Thanks everyone!:hug: I figured "blunt" was gonna be the answer, was just hoping someone might have some magic words! Oh well. It is what it is.

Mom does not like the water. A swimming thing from a long time ago. But the tub/shower is not 5 feet of pool water!:dizzy: She's so weird about water. She does not even like to wash her face with a washcloth.

Anyway, she does have bad knees and back and so on and I know she is also afraid of falling, but in all reality it's a big damn excuse.

So, my sisters and I are going to install a hand rail just outside her tub/shower, get a tub mat or some of those decorative tub things that help with slipping.

She does not know this yet!

It's just not the smelly issue, but with her health issues, she needs to be clean. Diabetics do not need rashes, that can turn into nasty open sores that won't heal.

And, the blunt way it is!

While we're at it, she needs to do something about that beard! And we may as well have my BIL that shoes horses come over and trim her dang toenails. They are SCARY! Should probably be registered as lethal weapons!:D

So, I won't have this conversation over the phone, gonna have to have a sit down! She'll probably be madder than a wet cat on neuter day but oh well!

MariaMaria
07-23-2013, 11:43 PM
While we're at it, she needs to do something about that beard!

So this is about aesthetics, not health?

Get clear in your own mind.

(And try a shower bench in the shower. If she's unsteady on her feet, make it easy for her. Try livingxl dot com for weight-capable benches.)

alaskanlaughter
07-23-2013, 11:59 PM
I don't have much advice but wanted to chime in that i'm another person who absolutely HATES WATER in any form on my body....ugh SHUDDER....I refuse to have water directly hitting my face and will not EVER learn to swim because of it....I shower and keep nicely clean and even go to the pool with the kids but will NOT get my face underwater at all.....just wanted to chime in that your mom isn't the only one with a total dislike for water on herself

Wannabeskinny
07-24-2013, 07:16 AM
Thanks everyone!:hug: I figured "blunt" was gonna be the answer, was just hoping someone might have some magic words! Oh well. It is what it is.

Mom does not like the water. A swimming thing from a long time ago. But the tub/shower is not 5 feet of pool water!:dizzy: She's so weird about water. She does not even like to wash her face with a washcloth.

Anyway, she does have bad knees and back and so on and I know she is also afraid of falling, but in all reality it's a big damn excuse.

So, my sisters and I are going to install a hand rail just outside her tub/shower, get a tub mat or some of those decorative tub things that help with slipping.

She does not know this yet!

It's just not the smelly issue, but with her health issues, she needs to be clean. Diabetics do not need rashes, that can turn into nasty open sores that won't heal.

And, the blunt way it is!

While we're at it, she needs to do something about that beard! And we may as well have my BIL that shoes horses come over and trim her dang toenails. They are SCARY! Should probably be registered as lethal weapons!:D

So, I won't have this conversation over the phone, gonna have to have a sit down! She'll probably be madder than a wet cat on neuter day but oh well!

Older people do have some quirks when it comes to beauty and hygiene but it is important to take care of yourself. Have you spoken to your Mom about the smell? I would really sit down with her and tell her that at the last family functions you got a lot of concerned questions about why she's not keeping herself clean. A little embarassment might help her pull herself up from the bootstraps. It's sad to see a woman just give up on herself, no matter what her age is. My own mother while not quite elderly yet is very good about getting pedicures, depilitating facial hair, looking trendy, brushing and flossing her teeth meticulously and having very good hygiene. Sometimes we go together and if I look a bit of a mess my mother immediately straightens me out. My MIL on the other hand has toenails that grow past the ends of her toes, and they're kind of yellow/green. She too has facial hair, eyebrows that have never seen a tweezer, she'll go years without a haircut, and around the house her clothes are stained so much you'd think she was butchering an animal. Not to mention that she's drenched in sweat at any given moment but at least she bathes. She has 2 young daughters and I always wonder why they don't take their mother to the salon, or tell her to wear some clean clothes or at least bring in a pedicurist to clip her toenails.

I guess my point is that maybe at these family functions people are smelling your mother and asking themselves why YOU let her get this way. But please don't discount the mental aspect to this. There might be some kind of depression at play.

Song of Surly
07-24-2013, 09:14 AM
She'll probably be madder than a wet cat on neuter day but oh well!

I don't have very much advice, but I have to say, as some one who loves a good saying, that I'm going to have to steal this one. :D

My boyfriend's mother is having a bit of the same issue with her mother, but her mother is in the early stages of alzheimers. They put in one of those expensive, tall tubs with the seat in it (with jets and all), and she still tries not to bathe regularly. It's been a bit better since the installation, however, so I think maybe adding some incentives, like the bath mat and rail, as you mentioned, can't hurt.

My boyfriend's mother basically just has to tell her mother that it's time to take a bath - almost like a child. She's still very lucid, however, but for some reason, my boyfriend's mother's no-nonsense tone makes for very few fights. There's not a lot of drama, because my boyfriend's mother doesn't make it dramatic.

NJChick78
07-24-2013, 11:44 AM
My friend's mom had funky toenails. We surprised her with a pedicure. She had no idea, we took a group of us girls so we could pressure her and she could not say no. My friend also lied and told her it was prepaid and she'd lose the money if she didn't do it.

So...she got the pedicure. Her feet soaked in the water with the jets, nails nicely trimmed, feet massaged. She ended up enjoying it.

I agree with the shower chair/bench. Call it a "spa chair". Be blunt, tell her she stinks and other people noticed it. Set rules like no going in the car without a shower. She can't smell herself.

Another friend of mine, his Mom got yeast infections under her breasts from not showering regularly.

patns
07-24-2013, 12:03 PM
You didn't mention how old your mother is, but as her mother is 97 and still living at home your mom likely has a long time to go yet.

We had the same difficulty with my mom but she is very elderly, she finally had to go into assisted living last year at 88.
She had not been showering or washing her clothes and refused to allow anyone in to help her.

As the previous poster who worked in a nursing home mentioned you cannot make anyone take a bath etc who doesn't want it.

Over a period of time her caregivers worked out her issues which were more than one. First was just the amount of effort bathing or showering takes when you are frail. Also she was scared she would fall or that she couldn't control the water temperature.
My brother had to co-share the cost of getting a walk in tub in her room because she refused to move to another room that already had this. She gradually got enough trust in her caregivers to let them help her with a shower but wouldn't let them wash her hair. Finally she said it was because she hated how it just hung there when it dried, so my sister arranged for her to go to the hairdresser in the facility twice a week after a shower.
So the reasons she wouldn't shower were more complex than we thought and that is not going into the uproar she caused about letting her clothes go to be washed.

I think a big reason is the sense of smell goes with age and she didn't realize she smelled bad.
But it took more staff than the queen has to get this less than 90 pound elderly lady to bathe!

Wannabeskinny
07-24-2013, 12:59 PM
You didn't mention how old your mother is, but as her mother is 97 and still living at home your mom likely has a long time to go yet.

We had the same difficulty with my mom but she is very elderly, she finally had to go into assisted living last year at 88.
She had not been showering or washing her clothes and refused to allow anyone in to help her.

As the previous poster who worked in a nursing home mentioned you cannot make anyone take a bath etc who doesn't want it.

Over a period of time her caregivers worked out her issues which were more than one. First was just the amount of effort bathing or showering takes when you are frail. Also she was scared she would fall or that she couldn't control the water temperature.
My brother had to co-share the cost of getting a walk in tub in her room because she refused to move to another room that already had this. She gradually got enough trust in her caregivers to let them help her with a shower but wouldn't let them wash her hair. Finally she said it was because she hated how it just hung there when it dried, so my sister arranged for her to go to the hairdresser in the facility twice a week after a shower.
So the reasons she wouldn't shower were more complex than we thought and that is not going into the uproar she caused about letting her clothes go to be washed.

I think a big reason is the sense of smell goes with age and she didn't realize she smelled bad.
But it took more staff than the queen has to get this less than 90 pound elderly lady to bathe!

I know this sound strange but I find this topic fascinating, I'm always thinking about what I will be like when I get elderly. Why doesn't she want her clothes washed?

My Grandmother is in her 80s and she has really good hygiene. However years ago we made improvements to her house. We built a bathroom inside the house but she still prefers to use and bathe in the outhouse in the back. Modern toilets seem to frighten her.

MarjorieMargarine
07-25-2013, 09:44 AM
I think you need to talk to your mom's doctor about this. I know you said she's never really liked water, but this no-showering-ever thing seems more recent. It could be a sign of something else going on. Her doctor needs to know about it, and he can bring it up with her so you don't necessarily have to and maybe it will carry more weight. I think you should call him before your mom's next appointment and tell him you're concerned about her. He will also be able to tell her that she needs to take care of her hygiene for medical reasons. She might also be more honest with him about why she doesn't want to bathe.

CIELOARGE
07-26-2013, 03:08 PM
It is sad to see older women let themselves go. My mom is not even that old (just turned 50) but I had to tell her plain and simple "please dress better and take care of yourself", she does shower twice a day, so hygiene is not a problem, but comestic things like waxing eyebrows, fixing hair, putting a bra on!! She is a young and attractive woman and I just feel bad that she doesn't want to put some effort on herself. She is getting better, and is now always well put together when I am around (mostly because she doesn't want to take crap from me) she also asks me to take her to wax her eyebrows and get manicures.

My MIL is super obese and looks like a homeless person, always stinking and dirty... Her husband constantly tells her how bad she looks, but I think she is depress and just gave up. Unfortunally, she doesn't have daughters, but her mom is a very well put together lady and always looking good, so when she is around she helps her to get somewhat better... But once she is gone, she goes back to her homeless-looking self.

Maybe sometimes I come across as a big b, but it works and I know she feels better when she looks good ;)

kaplods
07-26-2013, 05:40 PM
When I was at my heaviest and sickest, showering was a very upsetting and exhausting ordeal. I needed a shower bench and hubby's help getting in and out of the shower. Showering wore me out for the rest of the day.

Even now that I don't need assistance or the bench, showering can be a bit disconcerting as our tub floor can get very slippery. Non slip mats are some help, and so are shower or water shoes (those I've only used at the gym, but I've been tempted to use them at home as well.