What to Do When a Senior Loved One Refuses to Bathe or Change Their Clothes
Possible Reasons for Their Refusal
The following are possible reasons why your elderly loved one might be refusing to bathe or change their clothes:
- Depression: If a loved one suddenly refuses to take care of themselves, it is wise to rule out depression first. It’s ideal to schedule an appointment with your doctor, particularly if low energy seems to be part of this change in behavior.
- Control: People lose more and more control over their lives as they age. Personal hygiene is one thing that seniors tend to keep a tight grip on for as long as possible. Therefore, they may resist when family members pester them about it.
- Dulling senses: As people age, their ability to sense may decline. Therefore, our elders may not even notice many stomach-turning scents such as odors of urine, old sweat and feces.
- Boredom: Unfortunately, many seniors days don’t have tons of activities as they did when they were younger. Therefore, it can be easy for them to lose track of how long it has been since they showered.
- Fear and discomfort: For many seniors, the bathroom can be a scary place. It contains many hard and slick surfaces that can make it an ideal setting for a fall. The possibility of falling can result in fear and discomfort of performing routine hygiene activities.
- Cognitive impairment: Poor hygiene is an extremely common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
So, What Do You Do in This Situation?
The first thing to do is to discuss the situation with your senior loved one. Discussing good hygiene and the health and safety issues that go along with it is the ideal first step to take.
Often times, our elderly loved ones just need a friendly reminder of the importance of basic self-care. It is in their own best interest to maintain good bathing and dressing habits. However, it may be easy for them to lose sight of this fact. Having a two-way discussion is more effective than simply making demands. Therefore, we recommend asking questions and addressing concerns.
Make sure to be kind, gentle and respectful with seniors while trying to remedy poor hygiene.
Rather than talking down to senior loved ones and threatening ultimatums as punishment, show genuine concern for their happiness and well-being.
Contact HomeSpark for In-Home Care Services
These are just the basics of what to do when a senior loved one refuses to bathe or change their clothes. However, no matter what you do some seniors will still refuse to listen. In these situations, our team here at HomeSpark is here to help.
We provide non-medical in-home care services in Bryan/College Station. Our in-home care services allow your senior loved one to receive day-to-day help with the personal care they need.
Our Bryan/College Station in-home caregivers can empower and redirect your senior loved ones in their personal care. We train our caregivers to handle these services with respect to ensure the dignity of our clients. Contact us with to schedule your in-home care services with us today!