If your aging parents who used to wear makeup, bathe everyday, or refuse to wear a wrinkled shirt suddenly stops taking care of themselves, it’s wise to rule out depression first. A simple checkup with a doctor is a good idea, especially if low energy seems to be part of this change in behavior or they just don’t seem to be interested in much of anything anymore.
There are numerous reasons that elderly is reluctant to bathe and change their clothes regularly:-
Our loved aging parents may feel that they all the time at home and not doing lots of activities. Their days aren’t marked with tons of activities as they were when they were younger. If there isn’t something special about Saturday, well, it might as well be Sunday or Friday. It can be easy to simply lose track of time and not realize how long it’s been since they showered. Furthermore, if there isn’t company coming over or an outing coming up, then what’s the point of exerting the energy to get all gussied up and just sit around the house?
Solution: See if you can get a close friend to call and extend an invitation out to lunch or some other gathering that requires a bit of primping. A reason to get cleaned up for someone besides family can sometimes do the trick.
Bribery may seem childish, but the promise of a special treat, such as dinner at their favorite restaurant on their weekly bath day, can also be a powerful motivator.
2. Seniors get cold much more easily.
The elderly have very sensitive skin and may feel pressure and/or cold differently than we younger folk do. Once they feel cold especially in the morning, then they reluctant to bathe.
3. Dulling Senses
When you reach your aging parents' house, your nose may easily pick up on the odors of urine, old sweat and feces, but our elders may not even aware of it. They are especially “nose blind” to their own smell and that of their home. This is because their senses are not as acute as they once were. With the aging process comes a weakening of the senses, especially one’s sense of smell. Many seniors begin showering and changing less frequently because it is harder for them to notice the tell-tale scent of body odor or the stains on their clothing that indicate it’s time for a wash-up and a load of laundry.
4. Fear of fall in the bathroom
The bathroom can be a scary place for many seniors. The possibility of a bruised ego, a broken hip, or even a permanent change in mobility is enough to deter anyone from stepping into the tub.
They may tire out quickly and lose the sense of balance and range of motion they once had. If someone must help them bathe, there is a loss of dignity involved. Joint pain and lower energy levels can make doing laundry and changing clothes a real hassle.
Solution: Make sure the bathroom is safe - use bath chairs, non-slip mats/appliques, grab bars. If they don't feel safe, they will not bathe.
5. Cognitive Impairment
Dementia progresses the elder person can not remember all the "steps" necessary to take a shower, so it's just too confusing and they just don't do it anymore.
Conditions that cause cognitive impairment are often accompanied by depression, difficult behavioral changes, sensitivity to stimuli and an inability to keep track of time. When these things combine, it can cause a loved one to refuse to bathe or mistakenly think that they have already bathed for days, weeks or months on end.
Solution: Your elderly parents can have their hair done at the hair dressers once a week or twice a week. Can consider sign up a monthly package with hair dresser by using your own shampoo and condition.
If their depression/anxiety is significantly impairing their ability to care for themselves, speak with a doctor to see if an anti-anxiety can be prescribed and taken before the shower.
Begin with just asking to wipe off your loved one’s face. If they are receptive, gradually move to cleaning their under arms and other parts of the body, all while talking to them and telling them what you are doing as you go. Be soothing. If they fight it or say stop, then stop. You can always try again later. These little victories can function as a stopgap between full baths or showers.
6. Too control by own daughter and son
We as caregivers and family members can nag all they want, but the more you pester them, the more they resist. They may react with a remark like, “This younger generation is trying to take over everything. Well, they aren’t telling me when to shower, that’s for sure!”