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    • CommentAuthoroakridge
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2018
     
    I am not able to discuss this problem with anyone, hopefully someone here has found a solution. My husband, 80, has had MCI for a number of years, as he got worse we met with a neuropsychologist to determine if there was any medication that could help him. However, the minute the doctor said alzheimers he left and refuses to go back. He does not want to have to accept it.

    He refuses to shave, shower or put on clean clothes... generally refuses to keep himself clean. He has leaking urine due to earlier surgeries, although he wears pads, he frequently overflows and his clothes become wet, even times when his chair is wet. Anytime I can smell him I raise a fuss till he does change.....he doesn't seem to be aware of it most times. He does not want to go anyplace because of this problem - and there is no male close that I can ask for help.

    This has hurt me more than most anything. Prior to retiring, he was a very powerful man, sought out as a speaker etc, and always was immaculate. Now he looks and smells like a skid row bum and it is unpleasant to be near him. When I talk with him he just shrugs and says he'll stay away from me. Sooo very frustrating and although I read this is common, and see tips for dealing with a female, nothing on a solution with your husband. I love this man, but feel like I have already lost my husband and would love to be able to be closer to him again.
  1.  
    When I placed my husband in a dementia unit I found out that they only shower the residents twice a week. Dementia patients do become afraid of water. The young aides who work in these units are not well trained and especially not very good at handling the men.

    Fortunately I had a very good Alzheimer's case manager who arranged for a male aide from the hospital (he worked in the psych unit) to come in and teach the aides in the unit how to shower my husband. The bad news is that the turnover of aides was so great, that we would just get a couple trained and then they would be gone. The good news is that I was able to hire this aide to stop on his way home from work and shower my husband every day. It only took 15-30 minutes, but it was worth every penny. The aide also had a wonderful way with the staff and acted as a go-between when issues arose. My husband always accepted the shower because he was showered every day. He did not want the young female aides attending to him but he readily accepted the male aide.

    Every patient is different, but husbands can resent being bossed around by their wives, no matter how good the intentions. Perhaps you could look into having an aide come in to help shower your husband. Also, some day care programs provide showering, but you have to ask.

    This is so hard and all of us on this site sympathize with what you are going through because we have been down that road. It helps if you read through the old threads and start making lists of the suggestions and then try everything. Some things will work, others not so much. This site is a goldmine of information because most of the problems and behaviors have been problem-solved by someone since 2008. Good luck. Keep us posted on how you are doing.
    • CommentAuthorbhv
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2018
     
    Hi Oakridge. My hb sounds similar. He was a.pilot and was always clean shaven, showered and smelled good. Now he doesn't like anything to do with washing. It took me awhile but I decided not to worry about the showering unless he stunk up the place. If he refused to.shower I wouldn't take him with me. He has real.diffi ulty washing his hair and it gets greasy after just one day. Well I am not willing to.shave him and wash his hair every day.

    I started placing a towel under the sheets where his head is to try to protect the mattress protector. I wash his hair in the kitchen sink when I can't stand it any more. I use shampoo on his pillow case and shirts to cut the grease. Put a line of shampoo on the collar, or whatever, and rub it into a.lather as the washer fills. It helps.a lot. I found a tray online for washing hair in the sink. If you can't find it, write back here and I will look it up. Some people use dry shampoo, but I didn't get much sucess with that.

    I have been helping him shave for quite some time. I imagine it would be easier if I did it every day. I don't though. I do it when I feel like it or if he complains about it. I use a beard trimmer to get it short. He is mostly able to put on shaving cream, although that is becoming difficult. He can shave with the razor, but I clean them with a toothbrush as he goes along. Am still figuring out when to change the blades. Tried electric razor, but he wasn't happy with that.

    In the summer it is a bit better because we have a pool and swim every day. In winter I suggest he take a shower because he is stinking up the place or before we go see his doctor or go somewhere else. Last year I was not always successful getting him to do that. Now he is a bit more amenable. It depends if I can make my voice sound nice enough for his majesty. Lately he has been pooping in his pants and I can sometimes get him to take a shower after that. If not I insist on cleaning the poop off his butt. For a long time he would refuse to give the undies and eventually would throw them in my face. This year not so much of that. And he seems to be getting used to me cleaning up his butt and balls. Oh joy. How can I find the words to thank his majesty for that priviledge?

    Some people here talk about showering multiple times a week. I am stunned. When we were kids, water was expensive and we'd all take a bath once a week Saturday night, to be clean for church on Sunday. Daily showers weren't the norm til I was in high school. Now, for my hb, once or twice a month perhaps.

    Now he needs more help in there. I have to put the soap in his hand, push his head under the shower head to rinse the soap if I got him to wash the hair. Sometimes I have to reach in there ti clean is butt if he didn't manage that. Soon I will get him a chair and a hand held shower head so I can just do it for him.
    • CommentAuthorbhv
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2018 edited
     
    -2
    I was shocked when I offered to wash is hair in the sink, he had a huge smile and said he would like that. He gets excited everytime I offer to do that. Weird.

    Personally, at this point, I wouldn't care if he grew a beard or mustache, but he doesn't seem interested. When I notice he is rubbing his chin I offer to get him a good shave. It took a few times before he would let me help, but now he gets all excited when I ask him that. I wouldn't try using the razor blades myself. When he can't do that anymore it will be the electric razor or nothing.

    I asked the barber if they would wash his hair and shave but they didn't do that. I am sure somewhere someone does that, but so far, we do an adequate job together.
  2.  
    Also, check a medical supple store or online for washable and waterproof seat pads to put on chairs. There are all sorts of inventive supplies available for incontinence.
    If your husband isn't in drawstring or elastic waistband pants yet, you might want to be switching him over. The collective wisdom here is that when you make a change like changing the pants style, get rid of all of the old stuff so there is no choice. Same goes for underwear. If you switch him to Depends (and they look somewhat like regular underwear) replace everything in the drawer with the new stuff. Don't say "I got you new underwear." Say, "Oh look, there is new underwear here. I guess that means you should use this." Take yourself out of every sentence so he doesn't associate you with the change. Be surprised, yet matter-of-fact. You can still use the male pads in the Depends, BTW.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2018
     
    Oakridge, Try an electric shaver. I started using one very early on. I sat him on a kitchen counter-height stool and I was very attentive and admiring. It became a ritual and he enjoyed it. When I hired an aide, she started doing it, too. Every few weeks I took him to a barber.

    Bvh's advice about the shower is good. I used a variation of that. I laid out clean skivvies in the bathroom, turned on the water in the shower, made my husband get in, and then left him to it taking the dirty clothes with me. (He did not want me to stay.) The results varied but he was usually reasonably clean.

    Bvh, Even where water was plentiful, most of our generation bathed weekly when we were children. Every night, we washed our faces and (if we had gone barefoot) our feet. After they are out of diapers and before they enter puberty, children do not usually need a bath or shower every day.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2018
     
    Some here have used bribery to get them to shower, you just have to have a husband/wife that loves something enough to shower to get it. I am fortunate that I get mine to shower once a week. I just tell him it is shower and clean clothes day.
    • CommentAuthoroakridge
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2018
     
    Thanks everyone. Some of the tips I have tried, haven't yet found anything he wants bad enough to bribe him with. I would be thrilled with once a week, or every two weeks but he simply doesn't want to and refuses, it feels like dealing with a tall 2 yr old but I can't just pick him up and put him in :) We have tried the depends but he doesn't like them. The pads work if he changes frequently but says that's too expensive. I assure him we can afford all he needs but again, it's something he just doesn't want to do for some reason. I'll keep trying all the hints.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2018
     
    Oakridge, Just like Marche, I just threw out the old underwear. It did not exist anymore. Only thing available was the depends and pads. Same when it was hard to buckle or button slacks. The old ones just disappeared.The new slacks just appeared. My answer to where they went would have been a shrug and to say "You tell me" or "this is all I could find so this is what we'll have to use today".
  3.  
    Hi Oakridge--welcome to our merry band here in Happy Hollow--the club nobody wants to join. As you can see by the star next to my name, my husband died in 2014. I still drop by to see if I can help with anything. First of all--and I'm a good example of this--the misery doesn't last forever, although it seems like it does. And guess what--there really is a life afterward--a good life. So having said that...my husband was 25 years older than I, and I took care of him over a 14-year span--from the first worrying signs of MCI/dementia through the progression of full-blown Alzheimers, to a soul-killing, body-killing last four months of Hospice in our home. But I'm a registered nurse, with around 20 years of hospital experience and 20 years of home care work as a public health nurse. So I knew how to do it, knew how to ask for help, and was physically capable of doing it...just barely. It's best to research care options early, because it's just about impossible to keep an Alzheimers client at home and take care of them single handedly. There are some great suggestions for incontinent care and personal care upthread, and here is what worked for me..some of this will be repetitive.

    When my handsome, well-dressed, immaculate husband started to smell--to turn on the shower and then turn it off without actually getting under the water--to wash his hair with my conditioner and not rinse it out--to put his dirty clothes back on instead of changing--I was still going out to work in the mornings. So I hired a private-pay aide to "help me clean the house"--and of course she did a little of that--but her main job, as she well knew, was to get DH in the shower every day and make sure he was decently-groomed and in clean clothes. She was a mature, down-to-earth middle-aged woman with years of experience, and she was able to keep him reasonably clean and nicely dressed. He would never have allowed me to do it, but he liked attention and liked to look nice, so with some static and back-talk he did allow the care most of the time.

    As the incontinence became worse, and went from stained underwear to full-out soaking urine and poop, I got seat protectors for his chair, got elastic waist slacks (like sweatpants--just cheap things and easy to wash), and tried different incontinence products. I think I tried them all. He always liked his own underwear better, so as others have also done, I just threw it all away--incontinent briefs became his only choice. It is very hard to find them with a functional fly, btw, and he didn't like the fact that he had to pull them up and down for urination. When he was incontinent of stool, I just took the easy way out and stuck them in a grocery bag and threw them away. Couldn't really afford to do that, but at that point I immediately went to disposables--for him, the Depends brand that looked like real underwear worked the best. You need to stock up on all the things you need to manage the incontinence--wet wipes, paper towels, Clorox bleach wipes (for clean-up of fixtures, not for cleaning him), plastic grocery bags for discards, vinyl or nitrile gloves for yourself, Vicks Vaporub to put under your nose because of the smell, an odor-remover spray for the area. If you aren't doing the incontinent care yourself, you need these things for your aide. If you have access to two bathrooms, make one "yours" and one "his." You may also want to keep your linens--towels and such--separate from his, and separate your laundry, too, if you can.

    Life actually got easier in a way when he deteriorated all of a sudden four months before he died, and ended up pretty much total care--wheelchair or bed-bound--couldn't walk--the work was 24/7 and backbreaking, but at least we pretty much had total control over him.

    Oh, and if it has not been mentioned, you definitely need to have a hand-held shower in the bathroom. Much easier to wash and rinse his private areas.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    People keep mentioning it and you might try the hand held shower. Fear of water, especially on their face is very common.
    • CommentAuthorbhv
    • CommentTime7 days ago edited
     
    This morning hb didn't get out of bed. He usually gets up before I do. After an hour I decided to.check.and also get my shoes to go out. He hasn't been snoring lately. Wonder what.that's about. I found myself thinking perhaps he died. That's how unusual it is that he was still in bed an hour after I got up. I was seriously disappointed to find he was.still.breating. But he still.didn't get up. So I left a note on the counter and went out to get a.smog check on his stupid truck that he won't let me get rid of and for which they just doubled the registration fee...

    It turned out to be a pure delight driving by myself. My auto shop neighbor wasn't there, but his assistant remembered me and my truck and read the codes to make sure it would pass. I went out to McDonald's and had breakfast and coffee while they worked on it. I haven't been to McDonalds in years. It was nice and clean and the food tasted great!

    I ran a bunch of other errands. Came home and the place smelled like an out house. Welcome home. Poop.spread all over two bathrooms. Fortunately not on the new carpet that was finally installed on Monday!

    I got him upstairs and into the shower. What an experience. For the first time I got a soapy wash cloth into his hands and he actualy used it to clean the poop off his privates. Yeah! He and his father.would just use their hands and some soap. He has no idea how to wash his hands or use a washcloth. But he seems to be learning about the pleasures f washcloths from the times I use them to clean his butt. Interestng that he can learn that. I have tried one of those poufs, but no dice.

    Surprisingly.all.of that mess and clean up did not negate the positive feelings from escaping for the morning.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    Great job on taking the time for yourself. I sure hope you get more opportunities to do it again.
    • CommentAuthorbhv
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    I forgot to tell the funniest part. He couldnt seem to figure out how to turn off the water so I reached in and turned it off. Howling! Don't do that he screams. I ask do you need more water? No he screams. So I hand him his towel. When I turn back his towel is hung over the shower door and he is still in there. Are you done? Yes. Well why don't you come out here and dry off. More screaming. No idea what about. So I open the door. He doesn't want his towel. He looks afraid to come out. Finally, gingerly steps out. He is obsessed with combing his hair so I dry him off.

    I know I shouldnt laugh. Not his fault, it is the disease, ad infinitum. It just struck my funny bone with him standing I the shower refusing to come out.
    • CommentAuthoroakridge
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    Thanks to each one of you for taking the time to tell me your experiences and what worked for you. I have made some of those adjustments already, but still need to get a hand held shower for him. At this point we only have to deal with the urine, thank goodness, We only have one bathroom downstairs so is a chore to keep it clean and not smelling like an outhouse. I do not know what gives his urine such a strong smell, definitely one of the questions I have when he has his annual physical in March. When I walk in and get hit with that terrible smell, I know he has dropped a used pad in the trash can.

    I had my physical on friday and was able to talk with our doctor some more. She had found a support group for me, however it was mainly individuals taking care of parents, much different needs. I told her about finding this site and how we were able to discuss problems, that we all have to deal with, and get good feedback - and more, a place to vent without knocking my head against the wall. She was very encouraging, said any place you can relieve some of the pressure is wonderful. I'm so lucky we have her. I talked to his former doctor for several years about his declining memory and was just put off, saying it's just he's getting old. I knew the difference, having dealt with my Mother and Sister.

    I'm going to continue this on a new thread, Do Doctors really listen.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    My husband's urine smells too. I can always tell when he has been in there to pee. I have no idea why. The only thing he takes different from me is omeprazole for his reflux. I don't think that would cause it since he had the odor before starting it. Must be something the disease does to their system.
  4.  
    A urinary tract infection can be one cause of really foul smelling urine.
    • CommentAuthorRodstar43
    • CommentTime5 days ago
     
    ttt
    • CommentAuthorRodstar43
    • CommentTime4 days ago
     
    ttt
    • CommentAuthoroakridge
    • CommentTime1 day ago
     
    Hi gourdchipper, yes I learned about UTIs a few months ago. For three weeks he was getting worse by the day, scared the heck out of me. By chance one morning he mentioned when he used the bathroom it burned. Got hold of the dr and took him right in. Yes - UTI was the cause. In fact I learned that when a patient in a nursing home starts to act differently, they immediately check for UTI. What I didn't know, and still not quite sure of, is since the symptoms do not show in older patients or in ways that aren't immediately noticeable - how do I tell that's what it is as opposed to just bad days? I do check his temp more often.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTime1 day ago
     
    ttt
  5.  
    Oakridge, sometimes it is an art, not a science. But you will probably be able to sift out the difference between confusion from an infection and "a bad day" going on, because you know him so well. And he may be more incontinent of urine than usual, or may be "going" more often and with a sense of urgency... with it having a bad smell, or looking darker or rustier. Of course if he says it burns, that is a sign of UTI right there. Many times the elderly can have an infectious process going on, and don't spike a temp, so taking his temperature will probably be of limited usefulness. (I'm not saying not to take it--just that it may not reveal the infection. Children will spike really high, but adults and the elderly don't.)
  6.  
    oakridge, you can buy AZO UTI test strips OTC at the pharmacy and test at home, without requiring a trip to the doctor or lab every time he acts weird. If the strips do indicate a UTI, then you'll still need a trip to the doctor for an antibiotic prescription; however toward the end my wife was having such frequent UTIs that the doctor just went ahead and prescribed daily doses -- can't remember the medical term -- not therapeutic doses, but something like that.
    • CommentAuthoroakridge
    • CommentTime23 hours ago
     
    Always such good information!! Can't call the DR every time he has a bad day :) In fact I've learned if I just let him do what he wants - within reason - we can avoid a bad day getting worse.

    I've never heard of the AZO UTI test strips but will certainly get some when I go to town next week. Does anyone know if there is any product like Depends that are closer to normal briefs? We've tried the Depends and of course he doesn't like them, says they are too thick. I've seen very good looking products for women but nothing for men. Someplace I saw some advertised for men that are like normal briefs but have a large pad in the middle. I think they were washable and you just inserted a new pad.

    I'm guilty of sometimes trying to reason with him - It's hard to look at him and not think this is still my husband. Thanks for all the information and advice on handling problems. When something happens I check the board and find someone else is dealing with the same problem.
    • CommentAuthoroakridge
    • CommentTime21 hours ago
     
    Found the washable, reusable briefs online. Wearever seems to be the preferred brand, and can be found at amazon.com. Looks like it would be perfect but in reading through the reviews it has some disadvantages if you need max coverage.

    Plus these are expensive - $28 each. I guess as long as he can take care of it himself, we'll stay with the pads inside regular briefs. But if the time comes that I have to change them we'll find something else :)
    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTime21 hours ago
     
    Perhaps by the time he needs something else, he may not mind or even notice the Depends. When I tried the Depends for my husband I didn't know how he would react, but he didn't even notice. Now, if I would have tried the Depends a few months before it may have mattered, but who knows. Often we remember our husbands as they use to be, so we assume they would not like certain products, but the disease progresses & we can't always know exactly where their head is at. My husband declined rapidly last year, so it was difficult for me to know how he would react, until I actually tried different things. One time I had a female worker come in to give him a shower & she asked me if he would mind. I had no idea. She wanted me to stay in the bathroom in case there was a problem. She washed him everywhere, including private parts & he didn't mind at all. I was shocked & happy. Time sometimes has a way of "fixing" things.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTime18 hours ago
     
    That's a very good point, Nicky. I was also surprised that my husband tolerated many things that he had objected to not long before.