The saga of Mom’s baths continues. She’s been in the Alzheimer’s assisted living facility for three and a half months now and although their standard is bathing twice each week, they have been lucky to get Mom bathed once each week. Actually, there have been weeks when she didn’t have a bath at all.
That may sound terrible but before she moved in with me in May of 2010, she was not bathing properly and I’m sure had longer times without bathing than we have experienced the last three months. That’s why I have not stepped in other than to bring up the issue.
It wasn’t an easy transition when she moved in with me. You can look back over my posts and probably find my lamentations about Mom cussing and yelling at me, pretend crying, whining, and even throwing things at me. Over time, however, she came to realize that I wasn’t a pushover. I had a very good teacher – her! – who taught me how to handle obstinate little ones. She may be 95 now and certainly no longer little but dealing with an adult with Alzheimer’s/dementia is in many ways just like dealing with toddlers.
The aides at the facility have tried. Don’t think that they are just ignoring the need because that is not the case. Their process is to approach and if the resident vehemently refuses, they back off and reapproach later. That works for many of the residents because they forget the initial approach. Not so with Mom! Either she realizes that she’s getting away with her behavior and keeps thwarting their efforts, or she also forgets the initial approach but has the same reaction each time. We’re not sure which but sometimes my brother and I think she knows more than it seems… J
Last Friday I arrived for my visit and again, Mom had not had a bath all week. The aide asked if I wanted her to try then and so we did. Mom started her normal routine but I looked her square in the face, told her I wasn’t going to argue with her and that she could yell at me, hit me, whatever, but she was going to have a bath because her mother taught her to take one once a week. She wasn’t happy but she settled in with me giving the bath.
Took Mom for ice cream after her bath!
I notified the Health and Wellness director that given Mom’s continued obstinacy, I would take over giving her a bath but I would do it once a week. The way they break down their services I have the option to do that and eliminate that portion of the fee.
So, today I went up to visit Mom and gave her a bath. She threw her little fit – it was almost comical at times – but soon settled in and let me wash her hair and give her a good bath and foot soak. It was so nice to see her hair so soft and beautifully white again!
I let her know that from now on, I’ll be giving her a bath once a week – just like Grandma taught her and she taught me. She can’t argue with Grandma! J