Personal hygiene(96 Posts)
I have made a couple of posts regarding my mother recently- she’s a manic depressive and her behaviour is 9/10 unacceptable.
She does come to visit every other week. The thing is, and forgive me for sounds horrible, but she absolutely stinks, it’s foul. From her general body odour to her breath.
We currently have a leather sofa, I sit at one end and she sits at the other and I can smell her breath from that far away. When she leaves my front room/sofa stinks. Thankfully it’s leather so it can be washed, but we’re getting a new fabric sofa in a week or so.
How do I tell her she stinks in the nicest way possible? She’s erratic and cry’s at everything then talks about wants to be dead ect if you say anything that’s she doesn’t like. It needs to be said to her, I just literally have no idea how I’m going to word it.
If her behaviour is unacceptable then don't let her come round. Meet her in a nice well ventilated cafe instead
I don't think there is any easy way to broach the subject. One thing you could try is giving her a hamper of bubble bath, deodorant, perfume, toothbrush and paste (even washing powder) and say you have noticed she hasn't been taking good care of herself lately and that makes you sad/concerned - would she try to give herself a pamper?
Are you sure she has working hot water/shower/washing machine and money on her gas and electric?
Oh god I constantly buy her smellies Xmas I bought her all sorts of stuff from M&S including fancy talc powder to encourage her. Her birthday is November and I bought her a huge think of royal jelly from boots.
She has a huge walk in shower, with dozens of unopened smellies - probably what I’ve bought her. She’s just never been a massively hygienic person, never pampered herself or made an effort with her self.
I’m unsure if it’s depression what us contributing to her poor hygiene, my elder sister passed various comments on her poor hygiene and she was offended and upset over it, she never actually acted on it though.
And she has hit running water and plenty of it, she to put it bluntly is just a minging.
You need to tell her. Has anyone ever addressed it with her?
The washing machine is a good point - it works well. She will come in PJs that’s she’s had on all night 🤢 she just has no self respect.
@inwood my sister did. She was offended and pretty hysterical over it. I think tbh my sister won’t allow her in her house now because of it because she’s not been in my sisters house for now over a year.
You have to address it, do the same as your sister has done.
Does she stay at yours?
@letsdolunch321 oh dear god no. She comes for about an hour tops every other week.
Is she getting medical help for her depression, to your knowledge?
Presumably she hasn't always been like this?
There's no easy way to word it, so just be completely matter of fact about and don't be apologetic. Tell her calmly that her person hygiene is so poor that she smells very badly and you find it intolerable.
If she becomes tearful and hysterical, then so be it. Even with mental ill health issues you sometimes need to challenge the behaviour of the person. You are perfectly entitled to not want that level of bad odour in your house. Your DM is perfectly entitled not to take your opinion on board and not address her personal hygiene - you've made your choice about the matter (you don't want her over until she cleans up), now it's time for her to make her choice.
And make no mistake, it IS a choice!
Is your mum on any medication or receiving any kind of support for her mental health? She might be generally lacking in personal hygiene skills (if she's always been like this then was it something she was never taught when growing up) or it might be the depression.
What is her house like? Does she keep it clean or is it a mess? Can you meet in her house with a plan to go out shopping or something and when you arrive say "right, you nip up for a shower and brush your teeth while I make a cuppa and then we can go."
'Mum, I really care about you. It's noticeable that you're not taking as good as care of yourself as you deserve, shall we make a plan together for you to follow each morning?'
Set out a routine of showering (or if she prefers, then bath) and brushing her teeth. Just start with that. It sounds like she's not washing clothes either, so planning a day of washing together (pick a day) can help. This way she has control over what's happening, but with your support to put it in place.
It's not that she has no self respect, she's not choosing to feel this way - depression can make us feel worthless.
I’ve taken her to the drs and they have her antidepressants - wether she takes them is another thing, I don’t believe she does but she says otherwise. She says she was put on this earth to suffer and that no one sufferers like her, she doesn’t know how to be happy and she won’t be happy till she’s 6 feet under she says these things then sobs for hours. She says she doesn’t need medical help cause she knows there’s no help for her. She’s always been like this, she’s not willing on helping herself, she’s more of a wallow in self pity and blame everyone for her woes type person.
I’d have to say ‘look Mum , I really need to talk to you. I don’t know how to say it without sounding cruel but I mean it in the kindest possible way and I know I’d want someone to tell me if it was me, but you really do need to shower . Is everything ok? I’ve noticed you do smell and it isn’t very pleasant and I’m sure you’d rather hear it from your Daughter than a stranger .’ Or something ?
She says she was put on this earth to suffer and that no one sufferers like her, she doesn’t know how to be happy and she won’t be happy till she’s 6 feet under
That's just so awful and sad to read, she must be really suffering.
could you encourage her to shower and put on clean clothes on her fortnightly visits to you?
I have a relative with a serious mental illness. I have had to say at times - you really need to have a shower, you smell. Its hard, but better just to be honest.
Does she have any social care help? I suspect she needs someone to jolly her into the shower.
Can’t you just go to her home and just encourage her to have a shower? Or just be like “come on mum, time for a shower you stink get in have a wash and then we’ll go out somewhere nice.” I know mental health is hard but sometimes you need to be cruel to be kind.
It is very hard to get paid social care help for someone with a serious mental illness. They have to accept they need help, and engage with the assessment process.
Just thinking out loud but how about an adult social services referral? Can you ring and leave a message for her GP to call you; I've done that for a neighbour before and the GP had a few questions for me then was able to get some help for the neighbour that day.
It sounds like either she isn't taking her medication or it isn't working for her.
Can you gently find out which it is? If she isn't taking it, can you encourage her to set an alarm to remind her, or make a tick chart or something?
But if she IS taking it and it isn't working, could you offer to book her a GP appointment for a review? There are several types of AD she could try.
I don't think her self care will improve unless her depression improves somewhat first.
If you wanted to intervene in the meantime can you run her a bath next time she comes round? Does she manage to do the laundry or are her clothes never washed, in which case would she manage to bring a few things to stick in your washing machine?
Meet her in a cafe. You can't force someone to wash.
Her house is basically a shit tip. She’s always been a massive hoarder.
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