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My mother's personal hygiene is getting worse.......

(11 Posts)
Gymbob Mon 06-Apr-15 20:36:54 put it bluntly, she stinks. she is physically fit and well, but her mental health continues to deteriorate following the death of my father in 2008.

I have never been close to my mother, although she would dearly love to be closer to me, but me, dh, and kids find her very difficult to be around. we don't visit her at home due to the state of it, eg, trodden in poo in the carpet etc

and so, to my problem. my mother does not wash her clothes, and does not wash her body much either. she is smelly and comes to my house for tea each week. I have told her that to sit at my table she has to be clean as it is difficult to eat with such a foul smell there.

I have told her that she will not be welcome for tea next week unless she is clean. she tells me I am being mean, she can't get round to washing herself, and doesn't want to ruin her clothes by washing them shock

am I being mean. should I just accept her as she is?

flanjabelle Mon 06-Apr-15 20:38:38

She clearly needs extra help. Have you looked into the possibility of carers? If her mental health is not good hopefully she would get some help?

Mitzi50 Mon 06-Apr-15 20:47:02

She 's clearly not coping - do you think this could be a sign of dementia?

Gymbob Mon 06-Apr-15 21:29:33

she is coping well enough according to her cpn, her living conditions are not ideal, but she's seen worse, she says sad

Gymbob Mon 06-Apr-15 21:31:14

she does get some help, but mainly talking therapy,, she won't let them into the kitchen or bathroom

pictish Mon 06-Apr-15 21:34:27

My brother has mental health problems and has, at times, smelled foul. I have the same rule for him visiting. He must be clean...body and clothes. Otherwise, the stench of him makes me retch. Yanbu.

Gymbob Mon 06-Apr-15 23:33:42

thanks PIC I think the reason i am doubting it's reasonable is due solely to her age and thinking I need to make concessions purely for that reason. maybe its a reasonable request regardless of age ? its obviously important to you too

pictish Tue 07-Apr-15 12:13:40

I understand that my brother's illness sometimes makes it difficult to focus on issues such as personal hygiene, and actually I wouldn't even say it's all that important to me...I don't care if someone's a bit of a tramp to be honest. I'm not overly judgemental about such things because we can't know what's going on with someone to make them that way.

It's the smell - that's what I can't cope with. I can't sit with someone whose odour makes me gag and it's as simple as that.

dublingirl653 Sun 14-Jun-15 22:38:56

they are your family
I find that really upsetting and disrespectful

you should be offerring them help and suppert

Needmoresleep Mon 15-Jun-15 12:25:37

Dublingirl, it is never that simple

For me the hygiene issues are more or less under control but it has been a major issue for at least a couple of years, probably since my mother got stuck in a bath when she was living on her own and thought she would die.

My thinking:
1. Lack of hygiene impacts on her well being, which I am responsible for (POA).
2. If my mother had full capacity she would be very upset at the state she was in.
3. She is clearly better, brighter and less depressed, when well presented. It means other people treat her well (other then the hygiene, her dementia is often not obvious on first meeting) and perhaps that she too works harder at keeping it together.
4. I would insist a small child washed. the fact my mother is regressing rather than progressing means that this is where we are.

I got her used to having a shower (rather than a bath), with a certain stick and carrot. I would drive down once a week (over 100 miles) announce I would take her out... but only if she had a shower first and that I was not leaving till she did. Then I quickly swapped her clothes for clean ones. Before that I thought about the barriers to her having a shower, eg having a chair in there, how to get the temperature right (And now I am only "helping" her with the water temperature as the boiler is "so complicated".) How to ensure dirty clothes were laundered.

My insisting did not make me popular. I think OP is right to draw her own boundaries, but perhaps after having looked into how to achieve the better solution, which is hygiene. My mother will now allow one or two favourite carers to help her shower.

Things will get worse, and one day her sheltered housing will tell me it is time for her to move into a home. I want to delay this for as long as possible, ideally for a time when she no longer knows where she is. So I need to insist on hygiene.

The smell was awful. I remember having to have all the car windows open to prevent gagging. I can't imagion having dog poo added to the mix.

Is there any money? (Perhaps from attendance allowance is she is not claiming already.) You could call SS and ask if they can find the name of the specialist cleaners their housing department use. Then insist on a spring clean as well as part of a bargain that gives her more time with you.

dublingirl653 Mon 15-Jun-15 21:49:07

sorry I didnt mean to be rude

it can be so difficult

going through a lot of this with my father now

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