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Old 08-13-2014, 08:34 AM
Location: Long Island, NY
7,846 posts, read 10,746,261 times
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This reminds me of something I watched on TV. I believe it was "My Strange Addiction". There was a woman who was petrified of taking baths or showers because for years as a child she was molested while bathing. It was heartbreaking. Even now as an adult and she has children, she's afraid to shower. She did the bird-bath and baby wipe thing too.

OP, if your mom has always been like this, why not ask her if something happened so you can help her?
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Old 08-13-2014, 08:50 AM
6,351 posts, read 5,426,183 times
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Originally Posted by Seraphim7 View Post
If knowing that she smells horrible does not bother her in the least, I would have to agree with the others that it sounds like a mental issue...especially in light of the fact that she apparently believes that bathing could kill her.
DH's parents lived for many years in a house (a cabin actually) out in the country with no running water. They did not have a bathtub or shower. They still used an outhouse. Household "luxuries" like hot showers wasn't a priority to them - my poor MIL heated all her water for bathing, washing dishes, laundry, etc. on a wood stove after hauling it inside from the outdoor pump. I remember how gobsmacked she was that I "washed my hair EVERY day". They did take basin baths, but they never seemed to take advantage of the bathtub and shower when visiting us.

Some older people, and younger depending on how they were raised, do consider daily bathing unnecessary and outright unhealthy. My own grandmother had some strange mindsets on it - she used to try to dissuade me from bathing or washing my hair when I had my period. You didn't wash your hair in the winter or you'd catch a cold. I shouldn't shower in the morning before school or I'd get sick. Most old timers only took a bath once a week (Saturday night), and kept up that practice long after moving to the 'burbs where at least one full bathroom was the norm. Was that the attitude in which the OP's mother was raised? And one she's practiced all her life? It would explain a lot.

Last edited by Mrs. Skeffington; 08-13-2014 at 09:01 AM..
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:14 PM
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,131 posts, read 20,251,002 times
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Originally Posted by Miss Crabcakes View Post
I don't have any advice but I think the people who mentioned mental illness may be on to something.

My mother, who is in her late '60s has bird bathed her entire life and it wasn't until my 20's that I realized she's never taken a shower. Ever. She asked me a question about it once that made me realize. She does bathe regularly from the sink and doesn't smell most of the time but I also think she suffers from some mental illness though I don't know exactly what.

Hope you can find a way to help her.

My mother is like that with bathing, but she does shower about once every two weeks. She washes some parts with a washcloth, but that doesn't help the smell from her hair. Now that my dad has dementia, he doesn't remember to shower and she only makes him shower as often as she does. My kids refer to them (behind their backs) as Stink and Stank, and the kids wipe down the couch after their grandparents leave. My parents stayed with us for a couple of weeks because of illness. They used my daughter's room and her bed. Before she would agree to it, she made me buy a mattress pad, and agree to replace her sheets after they left. For a while, I got my mom to wash my dad more often by telling her the doctor would see it as a sign of neglect if Dad was dirty and smelly when she took him to appointments.
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:16 PM
Location: North America
19,636 posts, read 12,367,115 times
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Originally Posted by Megane Borque View Post
I haven't once seen or heard her taking a shower at home. She hobaths from time to time before work but other than that she stinks something fierce. I was in the car with her this evening and when she got out of the car it smelt like fish and pee in that brief second she opened her legs. She can smell how ever she wants but damn. Everything she sits on stinks and every-time anyone in the house talks to her about it she claims that "if I take a shower and go outside Imma catch a cold." I can understand having one of those extremely lazy days when you don't care how you smell because no one is there but everyday is no good. No bueno. Maybe she takes a shower at work or something but she stinks when she gets home so I don't know what happened then.

Talk to her, gently, and let her know she really needs to take a showeer. Then get her some help.
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:20 PM
Location: Hampstead NC
5,487 posts, read 5,014,279 times
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You might want to post in the Caregiving forum.......showering does become an issue for dementia patients and someone there might have some ideas.
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:39 PM
323 posts, read 416,202 times
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I Agree she has depression. Or some passive aggression going on.
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:22 PM
323 posts, read 416,202 times
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Originally Posted by swanstone1 View Post
Agree with many above that's some form of mental illness. Dealt with the same with Grandmother and Mother and there is usually some underlying fear. (My Mom thought things lived in the drain) Just as a hint, washing with shaving cream removes urine smells even better than soap.............

Swan, you must be a nurse signed Leftwinghillbilly, RN.
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:38 PM
260 posts, read 470,866 times
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Originally Posted by Megane Borque View Post
I think she does know but just don't care at all. We all take to her about this an just wont listen. Doesn't even take a bath or shower when she dresses up. Her feet stinks also but I can deal with that. I mean she still has her menstrual cycle if anything else she should take a shower then. Who wants to smell like dirty blood? I'm guess she'll never change since she haven't all these years. Can't be healthy.

this is mental illness at it's finest. You should totally ignore any other comment on this page , call a professional, and get advice from someone who can really help you. Believe it or not, this is fairly common C/O older woman and they need to be evaluate for what's really going on, and gotten the help they need. Sorry you are having to deal with this, good luck.
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:39 PM
1,915 posts, read 3,330,212 times
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I would put some disposable chuck liners on the seats if she sat in my car or couch. I doubt she is going to listen and start improving her hygiene, but I would be damned if I would let her funk up my stuff. Nasty!
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Old 08-13-2014, 02:11 PM
Location: Tennessee
23,254 posts, read 17,278,640 times
Reputation: 27127
Originally Posted by 1986pacecar View Post
This is her mother for God's sake How could anyone be that disrespectful to their own mother? Obviously something is going on and it may be a mental issue and I doubt like hell telling her she reeks is going to do the trick.
Maybe the mother just needs to hear some frank talk on it.
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