How do you tell someone that they need to take a bath?

@marciascott (25555)
United States
March 14, 2009 10:36am CST
I do Home Health Care, And I just starting working for this one Lady, I came to the house the house really smelled bad, this Lady is 86 years old, she just got out of the Hospital, I am there to help her, So I am sitting there, so we are talking say to her, Would you like for me to help you take a Shower or a Bed Bath She goes I just had a Bath, I am thinking who gave her a Bed Bath because if they did she would'nt smell like that. Her other Nurse-aid was supposed to have given her one. What can I do too convince her to take more? I try to keep my patients nice and clean? I guess I could go to the nurse and see if she know what to do for this problem. Give me some Ideas, I don't know if I can stand the smell too much longer, and I will be there with her all next week. this is my other partime Job. She can't walk to well but she is getting theraphy. And she sits and sleep in this Lounge Chair 24 hours. I told her tht's not good to do this. but she just got out of the Hospital. I guess the Therapist has to work on her somemore. anyway I hope the smell gets better I can't take it. I am not makiong fun of her I just need some ideas?
7 people like this
20 responses
@walijo2008 (4648)
• United States
14 Mar 09
I don't know how you could get her to take a bath, if she always tells you she just had one, maybe she did, and she has some kind of body odor that doesn't go away. My husband has a buddy that needs to take a bath, it sounds mean, but he does. I don't know how long its been since he's had one, he has the same clothes on everytime I see him, and they're just getting dirtier and dirtier. He's a truck driver, and I think he just lives in his truck, so there's no bathroom or anything where he's at, my husband's told him he can use our shower anytime he wants, but he doesn't ever want to. You can smell him when he comes in the house. I don't know what you could say to him without offending him. His mom and dad also live close by, and I'm sure if he went there he could get cleaned up anytime he wanted, but it seems he's too lazy and doesn't care. He and my husband go fishing often, and my husband's always saying he needs to figure out a way for his friend to fall in the river with a bar of soap..haha.
2 people like this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
14 Mar 09
Now that is funny, the first laugh of the day, if that is his friend he should figure out away to tell his friend. I know I would. Maybe he can tell him in a nice Joking way. Lol, it really isn't funny but he should try to tell him.
1 person likes this
• Malaysia
14 Mar 09
Hello mariciascott. I think the smell is from the lounge chair since she is sits and sleep there 24 hours. If I were you, I will just tell her off. If she said she has already taken her bath, then I will tell her that she still smell unpleasant and that she needs to take another one. Or may be you can tell her that the lounge chair is making her smell bad. May be the lounge chair need to be changed. You need to be stern but gentle with her. All the best.
2 people like this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
14 Mar 09
I just found out I will not have her anymore she wants her Morning Aid, that is fine with me, but evidently the Morning Aid is not doing her job well, so I told the head nurse about the situation.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Mar 09
You need to tell her she smells very bad. Many people of her age do not have the same acute sense of smell that they once had. Probably she has not even noticed her bad odor or has gotten used to it. If you leave her smelling bad you could lose your job as anyone visiting her after you left could complain about her condition.
2 people like this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
14 Mar 09
Whiteheather I can't make the Lady take a bath, She told me she had a bath, but I did tell the Head nurse how badly she smelled, so she will see that the other Aid is doing her job.
@Grandmaof2 (7603)
• Canada
14 Mar 09
You must have a head nurse or a boss you can talk to. Someone is not doing their job because if this lady was bathed she wouldn't smell that bad. She needs to bath and if you are not able to handle the situation and win over than you need to ask for some advice on what can be done because bottom line we all have to bath. I was having the same issue here with my brother in law when he came to live with us, he was just plain lazy and I told him firmly he was going to bath daily and I set out the house rules. Lucky for me it worked but if it hadn't you bet I would have gone for advice from mental health. Good luck my friend. Stay firm and let me know how it all goes.
2 people like this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
14 Mar 09
That's right that is the first thing I thought when I come in the house. The first thing I said was do you want me to help you take a Bed Bed or a Shower? she said no my other Aid gave her a Bed bath, I thought to my self oh no she did! I did tell the head Nurse how badly she was smelling. Someone is not doin there job right!
@Polly1 (12649)
• United States
14 Mar 09
Thats a tough one Marcie. I would talk to her nurse too, maybe you can figure something out. Does she change her clothes regularly, also does she wear a diaper or a pad. Who helps the lady with laundry. Washing her clothes and adding baking soda will help if her clothes have an odor. Also using a good liquid fabric softener adds a nice smell to clothes. If she does wear diapers that can be alot of the smell. Good luck Marcie, I hope you can find a way to help this lady, the house might just be stinky too. I helped a lady at her house, I did all kinds of stuff for her. I did whatever needed to be done, I don't know what your duties are. Maybe she had a can of Febreeze or Lysol that you can use to spray the air and also her chair.
2 people like this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
14 Mar 09
She has a Aid that has been with her for 10 years, evidently she can't be bathing her right, don't you think? I did tell the head Nurse how bad she smelled, she will Tell her Aid about it.
@sudalunts (5526)
• United States
14 Mar 09
Sometimes people have a natural foul ordor about them even after they have bathed or showered. I went to high school with a girl who had a terrible smell about her, even her locker smelled like her. I do not think it is because she did not clean herself, I think it was just a natural odor. Why don't you say something to her like, "You've been in that chair for long, let's freshen you up some and you will feel better". That wouldn't be offensive to her, maybe it is her clothing that is smelling, possibility. Maybe, if you can get her out of the chair and deordorize it, that might help too. I know BO can be rather repulsive, hope things improve for you.
2 people like this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
14 Mar 09
I reported it to the Agency, so they will make sure tht her other Nurse Aid is doing her Job.
@kareng (7980)
• United States
14 Mar 09
Bring her some nice smelling powder and a card. Tell her you were thinking about her when you were in the store and thought she may enjoy it. Help her open it if she needs help and tough a bit on her. This may also lift her spirits! Good luck and have a great day!
@cptlo1 (93)
• United States
14 Mar 09
Dang she must be dont smell her self but maybe if a member of her family comes over they could help you when they smell her. She is an old lady tho. i just hope it gets better for you.
2 people like this
@SomeCowgirl (32270)
• United States
14 Mar 09
I think that if she does smell bad, she needs to have two baths a day, but convincing her to do so might be harder then you might think. I would definitely try to convince her to do so, or find her some lotion or something that she might enjoy that will make her smell better, or some deodorant spray if nothing else. You can't make her, if it's her own home, though... atleast I don't think you can.
2 people like this
@Debs_place (10525)
• United States
15 Mar 09
You know I always carry some bath and body works lotion in my purse. If you had something like that, it might be easier to say something like -- I have this great lotion, how about we freshen you up and rub some on you...and you will smell as sweet as flowers and it will help you relax, you can even do her hair a bit. Suggest that if she likes..if there is time you could put a little make up on her... Make it seem like a treat that you are doing this. And actually is she is on her back a lot, this would be good for her skin to get the blood moving
1 person likes this
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
15 Mar 09
I did the same for my mother. She needed it. Their skin dries out so badly as they age. Baby lotion works great. If someone is on oxygen you have to be careful not to have petrolium in the lotion as it can be flammable.
1 person likes this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
15 Mar 09
Hey Debs_place! How are you good to see you here. This was my first day on the Job, and My last so I am happy about that,I just hope she gets bathed properly, she has a morning Aid, she prefer to have her in the eveing too, so I hope she gets bathed properly. I did tell the Head Nurse about it. she will take care and tell the N.A to do a better job. when we fine something wrong in patients home we are suppose to report it to the Head nurse, so I told her about the lady.
@stephcjh (32328)
• United States
15 Mar 09
I think if I felt close enough to tell someone without hurting their feelings, then I would just tell them. I would tell them that it is important for their hygeine to make sure their body is clean.
1 person likes this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
15 Mar 09
Hi Stephcjh, You know i was thinkibg about you the other day, and here you are, good to see you! I hope all is weel, Well Steph, I got it taken care of I told the Head Nurse that Her Nurse-aid that comes in the morning couldn't have bathed her because she still had an oder. well I guess the HEAD nURSE TOLD THE MORNING aID. TO DO HER jOB. How are you, I have a new computer and sometimes I make a mistake and hit the cap button, I had to get use to this new computer, I love it though.
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
15 Mar 09
Are you sure that the nurse's aid did in fact give her a bath? I ask because when my mom was getting home health care, I took care of her during the day and my brother did the overnight shift. She absolutely did not want the nurse giving her a bath. So it was my job to do it. oh how many times she would tell me that my brother had given her one just to get out of it. We kept a notebook on the counter and we all recorded in it just what we'd done for her and at what times. The notebook is a great tool as she also would lie about her meds. When she would try to tell me that my brother had just given her a bath before I got there....I'd check the notebook. If it wasn't written in, then, I would just say "well, I'm going to give you another one and then I would add some bath beads and let her soak and relax. Afterwards, I'd rub her down with baby lotion which she loved. You do have to be firm though. You can't ask them if they would like a bath. They really would rather not move from their comfortable beds. You have to tell them and then make it as enjoyable as possible.
1 person likes this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
15 Mar 09
Well I must of instisted to much because she wants her Morning Aid over me, it's fine though, I just hope she does her Job to give her bath bath, she really smelled terrible. I reported it to my Head Nurse that that's it. she will see that the morning Aid does it.
@seabeauty (1480)
• United States
15 Mar 09
Luckily you don't have to care for this woman anymore. :) I hope the woman gets cleaned better. My aunt who is 80, she would use baby wipes to clean herself and a dry shampoo for her hair. The aid didn't have to bathe her. Now she is in a nursing home so I don't know if she is able to bathe herself or does someone bathe her. I don't think my aunt liked having someone clean her which is why she used the baby wipes on herself. This information has nothing to do with your question but it did remind me of my aunt.
1 person likes this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
15 Mar 09
Well you said something that was really important, We hope she gets bathed properly. I did tell the head Nurse. She took care of it. I hope!
• United States
14 Mar 09
Perhaps a large clothespin on the nose?
1 person likes this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
14 Mar 09
Funny funny, Lets get serious, The other Aid wasn't doing her job, if she gave her a bath she would not have been smelling like that.
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
30 Aug 09
I'd talk to her about how she's got to keep extra clean to help her get well sooner and if she still doesn't get the hint you may need to talk to the nurse and ask what to do. You can't really force her into the shower and if she doesn't want to go...well, you have to find some way of getting her in there. The other thing is...she may be shy, scared or just embarassed at having to have someone clean her and bathe her...it is a blow to your pride afterall. I know I bathe my Grandma sometimes (she's 82 and bedbound) and I try to be cheerful and talk to her about things and make little jokes just so she doesn't feel uncomfortable. Afterall it can't be very fun to have your granddaughter washing your privates and stuff for you. [b]~~AT PEACE WITHIN~~ **STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS**[/b]
1 person likes this
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
17 Mar 09
first you have to find out if she has a condition that makes her have odors, then look up on the net to see if there are some herbal remedies, this is a problem many people have and they are clean people. In her case it might just be old age and that fact that she has nobody to help her clean her house and take care of herself properly but you never know. Yes you can talk to her nurse too.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
14 Mar 09
I'll go straight to the point. I'll tell her that she really has to take a bath not for me to embarrass her but for her own sake..i'll explain her that taking a bath will do good to her and prevent her from being avoided by other people..and also make her see the point that i am telling that thing not to make fun of her but because i am concern about her.^^
1 person likes this
@Amber4106 (541)
• United States
14 Mar 09
When my grandma was nearing the end of her battle with cancer, the home health aide came out every other day to give her a shower. My grandma said that she didn't want one, and the aide told her that there's a difference between what we want to do and what we are going to do. I thought that that was pretty harsh, especially to a person who is dying of cancer, and they are aware that their health is slipping more and more every day. I can understand where the aide was coming from, but surely she could have been a little more pleasant about the way she said it. Maybe she was that way because there is no polite way to tell someone that they need to take a shower. It's really easy to hurt someone's feelings on a subject like that, but hygeine is really important and sometimes we might just have to be blunt to get the point across. I don't know....personally I don't think that I could tell someone that they need a shower, I'm always worried that I'll hurt someone's feelings.
1 person likes this
@Porcospino (17724)
• Denmark
14 Mar 09
I have worked in home health care, and I have been in similar situations a couple of times. If I were you I would change the way I speak to her. You ask her: "Would you like for me to help you take a shower?" and I would often ask the say way, because it is more polite and respectful than saying: "It is time for your bath now, I'll help you get ready" but in cases like this I have learned to be less polite. If you are too polite and you ask her a question, it is very easy for her to say no, and when I asked the nurses for advice they always told me: "Don't ask her a question, just tell her that it is time for her bath" Like someone already mentioned it is a good idea to start by a bit of small talk and it is a good idea to ask her about her life and her hobbies and to talk about other things than her bath.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Mar 09
I guess you could say I want to help you and be someone to count on. Maybe she has not had someone that really wanted to help her. So assure her that you will be careful and respect she will appericate that and might be more open to your helping her. I would not try and offend her by saying she has an odder. This is what I would do and I hope this helps you happy mylotting and take care.