Body Odors

@ramapo17 (23300)
Melbourne, Florida
May 15, 2016 12:04pm CST
I spent some time lately with seniors and more and more I am noticing they have body odors. It is not the normal sick kind of smell that comes with some diseased and I know some of them take daily showers. I know my parents were like that too but mom had a stroke and got bathed regularly and dad lived alone and we never knew he didn't take showers as I only saw him once a week or every 2 weeks. The home nurse told us about his lack of cleanliness. Has anyone else ever noticed this when around older people? Is this normal with older people? If you knew of someone in your family getting like this would you tell them and what can be done about it?
11 people like this
16 responses
@JohnRoberts (54197)
• Los Angeles, California
15 May 16
Maybe when you are old and going downhill physically, you get a who gives a darn what difference does it make attitude and just let some things go. When you are old and aching, it's pain doing the shower/bath ritual.
4 people like this
@ramapo17 (23300)
• Melbourne, Florida
16 May 16
@Johnroberts You are right. I remember the first time hospice went to my dads house and gave him a bath. He screamed and carried on like a little kid and held onto the towel rack.
2 people like this
@just4him (112911)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
16 May 16
My parents were used to taking baths once a week while we were growing up. I had a rude awakening to daily showers when I joined the Navy, but they soon became a habit. When my parents went into assisted living, my dad refused to pay for more than one shower a week for him and Mom. When I was in the nursing home for a month it was easy to tell they only received one shower a week. The best I could do was arrange for every other day.
3 people like this
@ramapo17 (23300)
• Melbourne, Florida
16 May 16
@just4him. I never knew you were in the Navy. What a woman. You must be so proud and should be.
1 person likes this
@just4him (112911)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
17 May 16
@ramapo17 I am. I enjoyed my short time in the Navy and would do it again if I had the opportunity.
1 person likes this
@ramapo17 (23300)
• Melbourne, Florida
17 May 16
@just4him Working on the ships I had to get all the papers in NYC. I think they were from the Coast Guard of Merchant Marines. I still have my card. I also had to get so many different shots before I got on the ship as I went into Africa and a lot of Europe. Boy did they hurt. I could hardly move my arm or touch my butt.
1 person likes this
@Marcyaz (35695)
• United States
15 May 16
I had a sister in-law who only bathed once a week and she was in her 80's she did have a terrible overpowering odor about her but you couldn't tell her anything as she wouldn't listen to that.
2 people like this
@ramapo17 (23300)
• Melbourne, Florida
16 May 16
@Marcyaz I know the type very well.
1 person likes this
@Marcyaz (35695)
• United States
16 May 16
@ramapo17 She wouldn't even consider going to a home, she didn't need to be living alone.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (102847)
• United States
15 May 16
When my mom's dementia took a turn for the worse, she refused to bathe. We did get assistance for Mom regarding personal care when Dad mentioned her not bathing. Dad is 95, and he also has a lot of help now so he is always dressed nicely and is fresh and clean. Mom was transferred from the hospital to a nursing home, a great one 3 minutes from family, when the dementia was out of control. Dad was in assisted living, but is now in the same nursing home that took such great care of my mother. I think that if a person is not keeping themselves clean, then social services can be contacted and help can come to the home to help with personal care. And, clean older people have no objectionable odor at all. A lot of times, if clothing is not washed on a regular basis, that may be the problem.
2 people like this
@ramapo17 (23300)
• Melbourne, Florida
16 May 16
I agree with you. @Corbin5
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 16
My parents do not smell, but if they do I would let them know.
2 people like this
@sugartoes (39991)
• Greencastle, Indiana
15 May 16
I knew a few YOUNG people that were the same way about taking a bath or shower & when they stunk I told them to go take a shower or get the flip away from me flat out.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164672)
• Garden Grove, California
15 May 16
thats what I was trying to say some people are not clean at any age why put more damned labels on us seniors,no we are not all senile, no we do not all stink, Now we do not a lll drool either. what a topic, also som people in their 5ots and 60 can become senile.
1 person likes this
@ramapo17 (23300)
• Melbourne, Florida
16 May 16
@sugartoes you got right to the point.
1 person likes this
@ramapo17 (23300)
• Melbourne, Florida
16 May 16
@Hatley I know a lot of people like that. It has nothing to do with age.
@owlwings (39070)
• Cambridge, England
16 May 16
Everyone has 'body odours'. There's a difference between the odours which are produced by bacteria which live on the sweat and other waste products from the skin and the odours which are produced by the body itself as a normal and natural part of life. Regular bathing will remove the 'stale', bacterial odours but will not (and should not) remove natural, fresh body odour. At every stage of our lives our bodies give out different odours. Nearly everyone is familiar with the smell of a (clean) baby. It is actually that smell which arouses feelings of 'motherhood' in most women (and some men). As we become adults, the changing hormone balance creates different odours which are designed, of course, to help us choose a good partner for reproduction. In old age our natural odours change and we have a particular 'old person' smell. This may sometimes be more noticeable to people because, even if they have good personal hygiene, older people are less likely to use expensive perfumes to disguise or confuse the senses. Some people are more aware of body odour than others and many seem to dislike the 'old person' smell. I know that, as a child, I found it both disturbing and, somehow, comforting, in a way. Disturbing, perhaps, because I knew that old people die, and comforting, maybe, because I associated it with the calm and assurance and 'stasis' that old people have. There are also particular odours associated with specific illnesses and I have heard that dogs can be trained to detect, for example, cancer before it can be diagnosed by conventional means.
1 person likes this
@ramapo17 (23300)
• Melbourne, Florida
17 May 16
@owlwings I heard that about dogs. When I use to go a nursing home for older people to cut hair, I would try and get done fast as I couldn't take the smell nor the heat. Plus, they all wore heavy sweaters or jackets even when it was 90 degrees outside. No air conditioning there.
1 person likes this
@owlwings (39070)
• Cambridge, England
17 May 16
@ramapo17 I agree that that sounds a most unpleasant environment!
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164672)
• Garden Grove, California
15 May 16
I have not noticed any body odors of the residents that I c ome in contact withso I think thi is not normal I shower often and us a deoderant for underarm protection. I have notnoticed anybdy odor on me.nor on my friends here.But why just say seniors younger people can and do have body odors. Why label us seniors with more negative things?
1 person likes this
@ramapo17 (23300)
• Melbourne, Florida
16 May 16
You are right @Hatley.
@Hatley (164672)
• Garden Grove, California
16 May 16
@ramapo17 yes I think too many things ar e heaped on seniors that are fo ftenjust as bad or worse in y ounger people to
1 person likes this
@carebear29 (28537)
• Wausau, Wisconsin
15 May 16
When I smell people, I usually tell them only if I know them.
1 person likes this
@ramapo17 (23300)
• Melbourne, Florida
16 May 16
@carebear I use to cut old peoples hair in a nursing home and boy did they smell but I never said anything. I didn't want to hurt their feelings.
1 person likes this
@toniganzon (49189)
• Philippines
15 May 16
Don't know any senior that has a smell. When my grandparents lived with us for a short time, I spent a lot of time with them but they didn't smell at all.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 16
I am an older person and I don't stink! I have been around a lot of old folks years back when my parents were alive and very active in a senior citizen group...none of the smelled.
1 person likes this
15 May 16
If I know I would have told to my mother or father.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (39100)
• Germany
15 May 16
It depends on the level of intimacy you have with this person. I would have told my mother.
1 person likes this
@marlina (72624)
• Canada
15 May 16
I never noticed this with my parents or elderly relatives. They were very clean.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (121004)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 May 16
I know in the dementia specific wing incontinence had a lot to do with odours - both body and otherwise. I guess as people get older and stiffer and everything becomes harder they may not be so particular in their hygiene habits. I really don't know what I would do about it. It's a hard one. Maybe gifts of deodorant and nice soap, more help with laundry if their clothes are a bit 'off'? It's hard to say anything without upsetting them I think.
@Tampa_girl7 (25386)
• United States
17 May 16
I have only noticed the smell of Bengay.