How can I convince my wife to bathe?

Springman asked...

I cannot get my wife to bathe on her own and she will not accept help. Is there any thing I can do?

Expert Answer

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

It is strange how we are sometimes just stopped in our tracks.   For a time there is nothing to do but live with a wife who is less than hygenic.

In my work with elders I have been through this many times.  Although it is difficult,   patience is required as well as ingenuity. 

  • Don't give up.   Offer a bath each day.  Ask her if she would  like bubble bath?  
  • Run a bath for her.  Put a rubber duck in the tub.  Let her watch it float around..
  • Consult with the visiting nurse service in your area.    See if you can get a nurse to come and advise you on how to get her in the bath.  Perhaps, she could even have a bed bath.
  • Ask your wife out to dinner or some other activity that she enjoys. She may want to wash if she feels there is a point.   She has to come to it herself.
  • Try to attend a support group for family caregivers.   When you see what other caregivers are going through, it might lighten your mood.   Your light mood could perk her up and make her want to bathe.
  • Look for caring.com's local resources in your area to find support groups, visiting nurses and any other groups that could be of help to you while you are going through this difficult time.