Personal hygeine

My husband of 77 who was diagnosed with Frontal Lobal Dementia 3 years ago and we were under the care of The Adult Mental Health Unit. We have now been handed back to the GP. Fred has decided to stop taking his tablets for diabetes, mild cholesterol and depression. He is showing no physical side effects from stopping his meds. My main concern however is the fact that he hasn’t had a shower or washed his hair since August. He has not brushed his teeth for 3 weeks and has been wearing the same pair of underpants for nearly weeks as well, he even sleeps in them. To put it bluntly he STINKS, and when I suggest he does something about it he becomes verbally abusive.

Does he have carers or not? When was the last time he saw a dentist?

Hi Susan,
I can understand how distressing this is for you. Actually I think the GP should be made aware of both issues. If you share a GP then perhaps an appointment for yourself where you explain that you are becoming very stressed and why. If not, and in that case your husbands GP may not feel it appropriate to discuss him with you, then there’s no reason why you can’t write a letter to him/her explaining your concerns. Your husband’s skin integrity is in danger from the lack of washing (I assume he doesn’t ‘strip wash’?) as well as his general health from stopping the meds.
I expect it is the dementia which is causing this. Your husband perhaps believes that he has washed and thinks you are ‘being nasty’ or has some irrational fear of getting wet. You may have to prepare yourself for the inevitability of your husband going into a Care Home, especially as the dementia escalates.
Is there anyone whose opinion your husband still respects? A family member or good friend? Maybe if you could recruit such a person to bluntly tell your husband that he ‘stinks’ he would believe it and act accordingly?
I do think that GP is the first port of call.
Do you have carers coming into help? Assessment from SS? Even a visit from the district nurse might help.
Certainly you cannot put up with this and the distress will be affecting your own health.

Susan, have you had a Carers Assessment from Social Services? It must be terrible for you, I feel you deserve some support from them, maybe a male carer to get him to shower? Then burn his clothes???
Is he receiving Attendance Allowance?
Are you aware that as he has dementia, which is classed as a “Severe Mental Impairment” he is exempt from Council Tax, and you can claim it back to the day of diagnosis.

Hi Susan

You have my sympathy - my husband is 80 and I can totally relate to your post. He will not do his teeth. I got him to the dentist but his gums are black and he won’t see the hygeniest. He will use mouthwash sometimes. I too can verbal abuse when I prompt. I can relate re tablets and creams too. He has psoriasis and I constantly have to prompt him to put the creams on - he has his bath then falls asleep on the sofa. Ditto tablets.

My husband has issues with constipation and will not take the lactulose properly so he then gets pain and overdoses and we have accidents to deal with and leaks to put it bluntly. He will sit in a dirty stained gown when I have put a clean one in the bathroom for him after his bath. The pressure sores are open, and god only knows how he has not got a major infection. We have nurses now twice a week to check the sores.

I think making the GP aware of the situation is the first step. He is maybe becoming a danger to himself. I would write if you are not able to get in to see the GP or if you do go, take a note with bullet points re your concerns. Unfortunately, what you and I feel re him becoming a danger ot himself is not the same as the NHS! Sadly it often has to get to a crisis before anyone will help. I do feel the GP needs to be aware that he is not taking his tablets.

I have to agree with Elaine that he may need a Care Home at some stage but the funding can be a total nightmare especially if he has mental capacity and does not want to go into a home. Can only send hugs but if you have a local Carers organisation may be worth a phone call to see what is available locally Also Talkjng Point the Forum for people with dementia is very good. . I wonder if you have access to an Admiral nurse in your area?

I advise you to ignore the insults and at the very least wipe Fred with damp towels.

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