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View Full Version : OT: What is it with old men and wearing dirty clothes?


Kimbatigger
03-16-2010, 03:39 PM
My father, who lives with me, and my father-in law are both guilty of this. My dad will go the whole week wearing the same pants, and sometimes I make him change clothes so I can wash what he has on with the rest of the laundry. I have told him countless times, "If you wear it, it needs to be washed.", but to no avail. When I am near him I will say that there is a noticeable odor emanating from a certain area, and I don't want to tell him he stinks. When he says that his clothes don't need to be washed I tell him they smell and go ahead and wash them anyway.

Does anyone else have this problem with the elderly?

BTW my dad is 94 and not about to change.:wall:

borealowl
03-16-2010, 03:46 PM
Could he have trouble getting in or out of the shower or bath? Is it painful for him to stand or sit for very long? Did he live without running water at any time in his life and get used to wearing his clothes longer or not bathing as much? Of course people do have different odors as they age (not saying all old people smell.). I lived several years in the AK bush and now live in what we call a dry cabin. It has electricity but no running water. I take sponge baths and haul water. I may wear my jeans a few days. Hopefully I don't smell too bad!

ArtLady1981
03-16-2010, 04:30 PM
He doesn't sleep in his clothes, right? Here's what I'd do: after he's gone to bed, snatch the clothes, wash and dry them, and put them back before he awakens. No more fightin' or fussin'. Just take 'em and wash 'em!

The odor you are smelling might be 'dribble'. The 'hose' doesn't shut off quite as well as folks age.
He might be painfully embarrassed by it.

You are an angel! :hug:

Kimbatigger
03-16-2010, 04:36 PM
I don't know that snatch and grab would work. He sleeps facing the bedroom door and I am sure I would wake him up, and have a lot of explaining to do! LOL And I think his smeller is not working as well as it should either.

ArtLady1981
03-16-2010, 07:09 PM
Creep in, grab the clothes, and DASH OUT! He couldn't possibly catch you by the time you make it to the washer that's already filled with hot sudsy water!

I say, go for it! What can he do? Fire you? :)

N0obKnitter
03-16-2010, 08:18 PM
I think women have a more acute sense of smell than men (of any age) do, too. My boyfriend is immune to the smell of his cat's litterbox and I aint.

Lucy78green
03-16-2010, 08:51 PM
My grandad grew up in a small house in the country where people only took a bath once a week. After my granny died he used to sleep in his longjohns and had to be persuaded to change them and wash more frequently than he did. Growing up I am guessing he only changed underwear and clothes once a week, maybe as when he was young people only had two sets of clothes - one for church and one for the rest of the week

Belphoebe
03-16-2010, 08:59 PM
I have noticed over time, that my mother tends to bathe less frequently than she used to. I recall her fighting with her mother about how she smelled and urging her to take a bath. My sister and I are starting to tell her the same things.....maybe it is something with age.

GinnyG
03-17-2010, 07:10 AM
I wish more family members would jump in and take care of this far to frequent problem. It may be hard but as a Nurse who see's older patients everyday I am amazed at how terrible some of them smell. I have never had a female patient come in smelling as badly as some of the men do and usually it is urine that is the source of the odor.

I have actually had other patients leave an exercise class because a patient smelled so badly. One time I addressed it with the patient and he never returned leaving me feeling terrible.

Believe me, it is better for it to come from a close family member than a stranger. There is absolutely no excuse for an elderly person to stink, if they are unable to smell themselves then it's time for the family to come to their assistance.

Our elderly are often (unfortunately) treated poorly in the community, smelling bad only reinforces that. I am a Nurse and can look past the smell but not everyone can.

Sunshine's Mom
03-17-2010, 09:57 AM
He's probably comfortable in the clothes he wears most frequently. Maybe getting him something comparable to wear while you are washing the other set may help.

As far as bathing goes, I know my dad has thinning skin and he gets very dry showering daily. Maybe a nice moisturizing body wash for men (nothing too perfumey) would help that problem (if he has it. You didn't say he did.).

AngelaR
03-17-2010, 11:05 AM
I've noticed that the elderly are very afraid of bathing or showering. My in-laws, after my FIL retired had their bathtub removed in the "company" bathroom and had a huge walk in shower installed with a very nice shower seat built in. I had asked the contractor to install grab bars and happily paid the extra for it, so that they would not worry about slipping in the shower, then realized he would have to do that in their bathroom shower as well.

For many it getting into and out of the bath or shower can be a perilous time and we've all heard the stories of falling in the tub/shower and breaking a hip. I think they realize they are getting frail and thus avoid the thing that sticks in their mind as the scariest thing. I've seen the ads on TV for the tub/shower for the elderly that they can step in to, and fits in the space where your tub is. It has a seat where they can sit in a bath, without being totally submerged (easier to get up out of the water) and the shower is there so they can sit and shower as well. I've talked to both my brother and sister (since they deal with my mother) and said that we would help pay to have it installed in their houses, but neither took advantage of it when it was out there.

Have a serious talk with your dad and try to determine is he's afraid of bathing and see what you can do to allay his fears. Meanwhile, I'm with Artlady on the snatch and grab of his laundry.

Kimbatigger
03-17-2010, 12:03 PM
Well I thank you for all your suggestions. :hug: :hug: I don't think slipping in the shower is a concern for him, as he goes to the gym 3 days a week to work out, and the other two days volunteers at a museum. In other words, he is fairly active. He has is own apartment in our house, and a walk in shower stall so he can stay upright all the time.

I think rather than the snatch and grab, when we leave for the gym today, I will just happen to be throwing in a load of clothes and "see if he has anything to go in".

The other thing he does it to wear a shirt and then instead of throwing it in the laundry basket, he will put it back on a hanger and put it away. I actually go through his closet performing a sniff test on laundry day.

I have been using Nature's Miracle on his pants to remove any residual odor after laundering. It is really hard to get that smell out, and he has a favorite pair that odor clings to really badly.

I also feel that his hygiene is a reflection on me, which I probably shouldn't, but I know if I met someone with the same issue, that I would wonder if their family were taking care of them properly.

Jan in CA
03-17-2010, 01:04 PM
Febreze also works well on clothing. I used to use it occasionally on some of my daughter's shirts on the underarms. They showered, changed and laundered clothing regularly (they were teenage girls after all), but it's something about some fabrics that hold odor. That nylon/polyester stuff I think..:think:

I also used Febreze on a chair that was in my grandmas house that smelled horribly of cigarette smoke. Febreze got rid of that odor!

As for old me... yeah I think it's normal sadly. My stepmom has been complaining about my dad not showering and staying in his pjs all day. :doh:

Puddinpop
03-17-2010, 07:57 PM
My mother used to tell me that some older men get to where they don't shower. My dad got very feeble and it was very hard for him to stand up and walk to the shower, but he had one of those chairs in the shower and she helped him get his shower every day, which btw took about 2 hours total. She powdered him and afterward. She was amazing. I know the 2 hour part because my brother would be there at times to help him to the shower and he told me. She was a retired RN. It might not be as important to them anymore or maybe it just takes so much energy that they skip it.

borealowl
03-17-2010, 11:42 PM
I have worked in a nursing home as a CNA and bathed elderly people, did all their personal care, etc. When their body hurts the baths just don't seem as important. Also they lose all of their privacy in the nursing home. I really had to struggle with some of them to get them to take a bath. Does your dad have a lot of privacy and plenty of time there to bathe? Maybe he needs help, is shy, and maybe he just doesn't smell as well as he used to. Plus it can be uncomfortable to stand or sit long periods.

GinnyG
03-18-2010, 06:34 AM
I don't think that people who smell bad, young or old, actually SMELL themselves. It's kinda like when you have garlic pizza the night before YOU don't know you have major garlic breath til someone TELLS you. And aren't you glad someone mentions it so you have time to throw in a breath mint before encountering a really important client.

TELL HIM HE STINKS, in a kind way. If he is "with it" enough to go to the gym 3 days a week he can comprehend the concept of YOU SMELL BAD. If he volunteers at a museum two days a week he should not be showing up smelling bad.