Alzheimer Granny Takes a Shower I


Ever since Alzheimer Granny developed dementia, it's been very hard for anyone to get her into the shower. Either she plain refuses or she gets resistant and upset.

"What is it, Mom?" Marian asked one time, but Alzheimer Granny just stared back at her daughter, fearful and agitated.

She shook her head and Marian had no idea if that was just one more refusal or if Alzheimer Granny was basically saying, "Gosh darn it, beats me, honey."

If I had to pick one answer, I'd go with "Gosh darn it." No one knows for sure why people with dementia resist the shower so much, but they do and we can make useful guesses and some workable plans to keep things clean.

Meanwhile, here's something to think about it. I've long observed that it seems to be the water itself that upsets the person. Having seen how sensitive people with dementia are to outer stimulus, like the wind on their faces or drops of rain, I thought that maybe it was this same sensitivity at work. Maybe also it's that, when you have dementia and you're standing in the shower, perhaps you have actually forgotten that water is likely to tumble down on you from above when someone turns the faucet.

Those are logical possibilities, right? Then I was chatting with a friend from San Diego who's involved with human biology research and we were talking about the shower issue.

"You know," I said, "In spite of all the other logical guesses we can make, I can't help thinking that it's something about the beating of the water on the head that actually upsets people. That just seems to be what I'm seeing."

That's when he told me that recent research has shown that the actual rhythm of typical shower water disrupts normal brain wave function within and seems to directly bring about the agitation we see. It's the actual brain wave rhythm that's disrupted. The mis-firings that follow are what create the outward signs of agitation.

So, those are the possibilities. Meanwhile, without knowing the actual answer, there's a lot you can do that works.

Check back tomorrow to learn about those possibilities.

Frena Gray-Davidson is an Alzheimer's caregiver, support group facilitator and author of five books on caregiving including her latest, "Alzheimer's 911: Hope, Help and Healing for Caregivers", available from Frena presents direct care staff training in dementia behaviors and educates family caregivers at seminars and conferences nationally and internationally. You can find her website at and you can email her with your caregiving issues or have an-line dementia consultation through her website. She has a newspaper column titled The Caregiver Coach dealing with hands-on care matters involving seniors and old age issues. To get a free monthly online newsletter for caregivers, email her at

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2 Responses

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  2. These are logical possibilities. Meanwhile, without knowing the actual answer, there’s a lot you can do that works.
  3. [...] Depuis la maladie d'Alzheimer démence Granny développés, il a été très difficile pour quiconque de monter dans la douche. Ou bien elle refuse plaine ou elle obtient résistant et bouleversé. "Qu'est ce que c'est, maman?" Marian demandé une fois, mais la maladie d'Alzheimer Granny juste regardaient sa fille, la peur et agitée. Elle secoua la tête et Marian n'avait pas idée [. . . ] URL article original: [...]
  4. [...] Desde que la demencia de Alzheimer Granny desarrollados, que ha sido muy difícil para una persona para dejarla en la ducha. O bien llano se niega o se pone resistencia y el malestar. "¿Qué pasa, mamá?", Preguntó Marian un tiempo, pero la enfermedad de Alzheimer abuela sólo le devolvió la mirada a su hija, temeroso y agitado. Sacudió la cabeza y Marian no tenía idea de [. . . ] URL del artículo original [...]
  5. [...] Fin da demenza di Alzheimer nonna sviluppato, è stato molto difficile per chiunque a prenderla sotto la doccia. O lei rifiuta semplice o lei si resistente e sconvolto. "Che c'è, mamma?" Marian ha chiesto una volta, ma solo di Alzheimer nonna fissava la figlia, timoroso e agitata. Scosse la testa e Marian non aveva idea [. . . ] URL articolo originale [...]
  6. Of course, Alzeimer Granny's Mama had been dead for over 50 years. Marion stared, wondering what to say.

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