How to bathe a Beast.
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Does your dementia loved one turn tiger-by-the-tail on you when bath time looms? Ours does. But after a week of Mom looking and smelling fouler every day, we saw an opportunity and pounced. Amidst the thrashing, scratching, and screaming we showered the crap out of her. Here's the method no one in their right mind has ever recommended, but in desperation we did it anyway.
Prepare: Have a second person with you. Do not attempt this on your own. The Beast will destroy you! There is safety in a pack of two. Also, use extreme gentle force, firm but soft. It's the opposite of extreme brute force 'cause, you know, she's old and brittle, and things will just break and fall right off old Beasts if you ain't careful.
Step 1: Ambush the Beast when she's on the toilet. Pants and underwear are already down! You're halfway there!
Step 2: Have one person in front of the Beast, soothing and placating. This will not make any difference to the Beast, but at least you'll feel like less of an asshole.
Step 3: Have the other person frantically try to get the remainder of the clothes off as quickly as possible. If you are the Soothing Front Person, make sure you get your arms out of the way while maintaining your hold on the Beast so the Frantic Back Person can do her job.
Step 4: Do not explode with rage when your Beast screams bloody murder an inch from your face. Look to the Frantic Back Person when this happens as they will be trying to suppress laughter at your predicament while they desperately try to get a flailing arm out of a sweater. Fight the temptation to reach over and smack that smirk right off 'em, YOU ARE IN THIS TOGETHER! Use their amusement to ease your tension.
Step 5: Grab everything currently in the shower and throw it in the sink. Repeat: Have nothing in the shower! The Beast will use all means at her disposal to kill you, and as she probably washed your mouth out with soap as a child, dementia has made sure she has no qualms about shoving that bar of soap so far down your throat that you choke to death should she get the chance.
Step 8: Hold the Beast around the waist while both of you body guide her to, and in, the shower.
Step 9: The smaller the shower the better. Don't give the Beast room to maneuver, to strike, to slay!
Step 10: SHOWER FAST! This is no time for special body washes, creme rinses, Shea butter fancy-pants crap! Your Beast is now at the height of her terror, and thus at her most dangerous. Shampoo on the head! Wash cloth to the who-ha, then the backside! Rinse! Call it good!
Step 11: Wrap your Beast in the biggest, softest, warmest towel you can, empathize with her fear, apologize over and over, hug and love her now that she's calming down, wipe your own tears away, and pray to gawd this is the only time you have to shower like this.
Recommended follow up measure: Split a bottle of wine (or two) with the Frantic Back Person later, wonder if the two of you were Beasts as children when it came to cleanliness, and share a bittersweet chuckle at the absurdity of your life with that dementia person you both love more than anyone else in the world.
Disclaimer: No dementia mother's were actually harmed in the showering of this Beast. They were just really, really pissed off.