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Caring difficulties - When someone refuses your help

Community Member

Hello everyone,

Recently I made a post about my mum that has early onset alzheimers. My mum is 68 and I am 28. Since last year things have been getting a lot worse, I guess common for many people. The support I received was great, in this post I'm asking if anyone can help with a specific issue.

I'm wondering if anyone has any advice/strategies on how to help get your loved one to do important daily tasks that they are reluctant to do or accept your help with? Emphasis on accepting your help if they are unable to do it on their own.

I feel so guilty, this year my anxiety levels have just gone crazy. My mum has been refusing to have showers or take her tablets, I'm the only one at home with the acception of my boyfriend who is extremely kind, gentle and helpful and tries his hardest to help out where possible. Today I got frustrated because my mum refuse to get undressed for the shower, I had been trying for a solid hour and nothing was working, I got to the point where I just tried to remove the shirt for mum and she just yelled and cried and accused me of assault. I felt absolutely terrible because I was a bit forceful, I was just fed up, I told her to put her arms up and she folded them down under her arm pits. She tells me I nag her and talk too much, and reflects any agitation she has back onto me which makes me get agitated too, i try my hardest to keep calm but it's getting really hard.

I feel so bad and that was not my intention and I genuinely just wanted to help her get ready like I do every morning. We talked it out, but I know it's just going to keep happening and my mental health is getting worse which is making my reactions worse.

Please, what are some coping strategies with the above issues.

5 Replies 5

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi there

Firstly, good on you. It's not easy caring for a loved one, so I hope you can be gentle on yourself for feeling frustrated at times. I'm not sure of your mum's mental capacity, but are you able to talk to her about why she doesn't want to do certain things? And not having seen your previous post - I wonder whether you might look into getting some help with mum? That might take a bit of pressure off the relationship, if you had someone there helping with showers and meds. That of course depends on what you're both comfortable with.

Kind thoughts, Katy

Community Champion
Community Champion


Thanks fir your post. My mum died a while ago but had dementia for many years .

She would have no cowers fir a week or the 3 showers in one day.

Have you contacted carers Australia https://www.carersaustralia.com.au/

You can check out the website or phone them up. They are very helpful.
Also can you get home nursing. My mum would not co operate with me but when the home nurse came a few times a week she would have her shower willingly. I think they came twice a week.

I found talking to a support worker at carers really helped me practically and not to feel guilty. You need a support team to help you care for your mum.

we are listening and you are not alone.

Community Member

It can be very hard I find walking away and coming back later to ask them helps sometimes and maybe saying positive things like how warm and nice and refreshing a hot shower is. If you can't get them to shower maybe offer a smaller step like just washing the face and getting them to have a sponge bath or just a change of clothes until they are feeling less agitated. Sometimes it is impossible and there is not much you can do until later. For the medication have you tried giving it in some custard so it tastes better and is easier to swallow? The nurses at work do that for some people if they like. Showering after a meal or when they are not tired, offering something they like as encouragement or singing a song they like can help too. Sometimes it just doesn't work and you have to try tell them it's time to maintain their hygiene because it's drs orders for health reasons especially if there is incontinence involved.

Community Member

G'day BPscully,

I had an idea as I read one part of your post regarding assisting to take a shirt off for a shower.

Is there a shirt so designed that your Mum could put on and take off by herself?

Likewise with other clothing items.

I'm thinking like maybe a poncho that doesn't need to raise one's arms for.

Perhaps The Oodie, oversized wearable blankets. They look easy to put on and off.