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Question
Posted by: Donna | 2004/10/19

Unhygenic father

We were brought up very hygienic as children. The usual clean clothes, underwear, bath at night, etc. What I cannot understand now is that my dad (he is 72 yrs old) has ended up that he never baths. His clothes are filthy. I don't think his face has had water to it for ages. His feet are really dirty. His nails. Basically, the man is like a hobo. His home is filthy, dishes, cups, blankets. I just cannot handle the way he is and I really have this urge to tell him that he is very dirty and he should buck up and be CLEAN!!!!!

Why has he become like this. Surely he will feel better if he bathes, cleans up, has clean clothes, etc. How do I tell him without making him feel bad because I am gonna say something as I cannot handle being around him when we visit.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Donna,
I understand how upsetting this can be, but sadly it's not an uncommon problem with the elderly, especially with old men. It comes to be somehow just beyond them to handle all the housework and self-care that they used to take in their stride. And the further they slip behind, the more they have to face if they'd want to clear up, so they let it slide. As Juzlisen points out, in her very wise comments, many people of his age are not able to fully care for themselves, and may need help of various kinds. If you were brought up to be clean, he was part of that upbringing, and was surely brought up that way, himself. Imagine the sadness of not feeling able to keep up to your own standards. Talk with him about it, sympathetically and pleasantly, sugesting that it is looking increasingly a if he's fnding it really hard to look after himself and his home, these days. What sort of help would he need ? IF you ( and are there other children ? ) could help him get himself and the place up to date after a weekend of spring cleaning, could he maintain it, with a maid to help ? Or does he want to think of perhaps exploring a retirement community where there would be a housekeeper to help ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: Juzlisen | 2004/10/19

Hi Donna

Does your dad live on his own? Is he in proper and fit health? Considering that not too many 72 year olds can take care of them selves properly.
You know what kind of upbringing you;ve had so why dont you go to him and ask what the problem is? Or why he has let himself go?
Very often when people become old and fragile they lose that "lus" for life if you get my drift. That affects them in many ways we would never understand until we're in those shoes.
Take care and Good Luck.
Juz

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