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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Annie’s Mailbox: Find way to help grandma shower

Kathy Mitchell

Dear Annie: My grandma is 84 years old and still able to live independently. I spent time in her home a few years ago and discovered that she no longer showers because she is afraid of slipping. It also is too hard for her to step over the lip of the bathtub. She even bought a shower stool, but for whatever reason, she doesn’t use it. Instead, she cleans herself with a rag and soap.

Grandma has a distinct body odor that is getting progressively worse, and it’s hard to be close to her. I think she’d want to know this, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings. Is there any way to politely tell her? – Trying To Get Granny To Shower

Dear Trying: There are kind ways to tell her. Grandma likely doesn’t notice her body odor. You need to let her know, nicely, that she needs to be more thorough. You can offer to help her shower; you can contact the Visiting Nurse Association ( or hire a nurse’s aide to come regularly; you can discuss the possibility of remodeling her bathroom to make it more accessible; you can look into a transfer bench that lifts her into the tub area; you can bring her to your place if it has a shower stall or even to your local health club. Also, please check to be sure her laundry is getting done. (Offer to do it for her.) Finally, your family might want to discuss with Grandma the possibility of moving into a senior facility that is set up to alleviate such limitations.

To all of our Muslim readers: Happy Eid.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.