Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Won’t bathe or remove coat


My 53 year old son came to live with me about 1 year ago. I got him on Medicaid, counselling, dental work and ssdi during that time. He’s improved dramatically on medication. He’s very cooperative about the meds and knows he need it. People might think he had no MI if it wasn’t for 2 things: he wears a black wool coat year round, inside or outside. And he hasn’t bathed since he’s been here. His room is in the unfinished basement and he rarely comes up except to cook breakfast or get his dinner. So. I can live with the coat if he can. But I have demanded he shower before getting in my car. The first time he came up smelling mostly OK so we got in the car and went to his appt. Later I saw evidence that he had only changed his stinky clothes. No shower. I didn’t push it and I always tell him he needs to “clean up” before we go to his appt. He changes his clothes. No towels used, dry shower. I’ve accepted that since I don’t think I could make him shower. But he keeps getting big boils or abscesses on his face and neck, which I think are caused by dirt, oils and bacteria. I suggested that it would maybe prevent thise if he just got a soapy wash cloth and washed his face and neck periodically. He may think that over and try that but I doubt it. Any ideas appreciated. I am at a loss.


If you can get him to a family doctor for a check up sometimes hearing the doctor say, “You have to wash these areas” helps more than hearing it from mom. I went through the same thing with my son (now 34) He also got some boils at times. I gently keep at him about it and he takes a shower twice a week now, The doctor gave him a regular prescription for Clindamycin lotion (topical antibiotic) and when applied to affected areas regularly it really helps clear up the boils. Encourage extra water to drink as often as possible it helps to clear the impurities before they start coming through the skin. My son also use to wear his coat all the time but eventually he gave it up, now he wears sunglasses outside weather there is any sun or not. I think the coat
was a ‘security blanket’ for him for awhile, don’t give up talking about the things you’d like him to change just do it gently and not so often as to make him too nervous or defensive. Good luck. You sound like a great mom with a son who is really trying. :slight_smile:


Thanks for encouragement. I have been thinking he’d give up the coat someday if I don’t turn it into a point of contention. I occasionally ask if he’d like to use the
nice, new shower rather than the concrete one in the basement.Not even sure it matters to him, but gotta try once in a while. I fantasize him saying “ OK, Mom” and heading into the shower. And I’d act like this is perfectly normal. :blush:


Do you have a bathtub ? My son spends hours in there not sure if he washes as his hair is often dirty :full_moon_with_face: But it’s better than nothing .This at least would be a start for your son .Maybe taking his coat off is just too stressful and exposing for him at the moment . Like a tortoise shell . If he lets his coat go he will need another form of protection. I love this forum as we all understand our loved ones quirky needs . I wish you so much strength and endurance with this issue


I like the idea of the wash cloth. Maybe some cleansing hand-wipes, like for picnics and camping. Maybe with antibiotc? My family member has had these types of infections in hands and feet. When possible, I stand there while hands and/or feet are washed with soap because of the potential for further infection.