Talking about smells

Lately, when I visit my father, I notice he smells odd. I also notice he’s not changing his clothes, and I wonder if he might be wetting himself. How can I broach the subject?

Start the conversation by discussing the smell as if it were in the home and not on him. For example, does he have pets? Could they be the cause of the smell? You could also ask him if he smells anything.

He might be forgetting to change his clothes. If you help him with his grocery shopping, find out when he last bought laundry detergent. You can ask him if he needs to buy more; if he says no, you can ask him why, as you bought the laundry detergent a very long time ago. If he says he doesn’t need any, find out if anyone has been helping him with his laundry or if he has been taking his clothes to a local laundromat.

If he is incontinent, he might benefit from some assistance from government-funded home care, or from a private pay, accredited agency that can also help him with his laundry and bathing.

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