Ask Amy: She hasn’t bathed in months and she wants to stay with me

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

DEAR AMY: I have a friend who has struggled with mental problems as a result of growing up with an abusive mother. My friend is 57 years old and now cares for her mother.

She works and has been sober for 30 years.

Last year she confided in me that she had not bathed or showered in many months. I have noticed her body odor.

She is working with a therapist to get through this issue. My problem is that she visits with me for a long weekend, and I have a small apartment and so the odor becomes obvious.

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I’m not comfortable saying anything to her. Any advice?

Holding My Nose

DEAR HOLDING MY NOSE: Your friend has already been honest with you about her hygiene issue. This is a fairly common symptom of depression, and falls under the very important category of “self-care.”

I give you a lot of credit for maintaining this friendship in such a supportive and compassionate way.

One suggestion is that you set up your own bathroom for a “spa” experience for her. Provide fluffy towels, scented bath soaps, candles, soft music, etc. Tell her that if she would like to enjoy this luxury, you will give her plenty of privacy to do so. Tell her you hope she will accept this gift and take good and gentle care of herself, but don’t pressure her. Make your washer and dryer available for her to wash her clothing.

Cook good and healthy meals together. Talk, share and listen.

Your friend is seeking professional help to try to develop strategies to cope with her illness. Your friendship could be an important lifeline for her.

DEAR AMY: My mom and stepdad recently invited themselves to visit my husband and me. Since they live several states away, most

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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