ANSWERS: 13
  • It depends on the person, but I know why my grandma got smelly. The older she got, the harder it got for her to take baths and the less likely she was to take one. She kept insisting that she didn't need to bathe as often since she didn't do much physical activity. Even so, after a few days most people smell even if they don't sweat profusely. To be honest, I suspect that she was having problems with her sense of smell. That's another problem that often afflicts older people and thus contributes to the problem. Another factor to consider is that some old people grew up in places and times where bathing was not a common occurence - even in the U.S. Add to that all the medications - especially topical ones - that many seniors use. A lot of them have very strong odors. ---------------------------------- thintatonga, I didn't mean to offend, but many young people here don't realize that not too long ago (within my mother's lifetime), it was not unheard of for many people to go months without a bath in some rural areas. There are probably still such places, but it is a fairly rare occurence in the U.S. I don't mean that this makes us any more civilised or not, I just wanted to help shed some light on the situation since there can be a wide generation gap.
  • I agree with KarmaKitty on all points. When I first read this question, I found it offensive; but since someone has answered it seriously, I will, too. I will add that you don't have to be too old for your sense of smell to be on the decline - mine started to suffer significantly in my 40s. You get used to your own smell - as I daily have a reminder of with young people on public transit positively reeking of their 'body sprays', the strength of which I am sure they are not aware of . The medications that older people must be on to have a reasonable quality of life can also affect their metabolism in ways that might affect their body odour - even some foods do this, such as garlic, or beer. As well, some folks live in housing situations where they don't have free and easy access to private bathing facilities - in nursing homes for example, and other situations where they might need someone else's help to wash. Their freedom to wash their clothes frequently might also not be what you and I are used to. Those who wear dentures might also be having difficulty cleaning those; or other dental problems could exist that they cannot afford to address. I hope that the question was sincere and not just an 'ageist' put-down of older members of the society that we all live in.
  • Older people also secrete less saliva, which encourages the growth of a particular type of bacteria which cause halitosis. I was told that nothing can be done about it. It's also not easy to avoid halitosis if you have false teeth.
  • Karma Kitty is right about the lack of bathing, but sometimes the cause isn't simply difficulty getting clean. Many older people are widows or widowers. Some simply have no interest in becoming half of a couple again, so there is no reason to get all spruced up. Quite a few older people don't socialize on a regular basis, so again there is no need. I know a widower who takes a "Marine shower" (in & out in less than 3 minutes), every Friday (whether he needs one or not :0). He also does his laundry by stuffing the machine with whites, colors, etc, all in low temp water so nothing runs. Oddly enough, he likes to think he looks ok, and gets insulted and angry if told he smells, but it never motivates him to bathe more often or change his clothes. Another reason is that many older people have "accidents". A lifetime of nonexercise, drinking caffeinated diuretics (coffee, tea, beer, soda), then relying on laxatives when your system is too dehydrated to go, white bread and other nonfiber foods, medication side effects, diabetic side effects including a blunting of nerve transmissions saying its time to go until its too late. The first time I saw skidmarks was enough to turn me celibate. Since then I've seen some elderly women's laundry and found them here, too. I hope I remember all this when I'm old, cause I'd hate to wind up one of the funky elderly!
  • i live with my father inlaw and i have washed his cloths and told him to bath.the this does not help and the whole apt has a bad odor.it is so bad i get sick and cannot eat.what can be done?
  • My grandmother had this particular smell. this was a long time ago. She was 2/3rds Cherokee Indian and i assume this had something to do with it. Indians tend to have greasy, oily skin. She was a clean person, but her oily skin just gave her a smell all her own.
  • peepee/kaka
  • Uncomplicated answer...no explanation necessary...Broccoli!
  • I asked my husband the same question recently and he thought that perhaps their sense of smell wasn't what it used to be. I said we don't wait until we can smell something to bath or shower, we have one daily regardless. He says with his own parents it is because his mother doesn't believe in deodorant so his father doesn't get to use it either. Another reason perhaps is if they are too slow in taking their clean washing out of the machine that can sometimes cause clean clothes to have a certain smell. I must just summarise by saying my first thought was what a horrible question but having read through the replies it has given me insight into other possible and realistic reasons.
  • I just found this article and find it quite interesting. I will give a reference at the end. "Other unique scents released by the body as result of bacteria decomposing sweat include nonenal, indole and skatole. The extent of these malodorous scents are related to changes associated with aging. A researcher at Shiseido Laboratories has traced the problem to a fatty acid known as palmitoleic acid -an unsaturated fatty acid that is a common constituent of the glycerides of human adipose tissue. He has also learned that the body of a person up to about the age of 30 does not secrete a noticeable amount of this substance, but that once a person--whether male or female hits 40, the volume rises sharply. The volume of palmitoleic acid released by the human body is 10 times as great among people in their seventies as in their forties." I guess we have this to look forward to as well, when we age!(http://www.3dchem.com/moremolecules.asp?ID=385&othername=Palmitoleic%20acid)
  • Cancer and certain other diseases give off odors in all people as well as the elderly.
  • Herpes.
  • moth balls

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