Getting your loved one to bathe can be a frustrating and challenging task, especially if they have Alzheimer’s or severe dementia. No matter what age, a washing and bathing routine is fundamental for maintaining good hygiene, health, and protecting ourselves from infections and illnesses.
However, as your loved one gets older, you may notice that they struggle to maintain the personal hygiene routine they followed for decades. If your loved one has dementia, it is even more difficult for them to keep track of their hygiene routine. Although you strive for your loved one to have the best possible care, sometimes they just won’t get into the shower.
AgingCare has outlined a few tips on how to get your loved one to bathe.
Make it safe and comfortable
To ensure your loved one is comfortable throughout the whole process, it is important to make sure the water temperature is just right. For showers, you could also think about installing a grab bar for stability while hopping in, a comfortable stool to sit on, and a hand-held shower head. This type of shower head gives you and your loved one more control.
If your loved one is scared of a bath, talking them through the process can help calm them, especially if they have dementia. Talk about what you will do next, making sure not to surprise them. Describe your every move in a low, soothing voice. For example, “I’m going to lift your arm and wash with this nice and warm cloth, okay?” Try to reassure them that bathing is safe.
No need for a daily bath
Although cleanliness is important for good health, a daily bath isn’t necessary. Your loved one may find that a daily bath or shower could be a tortuous moment of their day that they aim to avoid. It’s also important to note that the elderly tend to have dryer skin so a daily shower isn’t required and may even dry their skin more. Try find some comfortable bathing alternatives that can maintain your loved one’s hygiene.
Sponge baths do the job too
A great alternative to bathing your loved one is sponge baths. A person can get clean with sponge baths, despite there being no running water involved. If your loved is extremely frightened of water, you may want to try a sponge bath. Giving a sponge bath involves washing and rinsing the entire body one section at a time.
If your loved one has dementia, they may experience the sensation of running water as painful so a sponge bath can help alleviate the worry. It can also help clean people who are paralysed and bedridden.
As we age we may find that it becomes harder to scrub your back in the shower, but it is important to remember that there are many aids available to help your loved one stay clean and comfortable.
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