Help with Showering for the Elderly If they are afraid of falling, you can install handlebars in the shower, or use a comfortable shower chair. They may need help getting in and out of the tub or need assistance with actual bathing tasks like washing their hair. Look to a medical professional for assistance.
Ask their healthcare provider. When a conversation doesn’t help, contacting a healthcare provider may help you determine the actual reason someone refuses to bathe. He/she can help you understand the ins and outs of their medical condition and may provide you with alternatives to bathing… such as a sponge bath.
6 Tips to Encourage a Senior to Bathe
There can be a number of reasons that older people might ‘give up’ on their personal hygiene. Sometimes older people, especially those with dementia, may fear taking a shower. The person may be afraid of falling, or they may even think their carer is trying to hurt them.
At a minimum, bathing once or twice a week helps most seniors avoid skin breakdown and infections. Using warm washcloths to wipe armpits, groin, genitals, feet, and any skin folds also helps minimize body odor in between full baths. However, some dementia caregivers say it’s actually easier to bathe every day.
Approach the topic in a calm, understanding manner, but try not to be patronizing. You don’t want your loved one to feel embarrassed or belittled with this conversation. Don’t be accusatory or make them feel incompetent. It is important to let them know that you have noticed some changes and that you want to help.
Help the person feel in control Give the person choices. For example, ask if he or she would like to bathe now or in 15 minutes, or take a bath or a shower. Try saying “Let’s wash up,” instead of “Let’s take a bath.” Fill the tub with 2 to 3 inches of water.
Make bathing easier for the elderly by –
It’s common for people to bathe less during stage 5 of dementia. During stage 6, they tend to stop bathing when they no longer understand the need.
Bathing once or twice a week is acceptable for older adults, as the purpose is to prevent the skin from breaking down and lower the risk of skin infections. Seniors also tend to be less active than younger adults, so they can get away with fewer baths. However, you don’t want your loved one to develop body odor.