Begin by washing the top of the body. Start with the shoulders and carefully use body wash to clean the elderly person. Move down each side of the body using body wash and warm water to clean. Rinse their body with warm water using a separate wash cloth and the water you have set aside for rinsing.
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.
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.
Clean their upper body, arms, and legs. Clean under and around their fingernails with a cotton bud or nail brush. Help them roll or turn as needed so you can thoroughly clean the patient’s back, genitals, and buttocks area with a towel or sponge. Be sure to clean within any folds and then dry those areas thoroughly.
Commode chairs placed by the bed can help if you cannot walk to the toilet. Nursing staff will always help you to get on and off the commode if needed. If you can’t get out of bed, you can use bed pans and urine bottles. These aids are usually made of metal, or plastic.
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.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, older adults normally need anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Some sleep experts suggest sleeping a bit longer is better for someone like an 80-year-old man.
Poor hygiene or infrequent showers can cause a buildup of dead skin cells, dirt, and sweat on your skin. This can trigger acne, and possibly exacerbate conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. Showering too little can also trigger an imbalance of good and bad bacteria on your skin.
Sponge bathing is most often used (you can use a sponge or a washcloth). Fill two basins, one with warm soapy water for washing and one with plain warm water for rinsing. Use a new washcloth for different areas. Remove clothes, wash and dry the area, and re-dress in sections to prevent your parent from getting cold.
The most likely consequence will be a dull complexion. Again, it won’t kill you. But it can lead to back acne, better known as bacne. And THAT can can kill any plans you may have had to go shirtless.
Start by washing the shoulder, upper body, arm, and hand. Move to the hip, legs, and feet. Rinse each area free from soap and pat dry before moving to the next. Check for redness and sores during the bed bath.