7 tips to get someone with dementia to shower or bathe
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.
How To Help An Elderly Person To Shower Or Bathe
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.
8 Common Reasons Seniors Refuse To Shower: Dementia or Alzheimer’s – these diseases cause impeded memory and loss of judgement and reasoning. It’s uncomfortable – the shower chair or bench may not be comfortable or perhaps it’s too cold. Depression – a common sign of depression is not keeping up with personal hygiene.
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.
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.
If they refuse to bathe and start to argue, drop the subject and move on to something pleasant. This avoids a fight that will create negative feelings that often linger. Wait and try again in a little while. During the entire bathing experience, it’s helpful to use a calm, soothing tone and say “we” instead of “you.”
People with ablutophobia are afraid of washing, bathing, or showering.
if you don’t bathe enough
Bathing can be a challenge because people living with Alzheimer’s may be uncomfortable receiving assistance with such an intimate activity. They may also have depth perception problems that make it scary to step into water. They may not perceive a need to bathe or may find it a cold, uncomfortable experience.
Things you can try include:
Answer From Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D. The term “sundowning” refers to a state of confusion occurring in the late afternoon and spanning into the night. Sundowning can cause a variety of behaviors, such as confusion, anxiety, aggression or ignoring directions.
Bathing regularly and maintaining personal hygiene is key to staying healthy and refreshed. Not showering or bathing for several days can lead to infections, which become increasingly difficult to treat in the elderly.
Perhaps the most common reason for elderly people to stop showering is fear of falling or injury. They may worry that they will slip over getting in or out of the shower, or that they will struggle to stand up for the time it takes to wash.