Here’s a list of some reasons the elderly may have for not bathing: They may experience pain while standing, bending or sitting. They may have a fear of water and/or its sound—this is especially true for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia. They may fear falling on hard bathroom due to poor balance.
Why do seniors feel the need to take a bath?
Another reason why the elderly stop bathing as frequently is because they feel cold. The reduced circulation that comes with age can make them feel cold most of the time, so showering is something that they’ll avoid. Thankfully, there is always a way to help.
With the aging process comes a weakening of the senses, especially one’s sense of smell. Many seniors begin showering and changing less frequently because it is harder for them to notice the tell-tale scent of body odor or see stains on their clothing that indicate it’s time for a wash -up and a load of laundry.
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.
People with dementia may become resistant to bathing . Such behavior often occurs because the person doesn’t remember what bathing is for or doesn’t have the patience to endure lack of modesty, being cold or other discomforts. Loss of independence and privacy can be very difficult for the person with dementia .
P.S. – Not everyone needs to shower every day Showering every day, she said, is unnecessary. Every two, three or even four days is acceptable as long as you don’t stink up the place. She said, generally, the organisms naturally found on her skin protect us from picking up harmful germs.
Edouard Zarifian, an eminent French psychologist, said that for the French ,”eating and drinking are natural functions. Washing is not .” In the northern European countries and the US, he said, washing had long been associated with hygiene in the mind of the public.
While there is no ideal frequency, experts suggest that showering several times per week is plenty for most people (unless you are grimy, sweaty, or have other reasons to shower more often ). Short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice.
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.
7 tips to get someone with dementia to shower or bathe Establish a daily routine. Use positive reinforcement and don’t argue. Say “ we ” not “ you ” Make the bathroom warm and comfortable. Use a hand-held shower head to reduce fear. Make sure there are no surprises or guesswork needed. Use extra towels for comfort and warmth.
During the middle stages of Alzheimer’s , it becomes necessary to provide 24 – hour supervision to keep the person with dementia safe. As the disease progresses into the late-stages, around-the-clock care requirements become more intensive.
It typically peaks in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, and then diminishes as the disease progresses. Scientists don’t completely understand why sleep disturbances occur with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia .
People with dementia are often resistant to bathing . They will claim they just showered, or that they will do it later, or outright refuse to bathe . Unless someone is incontinent, daily bathing is not necessary.
If you don’t wash your body, the germs and bacteria will enter your system through your hands, nose or mouth, giving you the common cold or even hepatitis A. When you were taught as a child that washing your hands is important, the same also applies to the entire body. Not showering can be really dangerous.
According to Shirley Chi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Showering “once every three days is fine.” If you have a skin condition, the answer is different, however.
So, when you skip that shower , you’re letting a day go by where your body is not strengthening your skin’s good bacteria, making it more susceptible to harmful bacteria. When you go yet another day without bathing, it only adds to your chances of being vulnerable to bad bacteria.