What feels finer than sinking into a warm, relaxing bath at the conclusion of a long, stressful day? While many of us relish the wonderful comfort that bathtime brings, for seniors, especially those struggling with the challenges of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, to have a bath is anything but blissful.
For a variety of reasons, such as memory problems, feelings of vulnerability, or physical distress from the pressure or temperature of the water, assisting a senior with washing can feel a lot more like entering a battleground.
Visiting Angels wants to help restore the pleasure of bathtime for both the senior and his or her caregiver with these bathing solutions for the elderly:
- Ensure safety. Keeping the shower area clear of hazards is essential. Make certain that:
- Grab bars and mats that are slip-resistant are strategically placed in and around the tub
- The water temperature is comfortable (around 100 – 101 degrees is best)
- Never leave a senior with dementia unattended in the bathroom
- Be innovative. Who says one person’s bathtime experience has to be like everyone else’s? Try thinking outside of the box to discover what works best for your senior loved one:
- If the senior appreciates music, try singing or playing some songs as a distraction
- Try a “dry” bed bath using no-rinse soap, dry shampoo, and a warm, damp towel
- Incorporate a seven-day bath, involving cleaning just a portion of the body each day over the period of a week
- Assisting the older adult with both using the toilet and cleaning his or her body simultaneously can be effective for those experiencing a high degree of anxiety or agitation
- Allow control. One of the most challenging aspects of being cared for is losing independence. Help the senior regain a sense of control through:
- Offering choices
- Enlisting his/her help (i.e., holding the washcloth or bottle of shampoo)
It may take some trial and error to discover what the best bathing solution is for your elderly loved one. They will pick up on any frustrations you’re feeling, which could increase the amount of agitation for everyone. A healthy dosage of patience and a sense of humor can go a long way towards helping senior loved ones relax.
For more tips on bathing solutions for the elderly, contact Visiting Angels. Our professional in-home senior care specialists can assist with a complete range of personal care services, including bathing, assistance with the restroom, dressing, hair care and skin care, and much more. Partnering with Visiting Angels of California enables family to spend more quality time with their senior loved one, and also to take a much-needed break to rest and recharge. Call us at 408.735.0977 or 510.284.0000 to learn more.