Elderly adults living with Alzheimer’s disease may resist bathing, or may not bathe as frequently as they should. This can be for a variety of reasons, including not understanding why they need to bathe, not knowing how frequently they need to bathe, or feeling fear or anxiety related to bathing.
Ensuring they bathe regularly and effectively is essential to protecting their health by guarding their skin against irritation and infection, and also controlling body odor. As a family caregiver, you can help make the bathing process easier and less stressful for both of you simply with your approach.
Use these tips to encourage your senior with Alzheimer’s disease to bathe regularly:
- Establish a routine for when your aging parent will bathe. This structures their day and makes the bathing process predictable. When something such as bathing is a part of their routine, your senior is more likely to go along with it willingly because it is simply what comes next, even if they don’t understand why.
- Try offering a reminder. For many elderly adults who are not bathing regularly, just reminding them that they need to can give them the motivation they need to bathe. Remember they may not recall the last time they bathed, or think they bathed more recently than they did, and simply telling them they need to could jog their memory.
- If your senior needs assistance with bathing, take the time to prepare the bathroom ahead of time. Being cold and feeling exposed for a long period of time can be very upsetting for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease. Reduce this by warming up the bathroom and getting everything in place before bringing your parent in. This way they can stay warm, and the bathing process begins immediately rather than requiring them to wait.
- If the sound of the water is disruptive for your parents, consider filling the bath before bringing them into the room. On the other hand, some seniors are fine with the sound as long as it does not start when they are in the room. Start the tub filling before bringing your parents into the room so the sound is already going when they enter.
- If your parent is anxious about the depth of the water, demonstrate to them that it is not deep. Put your own hand into the water, or use a marked stick to show them how deep the water is to ease this anxiety.
- Always respect your seniors modesty throughout the entire process. Hold up a towel or blanket as they undress, and give them a bathrobe to put on for the transition between their bedroom and the bathroom, or have them undress right next to the bath. If possible, allow them to wrap themselves in a towel, and keep the towel around them for as long as they can even while bathing. Sitting on a bath stool or chair can make this easier.
- Talk to your parents about each step of the bathing process. Tell them what you are going to do and when so they are not startled.
- Encourage them to have as much independence as possible while they are bathing. Sometimes, just gentle guidance and instruction can allow a senior with Alzheimer’s disease to follow through with the steps of bathing on their own. This helps to reduce the upset that can happen when a senior senses a loss of privacy and independence, and can also decrease the stress you feel when helping your parent bathe.
How can elderly care help?
Routine and predictability are very important to elderly adults, particularly those who are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Predictability helps a senior to feel more secure and reduces anxiety that can be caused by not knowing what is happening, what may come next, or what has already happened. As a family caregiver, establishing a schedule and following it precisely is essential for giving your parent the most effective care throughout the progression of their Alzheimer’s disease.
Starting elderly care for them can be a particularly meaningful way to accomplish this. An elderly home care services provider can be with your aging parent on a customized schedule to help them follow a routine on a daily basis. This consistent support helps your parent to follow their routine each day, giving them a greater sense of control, and helping them to fulfill daily tasks more easily.
For those early in the progression with the disease, a routine can help them to remember what to do next, while those in a later stage of progression may be more cooperative and willing to go through with care tasks such as bathing when it is easily predictable due to their routine.
Are you or a loved-one considering Elderly Care in Fairfax, VA? Please call the caring staff at Medical Professionals On Call today. Contact: 703-273-8818
Medical Professionals On Call has such a caring, professional staff who are available to step in with whatever level of care necessary for loved ones and to relieve you of that stress.
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