Bathing and Aging: From Battles to Bliss

Live Well at Home Blog

Bathing and Aging: From Battles to Bliss

BathingWhat feels more soothing than sinking into a warm, relaxing bath at the conclusion of a long, busy day? While many of us relish the luxurious comfort that bathtime brings, for seniors, especially those struggling with the challenges of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s certainly not blissful.

For a variety of reasons, such as memory issues, feelings of vulnerability, or physical discomfort from the pressure or temperature associated with the water, assisting a senior with bathing can feel more like entering a battleground.

Live Well at Home wants to help restore the pleasure of bathtime for both the senior and his or her caregiver with these suggestions:

  • Ensure safety. Keeping the bath area free of hazards is crucial. Make certain that:
    • Grab bars and slip-resistant mats are strategically placed in and around the tub
    • The water temperature is optimal (around 100 – 101 degrees is best)
    • Never leave a senior with dementia alone in the bathroom
  • Be imaginative. Who says one person’s bathtime experience has to be like everybody else’s? Try thinking outside of the box to discover what works best for your senior loved one:
    • If the senior delights in 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
    • Each day over the period of a week, incorporate a seven-day bath, which involves cleaning just a portion of the body at a time
    • Assisting the older adult with both toileting and cleaning at the same time can be successful for those experiencing a high amount of anxiety or agitation
  • Allow control. One of the most challenging aspects of being cared for is losing independence. Help the older adult regain a sense of control through:
    • Offering choices
    • Enlisting his or her support (i.e., holding the washcloth or container of shampoo)

It could take some experimenting to uncover what makes your elderly loved one most secure. A healthy dosage of persistence and a sense of humor can go a long way towards helping the senior relax. He/she will recognize any frustrations you’re feeling, which could intensify the degree of agitation for both of you.

For more tips on changing tears to smiles during bathtime, contact Live Well at Home in Roseville, CA. Our in-home senior care professionals can assist with a full range of personal care solutions, including bathing, dressing, hair and skin care, and a lot more. Partnering with Live Well at Home enables family members to spend more quality time with their senior loved one, and to take a much-needed break from providing care. Contact us at 916-459-3220 to learn more.

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