Taking a bath can be frightening for your senior, especially if she has Alzheimer’s disease. That doesn’t mean that she gets to avoid baths or showers forever, though. You may need to change your approach.
Set up the Bath Before You Get Your Senior
It’s always a good idea to set everything up before you go get your senior and get started on the actual bathing portion of the event. Doing that ensures that you’ve got everything that you need and that your senior doesn’t have much time to think about what’s going on and to work on getting out of it. You might even want to put together a checklist so that you don’t forget anything that you need.
Make Sure You Communicate During the Bath
A lot of the fear and uncertainty during a bath or shower for your senior comes from her being unsure what’s happening. If you put yourself in her shoes, it might help you to see how bathing could suddenly be a really scary experience. One way you can help her with this is by communicating clearly and carefully what you’re about to do as it’s happening. This can be a lot more reassuring for her than you might realize.
Find Assistive Devices that Help
You might feel as if you don’t have what you need to get the job done for your senior, and that might be partially true. Assistive devices can range from shower benches to extended hoses for shower heads. Not all of the tools you try may be helpful for your senior’s particular needs. You may need to get creative and find a combination that works well for her.
Talk to Your Senior about a Schedule
People with Alzheimer’s disease tend to thrive with schedules and routines. When your elderly family member knows what to expect in terms of a bathing schedule, that can help her to feel calmer about the idea in general. Talk about what might be a good compromise as far as she’s concerned. She may not need to bathe every single day, so keep that in mind while negotiating a schedule.
You may also need to understand that you and your senior don’t have to tackle this together. Very often seniors accept help more readily with bathing when elderly care providers are the ones offering the assistance. Give this a try and see if it works for your elderly family member.
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