If your senior has dementia, you might have noticed that as the illness has progressed simple tasks, like bathing, have gotten a lot more complicated. Someone with dementia might even be scared of bathing. What can you do to help your senior?
Warm up the Bathroom
One of the first steps that helps a lot more than you expect is to get the bathroom warmed up a bit. Your senior is going to be removing clothing and feeling vulnerable as it is, being cold is going to make all of that worse. Older adults can have a more difficult time regulating body temperature, so it’s important that the room itself is comfortable. In the winter a small space heater turned on for just a few minutes can help. In summer, there might not be much you need to do other than turn off the air conditioner.
Explain What You’re Doing, but in Smaller Chunks
You might want to try to give your senior all the different reasons why she needs to bathe and what a bath can do for her. Unfortunately, dementia means that those explanations may be more confusing and upsetting than helpful. You do want to make sure that you talk to your senior about what you’re doing next, but don’t over explain. Let her know what’s happening next so she’s prepared.
Keep Your Attitude Positive and Happy
When you dread something, that attitude comes through even if you try to act like everything is fine. Do what you can to figure out how to have a truly positive and happy attitude around helping your senior to bathe. If you can do this, she’s going to have a much better experience and you’re going to as well. If you’re not able to adjust your own attitude around bathing, you might need to find another answer.
Don’t Fight with This Task Too Hard
If you and your elderly family member are not getting anywhere with bath time, you’re likely getting more and more frustrated. Believe it or not, she is, too. She may also be growing even bigger fears around bathing. Rather than fighting harder about bathing it’s much better for both of you if you bring in someone who has better experience much sooner. Home care providers have experience helping older adults bathe while also preserving their dignity and ensuring that they’re safe throughout the process.
Battles around bathing can be exhausting for both you and your senior. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to simplify that process.
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