Dementia is difficult disease to handle for both the care provider and the one suffering from the disease. The Alzheimer’s association defines dementia as “a general… decline in mental ability.” Those suffering from dementia may not know the importance of taking a bath or general cleanliness. There are many reasons why this may be, memory loss, confusion, or anxiousness, but as care providers it is important that we are able to meet a loved one’s needs.
There are many ways that one can help a loved one take a shower, but first we are going to discuss things to avoid.
- Do not remind the client when they took their last bath. This can lead to an argument.
- Do not ask if they want to take a shower or bath.
- Do not worry about a daily bath. Instead, focus on weekly baths and cleaning sensitive areas through out the rest of the week.
When taking care of a loved one suffering from dementia, communication is key. However, asking “do you want to take a shower” isn’t enough–how we phrase that suggestion is important. Most senior adults, for various reasons, would rather decline taking a shower than agree. Here are some ways to encourage them to take a bath.
- Get the bath ready then invite them into the bathroom.
- Lead them to the bathroom and encourage them to take a bath.
- Stick to a consistent routine.
- Cover the mirror if he or she is nervous about being nude.
- Fill the tub with water before he or she enters the bathroom.
- Play his or her favorite music, put up pictures, and continue the conversation. Use anything to keep the clients mind off of taking the bath.
- Act like you have all the time in the world. Don’t rush them.
- Use alternatives, such as a gentle cloth wash, if they continue to refuse to bathe.
We can help you take care of your loved one.