What feels better than sinking into a warm, relaxing bath at the conclusion of a lengthy, frantic day? While a lot of us relish the wonderful comfort that a bath brings, for seniors, especially those struggling with the challenges of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, this time in the bathroom can be filled with anxiety.
For a number of reasons, such as memory problems, feelings of vulnerability, or physical discomfort from the pressure or temperature of the water, helping a senior with bathing can feel more like entering a battleground.
Hillendale Home Care wants to reduce bathroom anxiety for seniors and help restore the joy of bathtime for both the senior and his or her caregiver with these ideas:
- Ensure safety. Keeping the bath area free from hazards is important. Make sure that:
- Grab bars and mats that are slip-resistant are strategically placed in and around the tub
- The water temperature is comfortable (around 100 – 101 degrees is best)
- Never leave an older adult with dementia unsupervised in the bathroom
- Be innovative. Who says one person’s bathtime experience has to end up like everyone else’s? Try thinking outside of the box to find what works best for your senior loved one:
- In the event that the senior appreciates music, try singing or playing some favorite songs as a distraction
- Try a “dry” bed bath using no-rinse soap, dry shampoo, and a warm, wet towel
- Each day over the period of a week incorporate a seven-day bath, which involves cleaning just a portion of the body
- Helping the older adult with both toileting and cleaning all at one time can be effective for those experiencing a high level of anxiety or agitation
- Allow control. One of the hardest aspects of being cared for is losing independence. Help the senior regain a sense of control through:
- Offering choices
- Enlisting his/her assistance (i.e., holding the washcloth or bottle of shampoo)
It might take some trial and error to uncover what makes your senior loved one most content. He/she will pick up on any frustrations you’re feeling, which could increase the level of agitation for both of you. A healthy dosage of patience and a sense of humor can go a long way towards reducing bathroom anxiety and helping the senior relax.
For more tips on turning tears to smiles during bathtime, contact Hillendale Home Care. Our professional in-home senior care experts can assist with a full range of personal care services, including bathing, dressing, hair and skin care, and much more. Partnering with Hillendale Home Care permits family to spend more quality time with their senior family member, and also to take a much-needed break to rest and recharge. Call us at 925.933.8181 or contact us online to learn more.