Elderly bathing? How to help

September 20, 2011


Are you worried that your parents are not bathing enough.  Have they been refusing to take a bath or shower? Step back and assess the situation.  What is the underlying reason?

Here are some top issues that could be going on


Here are some solutions.

The dementia they have going on now could be affecting the process of how they process now. Sometimes a little guidance will go a long way. Try and relate to how you would bath a 3 -4 year old.  Parenting parents can be a difficult situation. The brain in the elderly with dementia just can’t keep track of the things it once could.  The elderly bathing needs a well thought out plan that works for all parties involved.

Let’s simplify the process

Does this conversation sound familiar? During the elderly bathing “that really feels good” Their sitting there and you can tell there really not sure what to do next. Let’s put shampoo on your head, and they say to wash my hair? You answer yes to wash your hair.

Elderly bathing can be done safer by the use of a few essential items. A shower stool or a shower bench seat can go along way for comfort. Shower grab-bar in the bathroom.  Bars in the bathroom or tub can help them feel more secure. The use of a hand held shower will make it easier.

They usually can get cold pretty quickly, a small heater can help.  Place mats on the floor to help the elderly form slipping and falling. A smaller towel that is not heavy helps if they want to dry themselves off.  The supplies need to be within reach for the elderly bathing or you if you’re helping.  A smile and positive communication, getting them talking about anything that interest them while you are helping them take a bath or shower.  They need to feel safe and secure during the process.

Have their clothes picked out and ready before hand.  If there is room you can help them dress in the bathroom. It will already be warmed up from the shower. If not have it laid out on the bed and ready.  If they are modest each person has their own comfort level, keep a towel placed over them as you help get them dressed.

A set schedule of how many times a week is best for the elderly to bath.

Their generation did not bath every day, unless you’re parents or a doctor advises. I would be happy with several times a week.  Remember pick your battles wisely.

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