When it comes to taking care of the elderly, hygiene issues are generally common. Discovering why their bathing habits have been altered is the best way to come up with a successful plan to convince a senior to shower frequently and wear clean clothes. Many possible factors can contribute to this cause to form a perfectly unhygienic habit. Let’s look at some of these reasons:
- Fear and discomfort. Although bathing is an essential part of one's hygiene routine, it can become exhausting and scary for seniors to regularly bathe. This might be because to them, this basic act carries significant risks. The thought of a broken hip, a bruised ego of having to help them wash often deters the senior from having a bath.
- Weakened senses. The older you get, the weaker ones sense of smell becomes. Many seniors barely shower and change clothes because it is harder for them to perceive any odor, even when it is coming from them
- Forgetfulness. Some elders often forget to have their baths. This could also occur as a result of dementia.
Five Ways To Convince A Senior To Bathe
- Communicate With Them Appropriately: Talk to them in a way they understand. Ask why they are finding it difficult to have a bath. The import of understanding how they feel about taking a bath will help you convince them. When you reassure them subtly and encouragingly, they are more willing to shower.
Avoid shouting or talking in a condescending tone. Make them see the reasons why they need to take a shower and what could occur if they do not. Be sure to explain both scenarios as this will encourage and give them a thorough understanding of why they need to bathe.
- Using the Correct Shower Products and Tools: You want to ensure bathing for your seniors is as comfortable as possible. Seniors find bathing tiring, especially if they have bad knee or back issues. Be sure to provide the correct shower equipment to ease their fear and discomfort —for example, handheld showerheads, shower chairs, and a bath lift chair. This equipment will make the seniors feel more willing, comfortable, and safer to have a bath. Also, try to buy products they cherish. They may have a favorite brand of soap or a scented candle; this will also make bathing more accessible.
- Make Sure You Get Everything Ready Before the Bath: When a senior sees you preparing a bath, this will help them prepare mentally and physically for the act. When you have all items ready, it will result in a faster and smoother bath. Be sure to have everything at arm’s reach so you do not end up leaving their side for any reason. This might make them feel abandoned.
- Stick to a Routine and Be Patient With Them: You need to be patient as a caregiver. Most Seniors enjoy doing things at their own pace and time. When cajoling a senior to take a bath, you must give room for them to do it at their own pace without having to rush them. Offer them options and stick to a routine instead of giving instructions. For example, ask if the senior prefers bathing in the afternoon before lunch or at night after dinner. Find out what time of day they prefer to bathe and help support that choice.
- Offer Help While Allowing for Independence and Privacy: You can offer to stand by and wait till they call you in when they need help with any step. It might be washing the back or getting in and out of the tub. If they choose to shower clothed, then let them. This will help build trust and a cordial relationship with each other. The goal of this is to allow for independence while still offering to help and without having to intrude on their privacy.
Effraim Home Care’s senior care experts understand that family caregiving for an elderly loved one can be both gratifying and daunting, and we want you to know that you’re not alone. We offer friendly companionship, personal hygiene services such as showering, dressing, and grooming assistance, and motivation to engage in a variety of fun activities for seniors. Contact us to learn how senior home care in Allentown and surrounding areas can brighten up everyday life for a senior loved one.
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