When it comes to bathing an aging loved one, many adults are experiencing an odd sense of déjà vu. Except it is not their small child fighting against bath time, it is their elderly parent!
Whether it be a memory issue, a desire to remain in control, or a physical impairment, seniors can shy away from a steady regiment of bathing. If you are currently undergoing this struggle, here are a few methods for encouraging and aiding in a steady bath time.
Reframe the Experience to their Needs
As a nursing agency can tell us, the best way to encourage bathing is to take stock of why your loved one may be avoiding the ritual. Ask yourself, “Does mom not enjoy being cold after? Is it because the experience makes her feel a lack of control?” By tackling the issue, you can find yourself more apt to discovering the solution.
Try and reframe the experience to tackle your loved one’s qualms. If they find bathing to be uncomfortable, you can rebrand it to “pampering time.”
If they don’t want to be told what to do, create a scenario in which it is advantageous for them to bathe. For example, a visit from a friend is a great reason to “freshen up!”
Utilize a Home Care Agency
For many seniors, a home healthcare aide can be especially helpful in fostering a regular bath time. The agency can connect your loved one with a qualified home health aide to help them during their washing. With their specialized training, the aide can help your loved one work through their bathing trepidations.
Take Baby Steps
If your loved one is currently living with dementia, it’s important to approach bath time as a long game. Degenerative brain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, can make small tasks seem overwhelming. Thus, the best method for approaching bath time with dementia patients is to start slowly and work your way up.
A great beginning is to ask your loved one to do small tasks that lead to bath time. This can be wiping makeup off their face, splashing water onto their hands, or using a wet comb in their hair.
As with every activity, be clear and state every action before you do it. If your loved one becomes overwhelmed and asks for you to stop: stop! Take the marginal progress you’ve made as a victory, and know that your loved one will get there eventually.