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How to Address an Older Adult’s Resistance to Bathing

By Melissa Hill, 9:00 am on

The senior years bring changes in preferences, and bathing battles are a common challenge many caregivers face. There are often logical reasons such as embarrassment or a fear of falling that are underlying causes for the behavior. When your loved one balks at the mere mention of a bath or shower, use these tips to encourage better personal hygiene.

Consider a New Schedule

Take a look at your loved one’s current routine to identify if changing the time for bathing might ease the stress. For instance, bathing during the warmer part of the day may help if your loved one claims he or she is too cold. Alternatively, your loved one may do better with bathing if you do it early in the day when he or she is in a happy mood. Reconsider whether or not your loved one needs a bath every day. Switching baths to every other day may reduce the chance of resistance, and it can also alleviate dry skin.

Seniors living with serious health conditions often need a level of support that some families are unable to provide. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Oklahoma City Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Make It a Relaxing Experience

Be honest for a moment as you think about the last bathing experience you shared with your loved one. Ask yourself if you were rushed or if your loved one felt stressed out by the process. If so, spend a few minutes planning ways to make bath time more relaxing. For instance, you could play your loved one’s favorite music or give him or her a light hand massage with lotion afterward. This may help your loved one make positive associations with bath time.

Explore Waterless Bathing Options

Your loved one may worry about things such as wasting water or spending too much on utilities. If this is the case, explore waterless options such as foaming cleansers that are designed to be gentle on the skin. Since these reduce odor and remove dirt, your loved one can still be clean without the hassles of getting into the water.

Address Safety Concerns

Seniors with limited mobility often fear falling in the shower. This is especially true for seniors who have already experienced a fall-related injury. Consider installing handrails and putting nonskid mats in your loved one’s bathroom. Then, offer to stick close by in case he or she needs assistance getting in and out of the bathtub.

Consider hiring a live-in caregiver to ensure your loved one isn’t home alone while bathing. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in home care, Oklahoma City Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

Arrange for Professional Assistance

Sometimes a senior’s resistance to bathing begins to impact his or her social relationships and physical health. When this happens, it is best to let a professional caregiver step in and take over this part of the daily routine. Not only will a caregiver know a few tricks to encourage your loved one to take a shower, but your loved one may also prefer having a professional help with such a personal task.

If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Oklahoma City seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. To learn about our premier home care services, call us at 405-285-4191 today.