5 Tips for Bathing a Senior Loved One with Dementia

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Bathing a senior loved one with dementia can be a challenge. Cognitive decline is one of the hallmarks of dementia, and those with the condition may react negatively to familiar activities such as getting a bath. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ensure bathing your loved one won’t be a harrowing experience. 

1. Explain the Bath Procedure

If your loved one is confused, he or she may be unable to understand the importance of bathing. Explain each step of the bathing process. This way, your loved one won’t feel afraid or intimidated by the washcloth, soap, or shampoo. Also, make sure you’re being extra gentle while washing your loved one, and avoid any sudden movements that may startle him or her.

Helping with basic daily tasks such as bathing can make caring for seniors with dementia challenging for family caregivers. Luckily, there is dementia care Edmonton families can rely on. Professional dementia caregivers help seniors with dementia stay safe and comfortable at home by preventing wandering, providing cognitive stimulation, and assisting with household chores. 

2. Encourage Participation

Many seniors who have dementia feel as though they have no control over certain situations, which can lead to anxiety and depression. While you’re bathing your loved one, encourage participation in the bathing process by asking him or her to wash the upper body and legs. If your loved one has limited mobility and is unable to participate in the bathing process, refrain from asking. Asking for participation from seniors with dementia who are unable to cooperate may result in frustration. 

Family caregivers can sometimes be overwhelmed by managing the responsibilities of caring for a loved one with dementia, but help is available. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

3. Keep the Water at a Comfortable Temperature

Seniors with dementia may be very sensitive to water temperatures. Make sure the bath water is neither too hot nor too cold before your loved one enters the bathtub. If your loved one is cognitively able, ask him or her to test the temperature of the water before the bath begins. If your loved one doesn’t like the temperature, allow him or her to add hot or cold water to the tub while you’re supervising. Don’t allow your loved one to take a bath in water that’s extremely hot or extremely cold, even if he or she prefers it. Doing so may lead to health consequences such as shivering, skin irritation, or scalding. 

4. Avoid Stepping Away

Seniors who have dementia may appear cognitively intact one minute and then become confused the next, which can lead to serious injuries as a result of falls, or they may inadvertently swallow water or ingest soap. Carefully monitor your loved one at all times while he or she is taking a bath. 

5. Monitor Skin Condition

While bathing your loved one, monitor the condition of his or her skin. People with dementia may scratch themselves, pick their skin, or otherwise inadvertently injure the skin. If the skin isn’t checked on a regular basis, scratches or other dermal injuries may become worse or lead to infection. If you notice any abnormalities in the condition of your loved one’s skin, call the physician for further evaluation and treatment. 

Bathing is just one of the many everyday tasks a professional caregiver can help seniors with dementia perform. If your senior loved one needs professional in-home care in Edmonton, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a trusted provider of respite and 24-hour care, and we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care for seniors. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at (780) 490-7337.


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