If you are a caregiver or you have a loved one who is a senior, experts say it’s a good idea to understand why bathing is sometimes a touchy subject. Bathing, dressing and grooming present some of the greatest challenges for caregivers because of the intimate and personal nature of these tasks.
First of all, it’s important to understand why the person is resisting bathing. Are they not aware that they need to change clothes or bathe because of a sensory deficit? Are they unable to make a decision as to what to wear or how to get started? The biggest reason however, is safety. Is there a fear of falling? How about pain or balance issues? Is there embarrassment over needing help with these activities or having to ask for help? Typically, balancing is difficult, and when you add a slippery bath or shower, it is a very scary task!
If safety is a concern, experts say it’s time to convert your traditional tub or shower into a walk in tub, a tub to shower conversion, or a step through insert. Choose a reputable company and they can convert your bath in about a day at a reasonable price. This will completely change how your loved one feels about bathing! Instead of having to try and balance while stepping into a slick tub, they will now be able to walk into their new walk-in tub. Another must, is to make sure you provide adequate lighting and safety measures like grab bars, a shower bench, and non-skid surfaces.
Experts also say make sure you prepare the bathroom so that it is cozy, warm and provides a distraction-free environment. Be positive and upbeat and use a calm voice at all times. Don’t try to force everything in at one time. Separate hair-washing from bathing so that the bathing session doesn’t take a long time. Last but not least, be willing to negotiate how often the full shower or bath is taken, three times a week is adequate with sponge bathing in-between.