Owner's Blog

Tips for Reducing Bathing Anxiety for an Elderly Adult with Dementia

By Dawn Hill

As a family caregiver for one of the approximately six million people throughout the United States who are currently living with dementia, you may have noticed an increase in anxiety in your aging loved one. Anxiety is an extremely common effect of dementia, and can manifest in many different ways. For many seniors, bathing can cause high levels of anxiety. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including not knowing what's happening because they have forgotten the significance of bathing, being uncomfortable with being unclothed, being afraid of the sound or appearance of the water, and more. It is important for you to recognize the anxiety your elderly loved one is experiencing as they live with dementia, and to take steps to dispel this anxiety and encourage your parents to stay healthy through keeping their body clean.

Use these tips to help reduce bathing anxiety for an elderly adult with dementia:

  • Prepare the bathroom in advance. Rather than telling your parent it's almost time to bathe and then going about the tasks of getting the bathroom ready at, do all of this prep work ahead of time so once you tell your parent it's time to bathe, you can move them directly in and get the process going. The bathroom should be at a comfortable temperature and equipped with everything your parent will need during and after the bath, including a large towels, soap, shampoo and conditioner, washcloths, and a bath mat
  • Keep a routine. Predictability is an important concept for seniors who are living with dementia. Routine gives them the ability to know what's coming and to feel less anxious and out of control
  • Make sure they can easily access all supplies. Even if you do most of the bathing for your senior, make sure they can easily access the shampoo, conditioner, soap, washcloth, and other items you'll use. This gives them a sense of control and also lets them see when you pick an item up so they are not startled or made uncomfortable by you performing a task without them knowing what is coming
  • Use only a small amount of water. You do not need to fill the bathtub for your parent to bathe effectively. Instead, put only a few inches in the tub
  • Don't always rely on full baths. In most circumstances there is no need for an elderly adult to take a full bath or shower every day. They may not even need one every other day. Use sponge baths, rinse-free products, and other such techniques to keep your parent fresh and clean

Stress is much more common among those adults who are family caregivers then among others who have not taken on these responsibilities for an older adults. Caring for a senior, particularly if you are also taking care of children, putting you in the sandwich generation, requires a tremendous amount of time, effort, and energy. If you already have a busy schedule, this can feel daunting and even overwhelming. Fortunately, senior care is there for you. A senior home care services provider can step in on a schedule that is right for you and for your senior to make sure they have access to the care, support, and assistance that is right for them and their needs. This helps to prevent stress and protect you from the challenge and consequences that can occur as a result.

https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/daily-care/bathing

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN CORNELIUS, NC, PLEASE CALL THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS HOME CARE. WE SERVE CLIENTS IN MOORESVILLE, STATESVILLE, DAVIDSON, CORNELIUS, HUNTERSVILLE, DENVER, CONCORD, KANNAPOLIS, AND THE CHARLOTTE METRO AREA. CALL TODAY: (704) 909-7958.