If you are new to caring for your elderly relative as a family caregiver, you may be surprised at some of the challenges you face that you were not expecting. For example, many seniors are resistant to getting help from family caregivers and grow stubborn about participating. One example of this is with bathing and showering. Perhaps your aging loved one is resistant to showering or bathing and the conversations and the activity itself are becoming a battleground. The good news is that there are many things you can do to make this necessary and important task better for you both.
Have a Conversation
The first thing to do is have a conversation about why they are resistant. You may be surprised at the answer, and the discussion can lead to a better method. It’s also important to remember that seniors don’t need to bathe as often as younger people due to lower production levels in their sweat and oil glands in the skin. Unless there are hygiene issues, seniors can usually do just fine with bathing or showering a few times per week.
Focus on Bathroom Safety
Many elderly adults are uncomfortable with baths and showers because they worry about their safety. Bathrooms are slippery with hard surfaces and showering and bathing puts seniors in very vulnerable positions. Slip and fall accidents can happen easily, and a senior who worries about safety may resist the task. You can install grab bars in the shower or tub, put down non-slip rugs on the floor and start using shower chairs or tub chairs for stability. Other modifications include putting in a handheld shower head and single-hand dispensers for soap and shampoo. With better safety, seniors may not be so resistant.
Raise Comfort Levels
Many seniors focus on their own comfort levels, especially if they are dealing with chronic pain. They often feel extremely uncomfortable when cold and wet, thereby avoiding baths and showers. When you implement techniques to maximize comfort, aging adults may not be so resistant. Examples include bringing in a space heater to reduce chill, assembling everything you need so you aren’t prolonging their time in the shower or tub, and having plenty of warm towels nearby. When you are quick and efficient with a bath or shower, seniors won’t have much time to be uncomfortable.
Modesty and Embarrassment
Showering and bathing is a very vulnerable and intimate time for seniors, and some may be too embarrassed to do so with a family member. The older generations often have different views on modesty and may simply not want to shower or bathe with someone in the family. Many families hire home care providers to help with showers and baths, plus getting dressed and grooming duties. This puts a professional home care provider as the assistant, leaving the family caregiver to handle other tasks. Many seniors prefer the professional help from a home care provider instead of from a family member.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Saratoga, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.