Community Blog

Tips for Helping your Patient in the Shower

By Ketan Patel

As a caregiver, one of your responsibilities will be to help your patient maintain good hygiene and take regular showers or baths. Seniors may feel embarrassed and they may be upset that they need such personal, hands-on help.

Here are some tips for making bath time easier, safer and quicker.

  • Convince the Senior to Bathe

Sometimes the hardest part is convincing seniors that it is time to take a shower or a bath. Showering first thing in the morning is easiest before they get dressed. You may say that you want to take them out to visit a relative or a friend, or that you thought they would enjoy going to a restaurant, so they need to get cleaned up.

  • Pay Attention to Safety

The bathroom can be a dangerous place for a senior, especially at bath time when surfaces are wet and slippery. Many seniors have poor balance and are prone to falling, so extra care is a must. Use safety equipment like grab bars and non-slip mats on the shower or bathtub floor. One particularly safe way to help a senior bathe is to use a shower seat and a hand-held shower sprayer.

  • Be Prepared

Anticipate the senior’s needs for the shower and have everything ready ahead of time. Become familiar with preferred products and routines to make the process smoother. Liquid soap on a washcloth or poof bath sponge is preferable to bar soap. Have towels, floor mats and clothes handy for the end of the bath.

  • Be Sensitive to Modesty

Some seniors may prefer to keep a towel or washcloth over their privates during a bath or shower. If they do, you will have to work around it and make sure they get clean.

  • Wash the Skin Folds

As people age, their skin becomes wrinkled and skin folds develop. Previous surgeries can have the same result. Make sure you clean underneath the skin folds to prevent the growth of bacteria, especially under the breasts, around the neck, on the stomach, and near the genitalia. Towel dry thoroughly to prevent fungal infections and apply moisturizer.

  • Develop a Routine

While bathing every day is not usually necessary, regular showers or baths are imperative to good hygiene. Develop a routine that works so there are no surprises, say three or four times per week.

  • Don’t Forget Oral Health

Make sure the senior in your care brushes his or her teeth morning and night. An electric toothbrush is easy to use and more effective than a regular toothbrush. Mouthwash can eliminate some bacteria in the mouth for oral health and pleasant breath. Ask the dentist if there are any kinds of toothpaste that should be avoided.

Additional Bath Time Tips

  • Don’t forget to test the water temperature before the elder takes a shower or bath.
  • Avoid quick movements in the bathroom. A slow, gentle manner can keep things calm and safe and avoid falls.
  • Caregivers will want to protect their clothing from soap and water by wearing a waterproof plastic apron to stay dry during bath time.

Choosing a Caregiving Agency

Home Helpers of South Shore is owned and operated by a compassionate health professional with a strong understanding of the needs of aging seniors. Contact Home Helpers for professional management, a caring atmosphere, a flexible schedule and the opportunity to learn new skills.

Call us at 781-585-1244 to discuss outstanding caregiver opportunities at Home Helpers of South Shore.

We serve the following communities:

Abington , Braintree , Brockton , Buzzards Bay , Carver , Cohasset, Dighton , Duxbury , Falmouth , Halifax , Hanson , Hingham , Holbrook , Hull , Humarock , Kingston , Lakeville , Marshfield , Mashpee , Middleboro , Norwell , Pembroke , Plymouth , Plympton , Quincy , Randolph , Rockland , Sandwich , Scituate , Taunton , Wareham , Weymouth , Whitman