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How To Convince Dementia Patient To Shower

How To Get Ready For A Bed Bath

Caregiver Training: Refusal to Bathe | UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care

· Be sure to ask the person if the room temperature is okay and change the temperature if need be.

· Make sure the bed is high enough so that you, s the aide, donât hurt your back. If it is too low, you could always put one knee on the bed and reach over the person to bathe them.

· You want to place a waterproof mat or sheet under the person to keep the bed dry.

· Make sure the elder has privacy; this can be done by making sure the door is shut, the blinds are down, and the curtains are closed.

Determine Which Kind Of Bathing He Enjoyed In The Past

If he is used to a shower, do not insist on using the tub. And if he used to go down the tub, do not attempt to give him showers. And if he so prefers it, you may allow him a sponge bath at the sink once in awhile.

Suggest bathing at the time of day the person is most cooperative. Determine when he is in good mood or most relaxed Although, there are occasions when you are more successful inviting him to bathe in the afternoon, most persons with dementia cooperate well when their bath is done in the morning. Probably because they are made to change clothes once for the day.

When the person refuses to bathe, do not be too anxious. Wait for a while and try again. Give him a choice before taking him to the bathroom. You may ask him something like, Do you want to bathe now or in 15 minutes? Dont force him to do as you wish. It could be dangerous for both of you.

Once you have established the best time to bathe, make it his routine time for bathing. Otherwise, he might get confused when you change the schedule.

How To Convince An Elderly Person To Bathe: 13 Smart Strategies

Have an elderly loved one or patient who refuses to bathe, despite your best efforts to convince them otherwise?

Youre not alone.

Shower struggles are a common issue for elderly caregivers, with many seniors downright refusing to bathe. While its easy to attribute this rejection of personal hygiene to pure stubbornness, there are often a number of reasons why seniors refuse to bathe, from fear of falling to isolation and depression.

In this article, well dig into why some elderly seniors refuse to bathe and cover thirteen ways you can convince an elderly individual to take a shower or bath without hurting their feelings.

Trying to convince an elderly loved one to shower can be stressful and frustrating. However, understanding why the senior is refusing to shower can make all the difference, allowing you to formulate solutions that may resolve the roadblocks between them and a good shower!

Read Also: What Happens When A Dementia Patient Stops Eating

Causes Of Challenging Behaviors In Bathing

When a person is combative or resistive with a bath or a shower, there can be many causes for her behavior. Here are a few possible ones:

  • Embarrassment: If a person is concerned about privacy, bathing with someone else present could make him feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed.
  • Fear of Water: Some people are afraid of water, whether it’s due to some traumatic incident or just increased anxiety. Others react negatively especially to a shower since they may have always grown up with the routine of a bath.
  • Lack of Understanding: A person with middle or later stage dementia might not understand why you’re present, why you’re trying to take her clothes off or why she needs to be in the water and be washed. Understandably, this often causes significant resistance.

Occasionally, the person with dementia may become sexually inappropriate during bathing because he does not understand why you are assisting him. If he misinterprets your help, don’t yell at him. Simply explain: “Mr. Smith, I’m a nurses’ aide and I’m here to help you bathe today. Your wife will be here soon to visit you.”

But What About Preventative Stuff

How Often Should the Elderly Shower?

Finally, it depends on what type of appointment. Begin with the end in mind when it comes to specialty appointments and testing. Im not in any way saying people living with dementia deserve anything less in the way of care than anyone else.

What I am saying is theyre typically more medically fragile , and thats something that deserves consideration. Think carefully about routine mammograms, Pap smears, colonoscopies, and the like.

Also Check: Are Men Or Women More Likely To Get Alzheimers

Find The Perfect Time Of Day

Some seniors may prefer to bathe in the evening, while others like to feel freshened up in the morning. Find out what time of day the individual prefers to bathe and help support that choice.

For patients with dementia, sticking to the individuals established routine can increase your odds of success.

If youre not sure which time of day they prefer and they arent able to tell you, try alternating between morning and evening bathing sessions and keep track of when the individual seems happier and more compliant.

Choose whichever time of day they seem to prefer!

Patience And Respecting The Seniors Privacy

As a caregiver, you need to be patient. Seniors like doing things at their own pace and on their own time. You have to respect that as much as possible. When convincing the senior to shower, you must allow them to do it at their own time. You have to avoid rushing them; you want to offer them options rather than giving them instructions.

For example, asking if the senior wants to shower before or after lunch or before or after dinner. Be sure to respect your seniorâs privacy; you want them to feel comfortable. If they’re going to shower clothed, then let them, this will help build trust and respect for each other.

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By Step: How To Give A Bed Bath

· Fill two basins with water; make sure it is warm. One is for soap up a washcloth, and the other is to hold warm water for rinsing.

· Make sure you wash and dry your hands before washing your elder.

· By using the back of your hand, check the temperature of the water.

· You could wear gloves, but they are not required. Put if the person is becoming sick or has bad diarrhea, you may want to.

· Let the person undress and wash as much as they are able. When they finish undressing, take the clothing away from the area, so it doesnât become wet.

· Wash their body with gentle wipes. Be sure to use soap and get every nook and cranny that you can.

· Wash face, neck, ears, chest, belly, legs, feet, etc.

· Help the person roll or move to get their backside.

· Be sure to check the water. It will become cold fast. You will want to dump the water out and refill it with clean, warm water.

· Also, be sure to change the washcloth when washing the genital area.

· After washing and drying the elder, be sure to apply lotion to their body, so their skin doesnât become dry and cracked.

· Help the person redress.

· Wash and put away supplies and be sure to wash your hands.

Next You Need To Set Up The Bathroom For The Shower

How To Get A Person Living with Dementia To Take A Shower

Ahead of time you should have everything prepared and laid out so that you dont have to disappear to find an item, leaving a person who may be vulnerable on their own in the shower.


Create a calm and relaxed atmosphere so that the person is as calm as possible.

Make the bathroom nice and warm so that the person doesnt catch cold, as it may make them irritated.

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How To Choose The Right Doctor

Okay, youve decided an appointment is in order. Chances are, your parent or partner hasnt been to a doctor in quite some time. You may be a little anxious about how long its been. Consequently, you may be feeling some internal pressure to get it right, thinking this is your one shot.

If you overthink this part, youll quickly get stuck in action paralysis.

Most folks think a geriatrician is the way to go, and it is the most frequently-sought specialty. Also, youll probably have better luck finding a unicorn. Feel free to Google your area, but dont be discouraged.

Next in popularity are internists, blessedly more bountiful. Primary care physicians, general practitioners, physicians assistants, and nurse practitioners are also very good choices.

Getting an accurate diagnosis is also important, and this is where neuropsychologists and neurologists come in handy. But if youre in a situation where your parent or partner hasnt been to a doctor in some time, start with a PCP or similar first.

A PCP can take a look at the big picture, address a host of potential concerns, and make necessary recommendations and referrals.

The main thing is to get an appointment, not get sucked into a research project. Ask friends whove been down this path for recommendations.

Get The Help You Need

Hiring a home health aide can help you keep your loved ones clean. Some seniors may be completely opposed to the idea at first, but then, they will likely decide that having a stranger help them is less embarrassing than having a relative do so.

Also, home health aides are trained to assist persons with all physical and cognitive abilities. They know how to quickly conduct a shower or bath, thoroughly and respectfully, while ensuring that the client is comfortable. But do your due diligence to choose a reputable home care company that will provide the right aides for your loved one.

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Tips To Convince Seniors To Take Medication

1. Focus on critical medicationsIn caregiving, its important to pick your battles. Dont waste energy trying to get your older adult to take vitamins or other supplements that werent specifically recommended by their doctor.

Vitamins and supplements havent been proven to be helpful to older adults and could cause negative drug interactions.

Instead, focus on the medication that doctors have prescribed and are essential for their health and quality of life.

2. Have the doctor explain the importanceIn some cases, your older adult doesnt understand or wont believe that there are serious consequences to not taking medication.;

If that happens, ask their doctor to take time to explain to them why the medicine is important and what will happen if they dont take it.;

Many older adults respond better to authority figures and experts than they do to family members.

3. Check for unpleasant side effectsSometimes your older adult may be refusing to take medicine because side effects are making them feel ill dizzy, nauseated, upset stomach, etc.

Keep track of how theyre feeling and speak with their doctor to see if there are alternative medications without negative side effects.

4. Change the flavor or formulaSome medications tastes awful or gets stuck in the throat.;

I wouldnt blame someone for not wanting to take medicine thats literally hard to swallow.;

Big chain drugstores and compounding pharmacies usually offer these types of services.

Bathing Tips And Techniques For Dementia Caregivers

3 Ways to Get An Elderly Person to Bathe or Shower

Getting an aging or ill loved one to bathe is a notorious battle that many family caregivers experience. When dementia is a part of this equation, it complicates things even further. There are any number of reasons why a senior with Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia may become resistant to showering as the disease progresses. Understanding the underlying causes can help family caregivers better navigate these issues and help their loved ones stay as clean, healthy and comfortable as possible.

Also Check: How To Prevent Alzheimers And Parkinsons Disease

Tread Softly With Loved Ones Who Have Dementia

Dementia care is unlike any other kind of caregiving. Beyond that, it is unique to each family. Some patients merely require reminders and prompting when it comes to bathing and dressing, but others may become agitated or combative at the mere mention of a shower. Furthermore, one never knows when a new behavior or fear may develop or disappear. When it comes to getting dementia patients to shower, proceed slowly and gently and schedule difficult tasks at the time of day when they are most cooperative.

Dont insist on a full shower/bath and outfit change all at once. Breaking a task down into smaller pieces over a longer period can make it easier on both of you. Begin with just asking to wipe off your loved ones face. If they are receptive, gradually move to cleaning their under arms and other parts of the body, all while talking to them and telling them what you are doing as you go. Be soothing. If they fight it or say stop, then stop. You can always try again later. These little victories can function as a stopgap between full baths or showers.

Tips To Help Get Your Loved One To Bathe Or Shower

Try talking about it

Communication is key to understanding the actual reasons behind not bathing. You need to determine if its a function of fear, pain, discomfort or simple forgetfulness. In many cases, it may just be they simply dont want to.

Ask their healthcare provider

When a conversation doesnt help, contacting a healthcare provider may help you determine the actual reason someone refuses to bathe. He/she can help you understand the ins and outs of their medical condition and may provide you with alternatives to bathingsuch as a sponge bath.

Set reminders for the patient

If dementia is the reason for not bathing, you can prepare notes to post around the house. Stick them on bathroom doors or walls to remind them to shower or bathe.

Ask family and friends to help

If your loved one continues to enjoy the company of family and friends, try getting them involved too. For exampleif your parent is in no mood to shower or bathe, have a friend call inviting them to go out. Your parent may be so excited about spending time out of the house, they may just want to quickly shower or bathe to get ready to leave for a day out.

Purchase shower equipment

Be patient and go slow

Most people dont like being rushed, and as people age, they are more likely to want to do everything at their own pace. So, be advisedgo slow and allow them to do things in their own time.

Be encouraging

Read Also: What To Do If You Have Alzheimer’s

Offer Help While Allowing For Independence

If a senior wants to shower independently, allow them to do so as long as it is safe. Brainstorm ways you can allow the elderly individual to bathe with as much safe independence as possible.

For example, you could sit outside of the shower curtain, lather up a washcloth or sponge with soap, and then hand it to the individual and let them wash themselves, only assisting with areas that they cannot reach.

This may require thinking outside of the box depending on the senior individuals capabilities, but even offering a small degree of independence can go a long way to making bathing more of a desirable activity.

How Do You Get Someone With Alzheimers To Take A Shower

Part 4 of 6: Dementia – tips to get them to sit on the toilet

The only way then to get an Alzheimers patient to take a shower is to use a handheld detach from the wall and let it hang down. While using it, aim in at the floor or away from the patient. In most cases, you will end up helping the patient take the shower. The patients may be uncomfortable at first but there are ways to make them comfortable. Otherwise, they will not take a shower on their own.

Understand that it may be embarrassing for them, so have patience.; Sometimes someone who has Alzheimers and is being bathed by someone else will slip and forget why they are in a bath with someone, and it could even cause them to be sexually inappropriate, so be prepared for that possibility.

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How To Deal With Dementia Behavior Problems

  • How to Deal with Dementia Behavior Problems: 19 Dos and Donts

Dementia is a disease that affects millions of people across the globe every year. It is often a highly misunderstood condition that is marred by numerous misconceptions, which make the condition difficult to understand and study.

You should know that dementia is not a name for an illness, rather it is a collective term that describes a broad range of symptoms that relate to declining of thinking, memory, and cognitive skills. These symptoms have deteriorating effects that usually affect how a patient acts and engages in the day-to-day activities.

In advanced dementia stages, affected persons may experience symptoms that bring out a decline in rational thought, intellect, social skills, memory, and normal emotional reactivity. It is something that can make them powerless when it comes to living normal, healthy lives.

Relatives, caregivers, spouses, siblings, children and anyone close to a person who has dementia need to know how to deal with behavioral problems that surface because of the illness. Examples of dementia problems may include aggressiveness, violence and oppositional behaviors. Find out some of the vital Do and Donts when dealing with a dementia patient.

+ Caregiver Tips: How To Convince An Elderly Person To Bathe

by Gareth Williams

If you are going to be your elderly parents caregiver, you are making a decision which will involve taking on a huge amount of responsibility and many challenges along the way, and convincing your reluctant parent to bathe may be one of them.

How to convince an elderly person to bathe ?;75 real life caregiver tips, and strategies, that you can use to convince an elderly loved one to bathe.;

I look at how often a senior should wash, how to talk to them about this sensitively, the reasons why seniors may not be washing, how to initiate the subject with our parents, different strategies to get our loved one to bathe, and finally what to do if nothing works.

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