Seniors Bath Time Solutions for those Reluctant Seniors.
“No, not today. No, not today. No, I’m not going to. Not now, not ever.”
Have you have heard this before at your seniors bath time?
If you encounter opposition to bathing when you are the caregiver, you are not alone. Avoidance or resistance to bathing is not unusual among patients who live in nursing homes or other facilities. In fact, it is a problem that personal care staff regularly encounters in just about any kind of health facility. And, it can happen in your home as well.
What’s the Problem?
- Pick a good time for a conversation about the seniors bath time, and try to determine just what it is about bathing that is troubling to them. Or, watch their reactions carefully to observe what precedes their resistance or objections to bathing.
- Maybe they had a bad experience in the past which is influencing their behavior today.
- They could be afraid of an accident while bathing.
- If they are dealing with dementia, it may be that bath time is too complicated and just the thought of it becomes frustrating.
- Perhaps they’re embarrassed and need more privacy.
- What could be changed in the bathing routine? The place, the schedule, the other people involved?
Make the setting of bathing as relaxing and pleasant as possible.
- Make sure the room is free of fall hazards, both for you the caregiver and the bather.
- Try to be gentle.
- Consider their preference in the temperature of the room and water, and even the temperature and texture of the washcloth and towels.
- What kind of bath do they prefer: a sponge bath, a shower or a tub bath? How wet do they like to be?
- What can you do to make the environment more inviting and pleasant? Could you allow more time, or play relaxing music, for example? Could you use room deodorizer or a scented candle to make the area fragrant?
Prepare the environment, just for them, before the bath. The point is to let them have their way with every little thing possible. The goal is for them to bathe, some way, somehow. Adjust everything else possible according to their wishes with safety a priority.
Consider the schedule of bathing. How often should one bathe to stay healthy and clean? Talk to your nurse or doctor for advice on specific recommendations about sanitation and the patient’s condition. Re-schedule bath-time for a time when everyone is relaxed, not hurried. Try a morning bath, and then dress for the day. On the other hand, a nighttime bath might help one sleep better.
When addressing seniors bath time, emphasize the advantages of bathing as an aid to a better appearance, feeling fresher, and smelling better. Apply powder, cologne, deodorant, lotion and make-up after bath time for pampering. Give attention to hair styling. Massage their feet and neck after a bath. Apply nail polish after bath time. Bring out the mirror and a nice robe.
Consider the tasks that the bather can do, and what you as a caregiver must do for safety. What can the bather do by himself? Allow the bather the independence to do as much as he can himself in as much privacy as possible while bathing.
Careful! As the caregiver, you must be attentive to the bather’s ability to get into the tub or shower and to get out safely.
Consider the position of the bather while bathing so that the bather is supported and balanced throughout the bath. There are many types of bath seats, shower wands and other equipment to help make the bath more safe and secure.
Consider how you the caregiver can move about comfortably while bathing the patient. Look out for leaning low over the tub, for lifting someone who is too heavy for you to lift alone, slipping on slippery surfaces, or getting wet and chilled yourself.
Give it some thought.
Think through these concerns. They may help you and make bath time a little more comfortable.
We will give more specific suggestions and ideas to make bath time a regular and pleasant experience in our next blog. Stay tuned!