Bath Suggestions for Elderly Dementia?
We are caring for my aging parents mostly because my mother needed help to care for my father who has early to mid Alzheimer's. My elderly parents have moved in with my family.
He refuses to shower and a bath is out of the question. He gets enraged at the suggestion and refuses no matter how we try to convince him.
He has had 1 shower since Memorial Day weekend and is obviously in dire need. He is physically able and my mother is willing to help him, but he will not cooperate. REPLY:
I have run into this before and know there is not always an easy solution for providing help for elderly in this situation.
Not only can it be frustrating when you can't convince your aging parent to bathe, but you also worry about their health.
I'll give you some advice and a few tips to try:
1. Remember that bathing doesn't have to happen once a day. Once a week is good.
2. Sponge baths are ok if you can get your aging parent to agree to this.
3. Try a different tactic. Tell them you're going out somewhere special so they need to take a shower and get "dolled" up. If there was something they valued earlier in life (going to a show, going to church, going out with friends), use that as an excuse.
4. Make sure the bath feels safe for them. If they have moved from their old home, as in this case, try and set up the bathroom and shower/bath to look like their old one. If you'd like some ideas on improving bathroom safety, Bathroom Products for the Elderly
5. Modesty might be part of the issue. They may not want any of their family members to see them undressed. Consider hiring outside help for this task. This works sometimes.
6. Try providing nice warm towels for a spongebath. You can try this right in the morning when they get up before getting dressed.
7. If they'll be getting help with a bath/ shower/ sponge bath, try to be slow and soothing. Always warn them before touching so not to startle them. "I'm just going to wipe your face" or "I'm going to spray the water on your back now".
8. Try alternatives like dry shampoo to reduce the amount of actual baths/showers needed.
9. Think of how and when she bathed in the past. Try and help recreate this.
I know this can be a very challenging situation and I hope these suggestions help.
If any other readers have suggestions that have worked for them, please share them!