How to Help a Family Member with Alzheimer’s or Dementia with Bathing

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,228
    Kelly Scott of Emeritus Senior Living will provide strategies and tips for caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or memory loss. This video will cover the most challenging aspects of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving, including how to bathe.

    Kelly Scott: Hello, I am Kelly Scott with Emeritus Senior Living. For people with Alzheimer's disease or Dementia, bathing can be a difficult experience for a number of reasons. There are many steps involved in the bathing process, which can be challenging for individuals with these conditions. Today I will discuss some reasons your loved one might be resisting bathing and some strategies to help you with this important task. There are many factors that could affect your family members desire to bathe. They may be fearful of water, being undressed or slipping. Whatever the reason, there are ways you can prepare and help them bathe that will ease their anxieties and keep them feeling safe and comfortable. If your loved one resist bathing, try offering them something they might enjoy to motivate them to work with you, such as getting ready for a visit, going to church or other outings that are important to them. Encourage deep breathing for relaxation and remind them that the cleanliness is very important to avoid uncomfortable irritations and rashes. Also bathe at the time of the day that is familiar to them. For instance, if they always bathe in the evening, continue to make it part of their evening routine. Before you start, consider using these approaches. Check to make sure the temperature of the bathroom is comfortable. Attach non-slip mats to the bottom of the tub to avoid slipping. Clearly mark red on the hot water faucet and blue for cold. Use only 2 to 3 inches of water in the tub. Make sure the temperature of the water is comfortable and warm. Set the temperature on the water heater at 120 or lower to avoid scalding. Give any gentle suggestion, such as; it is time to unbutton your shirt, for each step of the process for undressing. If they do not want to remove clothing, allow them to wear clothing or bathing suit in the bath or shower. By following these guidelines, you will be ensuring that your loved one have a safe and enjoyable bathing experience. A successful bathing session can also be a nice time to bond with your loved one, which may make them more likely to corporate in the future.