Life with Alzheimer’s is extremely challenging, and normal daily tasks become a struggle. For reasons not fully known, a large number of people with Alzheimer’s develop a fear of water, making bathing and showering frightening and intimidating. This leads to a strong aversion to bathing that can prove difficult and dangerous to the person with Alzheimer’s and the caregiver alike. Fortunately, there are helpful tips that can make bathing someone with Alzheimer’s easier.
The first thing that is needed is an effort to make the process as comfortable as possible from the start. Approach bath time with a smiling, friendly demeanor and ease into the topic of bath time. Don’t argue, scold, or threaten; this will make matters worse.
It’s important to personalize the experience based on the patient’s particular aversions. For instance, if your loved one doesn’t like bathing because it makes them feel cold, make sure to keep the bathroom heated and provide warm towels and robes for them to wrap themselves in after the shower.
Safety is always the utmost concern when bathing someone with Alzheimer’s. It’s crucial to think three steps ahead of the process and put safety precautions in place before the bath occurs. Make sure all the towels, soap and shampoos are close at hand, so that you do not need to divert your attention from the bather.
If bath time still remains a struggle, it is good to remember that full bathing is not necessary every single day. In fact, older adults often have dry skin which can be irritated by bathing too frequently. Often, washing a single body part at a time with a warm washcloth over the course of a day will suffice, but be sure to apply moisturizing lotion every day to keep your loved one comfortable.
See the video below for even more important tips on making bath time easier!
TC currently lives in the soggy Pacific Northwest, bellied up to a sun lamp. In addition to writing, she enjoys photography and estate sales, and is the proud mother to an ever-growing collection of cacti.