As a family caregiver for an elderly adult who is living with Alzheimer’s disease, one difficulty that you might have noticed is your parent resisting bathing. Increased body odor, dirty hair, or appearing not as clean as they should are all indications that your parent is not bathing regularly, but your parent may also exhibit resistance, anger, and even combativeness when you suggest bathing. There can be many reasons for this and take the time to address these issues can help to make this necessary task smoother and less stressful for both of you.
Use these tips to help make bath time more accessible and less stressful for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease:
-Establish a schedule. If bathing simply becomes part of what they do on a certain day, they will be less likely to question if they need to or that they have just done it. Having a predictable schedule means that bathing becomes routine and your parent is more likely to simply go along with it.
-Create a routine. Routine is also a valuable part of making bathing less stressful. Routine lets your parent feel more in control and secure as they know what is coming and do not need to feel fearful or anxious.
-Take your time. Bathing should not be something that is rushed or that you try to squeeze into a brief time that you will be able to be with your parent. Having plenty of time means that your parent can relax, move through their bathing smoothly, and address any other difficulties or issues as they arise.
-Set up first. Make sure that everything that is needed for your parent’s bathing is prepared before you tell them that it is time. This eliminates nervousness and anticipation and allows you to move right into the process.
-Make it comfortable. Physical comfort is an important part of reducing anxiety and stress for your elderly parent. Ensure the room is warm and that the water is at a comfortable temperature. If your parent has shown fear of the water, have it running before they go into the room rather than turning it on when they go in.
How can a caregiver help?
Being a family caregiver can be stressful and challenging, but home care can help. Starting care for your aging parent can be an exceptional way to encourage your loved one to live the highest quality of life possible as they age in place.
These highly personalized services are designed specifically to address your parent’s individual needs and challenges in the ways that are right for them. This can help them to stay happy, healthy, comfortable, and safe, while also supporting independence, activity, and fulfillment throughout their later years.
As a family caregiver this can give you confidence that whether you are able to be with your parent or not, your senior is getting everything that they need. This can ease your stress and allow you to take a step back and focus more energy and attention on the other obligations and needs such as your children, your marriage, your career, and yourself.