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How to Make Bathing Safer for an Aging Adult with Alzheimer’s

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Bathing helps ensure optimal health and physical wellbeing, but this task can become more challenging in the senior years. When a senior has Alzheimer’s disease, the challenges may be even greater. If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s, the Warren, NJ, Alzheimer’s care experts at Home Care Assistance have a few tips to help make bathing safer and more comfortable for him or her.

Prepare the Bathroom

Some seniors with Alzheimer’s may not remember how to bathe or why they need to, which can cause fear or resistance. Bathing may be less stressful for your loved one if you prepare the bathroom in advance to make the process as quick and efficient as possible. Gather the necessary items and place them within easy reach, fill the tub with a few inches of warm water, and provide a nonslip safety mat. To help your loved one remain calm, use a soothing tone of voice to let him or her know it is time to bathe.

Provide Assistance

Seniors with Alzheimer’s may be embarrassed or confused by the intimacy of bathing and need reassurance. Help your loved one feel more comfortable by covering him or her with a large towel while he or she undresses. Keep your loved one occupied by giving him or her a simple task like holding the shampoo, and give short, clear directions to help him or her stay focused on the task at hand. When helping your loved one out of the tub, provide as much support as possible to prevent a fall.

Be Gentle with the Skin

When helping your loved one dry off, be gentle. Pat his or her skin instead of rubbing it, and apply lotion once his or her body is dry. Some seniors with Alzheimer’s scratch themselves excessively due to dehydration, allergies, or obsessive-compulsive behavior. Check for any irritated areas that may need treatment, and apply talcum powder under folds of skin.

Hire a Professional Caregiver

As the disease progresses, bathing your loved one may become more difficult, and he or she may resist bathing completely. Consider hiring a professional in-home caregiver to help make this task easier. Professional Alzheimer’s caregivers in Warren are highly trained experts who can make bathing a safer and more pleasant experience for your loved one.

If your loved one needs help with bathing, grooming, and other important daily tasks, reach out to Warren Home Care Assistance. We offer flexible live-in and respite care services and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. For more information on the elder care Warren families trust, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to request a free in-home consultation.