Elderly Care in Boynton Beach FL
Bathing or showering is something that you know that your parent needs to do regularly in order to maintain proper health and wellbeing. If that aging loved one is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, however, this task may be more challenging. In fact, many family caregivers cite helping their parent bathe as the single most challenging task that they encounter during the course of their elderly care journey with them. This can be due to a variety of factors including resistance from your parent, feelings of modesty or discomfort, physical limitations, and combative behaviors. Addressing your concerns carefully and using special techniques and strategies will help you to make bathing your aging parent as low-stress as possible.
Use some of these tips for effective and low-stress bathing for your aging parent with Alzheimer’s disease:
• Acknowledge emotional concerns. Be aware that your parent might find bathing frightening. Even if your loved one enjoyed taking long baths or showers when they were younger, the reality of Alzheimer’s disease can change this radically. The sound of the water, the perception of depth, and the fear of falling can all make it intimidating to bathe or shower. Address this by offering your support and encouragement, never shaming or embarrassing your parent by belittling their fears, and taking steps to ease this worry. Often it helps to get the shower running before you bring your parent in. This lets them get used to the sound from outside of the room. If bathing, consider putting just a few inches of water into the tub and then helping your parent in. When they realize that the water is not dangerously deep, they will feel more comfortable and you can add more water.
• Encourage independence. Just because your parent is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease does not mean that they are incapable of handling any of their own personal care. Encourage as much independence as possible during the bathing process. This not only helps to take strain off of you, but it gives your parent an emotional boost. Encourage this independence by making sure that products are easily accessible without reaching, providing tools that aid in self-bathing such as handled sponges, and reassuring your parent that you are there as a support system and assistant, not to do it for them.
• Respect modesty. Many elderly adults, even those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, are quite modest and may find it extremely upsetting and distasteful to think of an adult child helping them with the tasks of bathing. Put steps into place to respect this modesty. If the sound of the water is not an issue, consider having your parent step into the shower, close the curtain, and remove their clothing. They can then hand it out to you and you can hand in a towel for them to wrap in. This lets them cover up as they sit on a shower bench or seat. You can then turn the water on and they can expose one body part at a time to bathe
If assisting your parent with bathing is an overwhelming task for you either emotionally or physically, an elderly health care services provider can make all the difference. This care provider can create a personalized care approach for your parent that ensures they get the respectful and dignified assistance that they need. Having this care provider involved in this particular task can be a tremendous relief for you, but it can also make the process more palatable to your parent who will see the provider as a neutral professional rather than a loved one and feel more comfortable.