The immune system grows weaker with old age. This means potential health issues such as diabetes and arthritis. It also leaves the body more prone to getting infections. One of the ways to prevent the risk of infection is through good hygiene with bathing routines.
Some elderly individuals need help preparing the bath. Others may need more assistance, from sponging to toweling and dressing up. Bathing your elderly loved one is no easy task, especially when there is resistance due to a condition, like dementia or Alzheimer’s. While you may have the help of a caregiver, it’s useful to learn the proper way so you can do the task with little to no problem.
1. Start with Open Communication
Talk with your aging parents or grandparents about their discomfort with bathing. They may not see the need to bathe or wash, fearing they might slip or fall in the bathroom. In which case, installing a walk-in tub may solve the problem. Your aging parents’ or grandparents’ bathroom should make the task easy and safe. If the problem is not the bathroom and its lack of accessibility, you’ll need to dig deeper.
Start an open discussion and discuss the following:
- Are they comfortable having a family member bathing them?
- Would they prefer a caregiver or a nurse to come and assist them groom?
2. Establish a Consistent Routine
If your aging loved one prefers to bathe in the morning, prepare the bath every morning at a set time. If your aging father or grandfather prefers a shower once a week with a hot shave, prepare the shower and shaving necessities. You can encourage bath times all other days.
An accessible bathroom not only features a walk-in tub with a built-in seat. But it should also have grab bars and rails, a detachable shower head, or a curbless shower (suitable for wheelchair access). You should also think about non-slip bath rugs. Safety features not only ensure the bathing routine, but it also enhances the experience enough to encourage your aging loved ones to enjoy a bath or a shower.
3. Maintain Other Hygiene
Aside from an enjoyable bath or shower, take care of other things like dental health. It’s important for your elderly loved one to visit a dentist every six months for a checkup. You should also look after their hair and trim their nails.
Hygiene and grooming, for the elderly person, is a necessity, not a luxury. Besides enhancing great physical health, maintaining good hygiene ensures the elderly emotional well-being.