Most people take the act of bathing for granted. It’s something they do daily with ease. Many enjoy the feeling of taking a hot shower. In fact, they stay underneath the water for far longer than necessary simply because they relish the comfort of running water. For many other people, however, bathing is a chore. And, for seniors, it’s a chore that can produce a lot of anxiety.
Many Older Adults Combat Diminished Strength and Balance
So, for them, bathing is difficult. The fear of slipping and falling in the shower is a predominant one for many elderly people. It’s hard to blame them. Who would want to shower if the process is one that could end up putting you in the hospital?
“Fear can play a factor with senior hygiene, especially if they have dementia,” reports registered nurse, Joyce Apperson for Maryland’s Caring Connection Inc., “They may be frightened of the water that comes directly at them from the showerhead, the shower curtain may throw them off or a number of other unexplained fears may be in their mind. Try to empathize with them and work with what their fear is; sometimes simply allowing them to hold their own shower head & direct the water as they like can reduce the fears they may be having.”
How Often Should Seniors Bathe?
The real answer to this question greatly depends on the senior. How active is the individual? Is he/she prone to perspiring? What is the condition of the senior’s skin and hair? How limiting is his/her disability? Keeping these and other factors in mind, it’s wise to consult a medical professional about all of the activities that the older adult in your life can and should participate in.
Now, of course, bathing is necessary. Some experts – Apperson included – suggest that seniors bathe at least once a week. We’re of the mind that bathing should occur a little more often than that, but understand, once again, that it’s a situational matter. CareBuilders at Home agrees that bathing once or twice a week should be ideal for seniors. However, they point out the importance of cleanliness to keep seniors infection-free.
“A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused when bad bacteria enter the body through the urethra and causes an infection, eventually spreading to the kidneys,” they note on their website, “While it’s very common and easily cured in young people, it can prove detrimental to an older adult with a weak immune system.”
Also Read: Is Your Elderly Loved One Refusing To Bathe?
How Can Bathing Be Made More Enjoyable for Seniors?
At Forward Day, we’re very happy to have helped so many seniors rid themselves of the fear they once had when it came to showering. With our portable Shower Bay showers, they never have to worry about slipping and falling. Users simply roll their shower wheelchairs into Shower Bay in order to take a shower with running water. They remain fully seated the entire time.