Why Does My Elderly Loved One Refuse to Bathe?

Why Does My Elderly Loved OneMost of us take bathing for granted. We casually assume that it’s a natural part of our everyday lives and don’t take into consideration the potential dangers that are involved with bathing. We’ve noted in some past blogs that the bathroom is among the most dangerous rooms in the home. Combining the presence of water and the slippery surfaces, bathrooms are places where slips and falls often occur.

This is especially true for our elderly loved ones. So, it should come as no surprise that many seniors aren’t big fans of bathing. For their caregivers, this can be both confusing and frustrating. Even when our elderly loved ones are in clear needs of showers, many of them still refuse to undress and get into the bathtub.

What Are Some of the Main Reasons That Seniors Refuse to Bathe?Difficulties faced - returning home from rehab - Santa Cruz CA

According to Carol Bradley Bursack on AgingCare.com, there are multiple reasons. One of them is depression. She notes that when our elderly loved ones show signs of not caring about anything at all, it’s important to book a checkup with the doctor. Bursack also cites control as a factor. When people age, they lose control over their own lives. When they are nagged by their younger loved ones to bathe, they often feel the need to resist.

A decreased sense of sight and smell is also listed as a reason. Sometimes, seniors don’t even notice that they’re in need of a good bath. And, a fourth cause is a memory, says Bursack. “The days go by. They aren’t marked with tons of activities as they were when they were young,” she writes, “If there isn’t something special about Wednesday, well – it could be Tuesday or Thursday. They simply lose track of time and don’t realize how long it’s been since they showered.”

What Can Be Done to Encourage Our Elderly Loved Ones to Bathe?Encourage Our Elderly

As you may have imagined, there are numerous possible solutions. The first, and perhaps most obvious, would be to talk to your elderly loved one simply. Ask him/her why he/she is reluctant to shower. The answer to getting him/her to bathe may arise from a simple conversation. However, as Carefect Home Health Care Services points out on their website, you may need to discuss with the healthcare providers of the senior in your life.

Their doctors and nurses may be able to give you a bit of insight into their health, and offer you assistance in convincing your parents to bathe,” notes the site, “They also may be able to give your parents other options for bathing, such as using wet wipes or instructions on sponge bathing.

Carefect also points out that new shower equipment may be necessary to encourage your elderly loved one to bathe. “Many elderly patients have difficulties taking a shower or a bath because they cannot stand for extended periods of time or get into or out of the bathtub,” they write. At Forward Day, we’re well aware that seniors often need specialized bathing facilities to enjoy safe and secure bathing experiences.

This is where our unique Shower Bay portable showers come in very handy! Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how Shower Bay can help your elderly loved one to enjoy bathing again! Give us a call at 1-877-223-8999 or email us at info@showerbay.com

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Russell Simpkins

1 Comment

  1. Avatar for Nicole Packard Nicole Packard on July 22, 2020 at 1:09 am

    Thank you for your article.
    It’s been over a year since my mother in law consented to being washed. She has been bed bound for 8 years. Nurses, carers, doctors, advice from council all tell me that there is nothing I or they can fo if she doesn’t want to bathe. The same applies for changing her bed sheets, though maybe every 2 or 3 months we have some success. She is lying in wet bed clothes and sheets pretty much constantly. Her carers complain to me a lot. I gently try to encourage her. There are no friends who cone round. She has pushed most people out of her life. I try to make her environment comfortable. . Amazingly, she has had no skin infections or other negative effects from not bathing …. apart from a very unpleasant odor and a carpet full of her dead skin and hair. What can I do if I’m being shot down at every attempt.
    Any advice? Thank you.

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