Keeping Your Elderly Loved One With Dementia Safe During Bath Time
According to Markus MacGill on MedicalNewsToday.com, approximately 4.7 million people aged 65 years or older, in the United States, live with Alzheimer’s disease. He goes on to mention that the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80 percent of all cases of dementia.
Dementia, of course, is synonymous with forgetfulness. Do you live with a senior who forgets to bathe sometimes? It’s possible that dementia is playing a part. Reminding your elderly loved one to bathe and keeping them dementia safe is important. However, it’s also wise to come up with ways to keep him/her safe during bath time.
Be Very Communicative
Never forget the importance of an older person’s mental and emotional well-being. Especially when he/she is contending with dementia, it’s very important to be as communicative as possible. Ask your care recipient if he/she would rather have a bath or a shower. Also, ask if he/she would prefer to bathe right away or in about 15 minutes or so. You want to assure your elderly loved one that he/she still maintains some control over his/her life.
You also want to be mindful of the fact that the entire bathing process may be perceived as threatening, says the Alzheimer’s Association. “Have activities ready in case the person becomes agitated,” their website advises, “For example, play soothing music or sing together. If the person resists bathing, distract him or her and try again later.”
Make the Bathroom Warm and Comfortable
Do you enjoy removing your clothing in a cold room? No one does. It’s important to remember that your elderly loved one is likely more sensitive to the cold than you are. Not only should you ensure that your home’s temperature is warm enough for him/her, but you should also make sure the bathwater temperature is just right. As DailyCaring.com points out, many seniors don’t like to bathe because they associate it with being cold and shivering.
“5-10 minutes before they enter the bathroom, turn on a space heater to make the bathroom nice and warm,” the website advises, “If you’re a bit hot and sweaty, that’s probably a good temperature. Lay a towel on the chair or toilet seat where they sit to take off their clothes so it won’t feel cold and hard. You might even want to play soft, soothing music to create a serene, spa-like atmosphere.”
Always Protect the Person’s Dignity and Privacy
Let’s be honest. No one really wants help in the shower. When you’ve reached the stage of your life where assistance with bathing is necessary, it’s a very difficult time. Your privacy goes out the window and, often, so does your dignity. As a caregiver, it’s mandatory you bear this in mind. Do your best to protect your care recipient’s dignity and privacy during bath time.
“Try to help the person feel less vulnerable by covering the person with a bath blanket while undressing,” suggests the Alzheimer’s Association, “Let the person hold a towel in front of his or her body, in and out of the shower or tub, to help ease anxiety.”
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