How To Make Showering A Safer Experience For Seniors
For many seniors, showering or bathing is an unwelcome act. It’s not that they wouldn’t prefer to be clean and fresh. It’s just that the act of taking a shower or bath often presents more difficulties than what seems worth the experience. Do you live with an elderly loved one who finds bath time to be a chore? It’s important to find ways to make the experience a safer and more enjoyable one for him or her.
Remember that a combination of potential dangers and the loss of independence is often at play. For many seniors, being both safe and self-reliant is of paramount importance. Nevertheless, caregivers should take measures to make showering a safe experience for the seniors in their lives.
Respect Your Elderly Loved One’s Privacy
In many cases, the trepidation that arises from an impending shower is due to embarrassment. For elderly people and individuals with disabilities, the need to have assistance during bath time causes great stress. Remember that to promote a safe and comfortable bathing experience, it’s important to consider the actions taken before you even enter the bathroom. This often involves respecting a person’s privacy when he or she is disrobing.
“Give your loved one as much privacy as possible,” encourages the University of Michigan, “If he or she is safe alone for a while and is able to bathe without help, shut the door or close a curtain and step out of the bathroom. But stay close in case he or she asks for help.”
Keep All Bathing Necessities Within Reach
In many cases, a slip and fall in the shower are due to a loss of balance. This can happen when an individual has to reach up or bend down for an item. When bathing necessities such as body wash, shower caps, soap and razors are easy to access, the risk of falling significantly diminishes. Gather all supplies in one container and make sure to place them in a very easy-to-reach location in the bath or shower.
“Oftentimes, soap and shampoo residue in a basket hanging from the showerhead or high up on a shower wall shelf,” notes CaregiverStress.com, “That might be convenient for a person who can safely stand up in the tub to shower, but it’s out of reach for the seated senior and it poses a potential danger to a family caregiver who must take her attention off the senior relative being bathed in order to reach these supplies.”
Be Considerate of Issues Exacerbated by Dementia
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “more than 6 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s. An estimated 6.2 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2021. Seventy-two percent are age 75 or older. One in nine people age 65 and older (11.3%) has Alzheimer’s dementia.”
The University of Michigan reminds us that if you’re caring for a dementia patient, it’s important to remember that he or she may not remember how to take a shower. “Sometimes it helps to bring the person into the shower fully dressed,” advises their website, “It can remind him or her of how to take a shower and the need to undress.”
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