How Can You Convince a Reluctant Elderly Loved One to Bathe More Often?

Posted: 3/28/2017 9:01 AM by Interim HealthCare
When you're a family caregiver to an elderly loved one, some situations can crop up that you didn't expect. A loved one who is suddenly reluctant to bathe is one such situation, especially if your loved one has always paid a lot of attention to her personal hygiene. Some of these tips can help.

Rule out Medical Causes
Injuries, depression, and even some health conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, can all contribute to your loved one not wanting to bathe regularly. Talk to your loved one's doctor to rule out medical reasons that could keep her from bathing like she should. Once you do that, you can move on to other potential issues.

Don't Feed a Power Struggle
Another common situation is that bathing becomes one of the few things that your elderly loved one can control in her life. She may feel that too many other people have a say in what she does and when she does it, so she controls what little she can in her life. For a lot of elderly loved ones, that means that she'll bathe when and if she feels like it and not before.

Use Assistive Devices Made for the Bathroom
If your loved one is afraid that she'll fall or if she's got an injury that keeps her from being as surefooted in the bathroom, assistive devices are the tools you need. Shower benches, shower chairs, grab bars, and extended handheld shower heads can all make a big difference for your loved one's bathing experience.

Adjust Your Standards a Bit
You may find that you and your elderly loved one need to adjust your standards and your expectations a little bit. It's possible that a sponge bath may have to be enough for a few days until your loved one feels comfortable bathing and you may need to be okay with that. Talk to her doctor about how often she truly needs to bathe and go from there.

Above all, remain patient with your loved one. No matter what is causing her reluctance, a caring response from you will go a long way.

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