Unfortunately, there are a number of obstacles that can interfere with an older adult’s bathing routine. In this week’s blog post, we outline some of those obstacles as well as solutions for overcoming them.
Fear of Slipping, Falling or Injury
When an older adult has fallen, or experiences symptoms or conditions that may lead to slipping or falling, bath time can be especially treacherous. If your loved one is a fall risk, be certain that he or she has had a professional home evaluation by an occupational therapist, who can make specific recommendations and provide referrals on how and where to have adaptive equipment installed professionally.
Some recommendations for making a shower or bath safe would be a shower bench or plastic pool chair in the shower, hand-held shower head, non-slip mats in the shower or tub, and grab bars professionally installed (not towel bars)! At Nightingale Homecare, we ensure that our clients are equipped with an emergency button that will summon help if there is a fall or emergency. Hiring a bath aide from a reputable Phoenix home care agency like Nightingale is also a good idea for those elders at risk for falling.
Aging skin is more susceptible to dryness due to the loss of elasticity from decreased collagen production. Hyaluronic acid is also produced in limited amounts, and because of this, skin naturally becomes thinner, drier and more fragile. While these signs may be a normal part of aging, they may also be a sign of an underlying medical issue or a side effect of a medication, or multiple medications. Our Pathlink Chronic Disease Management program can help in managing medications and conditions that lead to symptom control and positive outcomes.
For elders living alone and experiencing forgetfulness, sometimes simple calendars, checklists or phone call reminders do the trick. For others suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s, bathing can be exceedingly challenging. Consider speaking with one of our Connections trained experts for the most effective tips in encouraging bathing, such as:
- Increase the temperature of the room, and have bath towels, the senior’s favorite soap and a terrycloth robe nearby.
- Allow the person to decide if she/he prefers a bath vs. a shower and at what time of day it’s preferred.
- Provide non-slip adhesives on the floor surface and grab bars in the bathtub to prevent falls and provide security, and test the temperature of the water.
- Allow the person to hold a towel in front of the body, both in and out of the shower if desired.
- Sponge baths can be effective between showers and baths.
- If the person has difficulty when attempting to shower/shampoo the hair, use a washcloth to soap and rinse hair, reducing the amount of water on the person’s face.
Depression and sadness can lead to isolation and ignoring personal hygiene for even the once most particular adult. The holidays especially can trigger sadness and depression, so be watchful. Be gentle when suggesting bathing during this time. Sometimes all it will take is a trip to the beauty parlor or spa or some nice soaps and new pajamas. A bath aide can also massage your loved one’s back and feet, paint nails, and style hair. Keep in mind that depression, especially when severe, requires psychiatric evaluation and treatment.
Contact Nightingale’s Phoenix home care experts at 602-504-1555 for more help in restoring peace and enjoyment to bath-time routines for your senior loved one.