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Posts Tagged “Bathing”

How to Overcome the Challenges of Bathing with Dementia

senior home care Phoenix

Learn how to overcome the challenges of bathing with dementia.

One of the more common challenges facing those living with dementia is the issue of bathing and personal care. As the top providers of senior home care Phoenix families need, our dementia caregivers are faced with this challenge on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are tactics you can employ that will turn bathing into a less challenging experience for you, and a more comfortable one for your elder loved one.

Bathing is an intimate experience; the person with dementia may experience it as threatening, embarrassing, or painful, and may exhibit behaviors to express those feelings, such as resisting, screaming, and even hitting. The behaviors occur because the person does not clearly understand the purpose of bathing and may react to unpleasant aspects such as lack of modesty, feeling cold or experiencing discomfort.

Resistance to bathing begins in the middle stage of Alzheimer’s disease, when the person has the cognitive capacity of about three years of age. This is important to remember when the person gets upset with bathing. Ask yourself: would a three-year-old get upset with the manner in which I am bathing this person with Alzheimer’s disease? If the answer is yes, then you need to find another strategy!

Effective Dementia Bathing Tips:

  • Do everything you can in advance to make the process easier, such as:
    • Increase the temperature of the room
    • Reduce overhead lighting
    • Make sure bath towels, and if possible, a terry cloth robe are nearby
    • Provide familiar soap (the type and brand the patient has used in the past)
    • Test the temperature of the water
  • Help the person feel in control. Allow the person to decide if he or she prefers a bath vs. a shower, and at what time of day the bath is preferred.
  • Create a safe and pleasing atmosphere. Provide non-slip adhesives on the floor surface and grab bars in the bathtub to prevent falls and provide security. Provide a pleasant, clean aroma and indirect lighting.
  • Respect the person’s dignity. Allow the person to hold a towel in front of the body, both in and out of the shower if desired. This may ease anxiety.
  • Don’t worry about the frequency of bathing. It may not be necessary to bathe every day. Sponge baths can be effective between showers and baths.
  • Be gentle. The person’s skin may be very sensitive, so avoid scrubbing and pat skin dry instead of rubbing.
  • Be flexible. The person may experience the most difficulty when attempting to shower or shampoo the hair. If this is the case, avoid spraying water on the person’s head; use a washcloth to soap and rinse hair, reducing the amount of water on the person’s face.

For more help in easing the challenges of bathing for your loved one with dementia, call on the expert in-home care team at Nightingale Homecare. Our specialized dementia care program, Connections, provides compassionate and creative solutions for some of the more difficult aspects of dementia, including personal hygiene, and we are always available to assist family caregivers to ensure their loved ones receive the highest possible quality care at all times. Call us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.

Banish Bath-time Troubles with Tips from Nightingale’s Phoenix Home Care Experts

Phoenix Home CareUnfortunately, 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.

Dry Skin

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.