Getting an older patient to bathe can be a struggle for many family caregivers. The biggest concerns are if they do not bathe, they could develop infections, produce a strong odor, or become aggravatingly itchy.
Harvard Health recommends showering or bathing at minimum several times a week. Here are a few tips for bathing aging adults to keep them healthy and clean while minimizing stress.
3 Tips for Bathing Aging Adults
Make sure the environment is safe
- Use a handheld shower device to avoid spraying them in the face.
- Make sure the bath water is at a comfortable temperature.
- Make sure these are grab bars in the tub. Next Day Access offers an assortment of grab bars and can install them in the correct areas to help older adults feel steadier when they enter the bathroom.
- Use a shower chair to help aging adults that have trouble sitting in the tub.
- Keep the bathroom floor clean and dry to help avoid falls.
- If your patient does not already have a walk-in tub speak to the family about the importance of installing one. Next Day Access has a conversion kit that can be installed quickly and makes it easier for aging adults to enter the tub.
Set up a portable shower for patients
There are several new ways to get a patient to bathe even if that means installing a portable shower in a room. With a portable shower, they can stay in their wheelchair and easily roll into the shower area.
The portable shower has its own drain and an easy set-up process. A portable shower could ease patients’ concern over bathroom safety, and they will likely be glad they do not have to leave their wheelchairs.
Consider opting for a sponge bath
Bathing and showering are the best ways to clean the body, but if this is not possible, a sponge bath is a good alternative solution. Here’s a helpful step-by-step guide on how to give a sponge bath.
- Gather all the supplies you will need and make sure your older adult is nice and warm.
- Start from the face and head and move down the body. Clean the private areas last.
- For privacy and warmth uncover only the body part that is being washed.
- Be sure to use gentle strokes. Remind yourself their skin is far more sensitive.
- Use a different washcloth for each area so you do not transfer dirt by using dirty washcloths. Remember, the goal is to get them as clean as they would get from an actual shower or bath.
We hope these tips will help you have an easier time bathing your loved one or patient. At Next Day Access, we have everything you need to ensure aging adults living in place will feel safe not only in their bathroom but throughout the house. Contact us today for a complimentary in-home consultation.