KnowItAlz.com

Alzheimer's Blog

Bathing

Problems with bathing may be caused by:

  • Temperature of the water is too hot or too cold
  • Temperature of the bathroom is too hot or too cold
  • Forgetting that he/she needs to take a shower/bath
  • Not enough privacy or embarrassed to have the caregiver help
  • Not enough contrast between tub and floor can be confusing
  • Fear of falling
  • Being rushed or taking too long to take a bath/shower
  • Inability to stay focused long enough to complete shower

Products that make the bathroom a safer and more accessible environment:

  • Grab bars provide safety during entering and exiting the tub/shower and
     provide stability during bathing/showering. They should be anchored
     into the center of a wall stud to withstand the stress that will be
     placed on them. They must be long and wide enough to grasp easily.
  • Bath/shower stools or seats and transfer benches prevent fatigue and
     falls. They must have rigid seat and backs. Legs should be rubber-tipped
     to prevent movement while seated.
  • Hand-held showers can be used to direct water while remaining seated on
     a stool or in a tub.
  • Non-slip and anti-slip bath mats prevents falls.
    Childproof latches on cabinets containing medicine to prevent
     accidental poisoning.
  • Physical aspects of bathing
    Put a towel over the person's shoulders for warmth and/or if modesty is
    involved
  • Do not use bath oils since they make the tub/shower slippery
  • Use tear free/tangle free shampoo/bath gel
  • Encourage person to wash self, assisting only when necessary
  • Let person put on terry robe if drying with towel is a problem
  • Environmental aspects of bathing/grooming
  • Have handrails installed
  • Have a shower chair or bench installed
  • Use a hand-held shower head
  • Use a non-slip bath mat inside shower stall/bathtub
  • Use a anti-slip bath mat outside shower stall/bathtub
  • Avoid noise, which will echo in the bathroom
  • Remove everything from the bathroom that could be a distraction
  • Remove electrical appliances
  • Make sure the temperature in bathroom is comfortable for bather
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting
  • Remove locks from bathroom door (if necessary)
  • Make sure the hot and cold faucet handles are identified with red and
    blue colors
  • Make sure the hot water is set for 120° F or lower.
  • Tips to increase or maintain cooperation with bathing/showering
  • Know the person's preference (bath or shower – morning or evening)
    A shower usually is easier and safer than a bath
  • Do the bathing in the morning when the person is not tired
  • Give bather washcloth so he/she can help while caregiver washes
    important parts
  • Limit bath/shower to ones or twice a week and do sponge baths in
    between
  • Use same routine every time
  • Have everything ready before bathe/shower time
  • Do not force a person to take a bath/shower
  • When assisting, tell the person what part you are going to wash
    Give simple instructions as necessary
  • Never rush a person
  • Bathe person quickly to prevent chilling and agitation
  • Hygiene and bath wipes and No Rinse Shampoo:
  • Local pharmacy: if not in stock they will special order them at no
    extra cost.
  • www.drugstore.com go to the blank spot for the search and type in "no
     rinse shampoo" or "bathing", scroll to bottom for comfort washcloths and
     Shield perineal care wipes

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