Personal hygiene is an essential part of keeping seniors healthy, and you should always take it as a signal you need to step in when your aging loved one stops bathing. To help your loved one get back on track, take these five steps that address the most common reasons seniors refuse to bathe.
1. Approach the Issue with Compassion
Seeing your parent in such a state of disarray may cause you to feel negative emotions such as fear, guilt, and frustration. However, you shouldn’t take your feelings out on your loved one, and making him or her feel ashamed won’t help the situation. You can take a compassionate approach by taking a few minutes to calm down before you talk to your loved one. Remember most people prefer to be clean, and there is likely a good reason your loved one won’t bathe.
2. Understand the Most Common Reasons Seniors Stop Bathing
For most people, personal hygiene is a sensitive area to discuss, and your loved one may be afraid to tell you that he or she is having difficulty taking a bath and washing his or her hair. You can open up the dialogue by already knowing why your loved one may have stopped bathing. Often, seniors stop taking care of their personal hygiene because they’re afraid of slip-and-fall injuries. Your loved one may also be forgetting to bathe or may feel like it no longer matters what he or she looks like.
3. Address the Fear of Falling
One of the easiest moves to make is to add features to your loved one’s bathroom that reduce the fear of falling. For example, you can add grab bars along the side of the bathtub and inside of the shower. You can also put slip-resistant mats on the bottom of bathroom fixtures and the floor. If it’s financially feasible, putting in a walk-in tub or shower also eliminates the fear of having to step over a ledge.
Some older adults may require assistance managing daily tasks such as bathing. Arvada respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
4. Consider Physical Challenges
Seniors with arthritis may find it difficult to accomplish the steps required to get fully clean. For example, your loved one may not be able to stretch his or her arms high enough to reach his or her hair to give it a good scrub with shampoo. Alternatively, your loved one may not feel safe closing his or her eyes to keep the soap out of them in the shower due to vertigo. Offer to help your loved one get assistance with the challenging parts of his or her bathing routine. If your loved one seems embarrassed to have you help, suggest a professional caregiver who is experienced with protecting dignity.
Seniors with age-related illnesses may find it difficult to overcome their limitations. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Arvada home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
5. Provide a Reason to Get Dressed Up
After you’ve addressed the physical reasons your loved one refuses to bathe, it’s time to tap into his or her emotions. Your loved one needs a payoff for putting in the effort to get clean, and having a visitor is a great reason to get dressed up. Make sure someone stops by to see your loved one a few times a week. You’ll quickly notice a change in his or her attitude and a cleaner appearance.
Some seniors need encouragement to maintain their personal hygiene. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care. Arvada Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives. If you’re looking for a comprehensive in-home care plan for your loved one, contact us at (720) 642-1600 today.