Written by Kathryn Eyring
This week, a dear friend told me,
“I dread weekends because I have to go help Mom with her shower and we BOTH hate bath time.”
I personally remember helping my grandmother with bathing so I understood her trepidation.
Many people over 50 are helping to care for parents, companions, and spouses. YOU may be one of them.
Bathing is a necessity that can become a big challenge, due to resistance (on both sides) and the anxious feelings that may surface with nakedness and personal hygiene.
Be compassionate with yourself and your loved one. Bath time can produce deep feelings of sadness and embarrassment.
Create a predictable bathing schedule for your loved one. Then, consider these 8 helpful tips:
- With safety as the priority, grab bars and non-slip surfaces are a must. Use a bathing chair to help with the transition into the bathtub or shower and allow the loved one to remain seated if desired.
- Set out soap, shampoo, sponges or washcloths, towels, and robe or clean clothes in an easily accessible location.
- Check the water temperature initially and throughout the bath or shower.
- Don’t allow cellphone distractions. Keep it nearby, but on silent.
- Keep a relaxed environment and use a calm voice to ease the tension and awkwardness between the two of you.
- Encourage the older adult to do as much as possible for himself or herself and suggest you’re just there to help as necessary.
- Check for broken skin or rashes that might not have been otherwise noticed.
- When finished, do something enjoyable together. This can helps reduce tensions for the next time.
You may need to call for professional care if bath time is too challenging.
Don’t underestimate this demanding task or allow feelings of guilt to prevent you from calling for help!
If you have experienced bathing an adult, you know the challenge is real!
Do you have any additional tips you might add in the comment box below?
Please don’t hesitate to comment…
You may be able to offer supportive words that someone else truly needs to hear pertaining to this very sensitive subject.