Challenging Elder Care: Is Your Loved One Afraid to Bathe or Shower?
Elder Care in Evanston IL
Ensuring that your elderly loved one is kept clean is an important part of your elder care efforts for her. If she has started showing fear or anxiety related to bathing or showering, however, it can become a tremendous hassle in your routine. You know how important it is for your loved one to have proper hygiene. Staying fresh and clean not only helps your parent feel her best, but it also helps to keep her skin and body healthy and resistant to infection and illness. For many elderly adults, however, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia can bring about intense anxiety. This can make it difficult and even dangerous for these seniors and their family caregivers to keep up with a regular hygiene routine. Understanding this fear and using techniques to resolve it can help to make taking care of your loved one simpler, more comfortable, and less stressful for all of you.
There are various reasons that your parent may show fear and anxiety when it is time to bathe or shower. Some of these, and what you and your parent's elderly health care services provider can do to help ease them, include:
• Sound of the water. For a senior who is dealing with the confusion and disorientation of Alzheimer's disease, the loud sound of water running into the tub can be extremely frightening. They may not understand what the sound is or associate it with something much more dangerous, such as a storm. Help to ease this by running the water into the tub before she comes into the bathroom or by choosing a shower rather than a bath.
• Confusion about depth. The fear may also stem from your senior worrying that the water is too deep. It can be difficult for an elderly adult who is dealing with cognitive decline to estimate the depth of the water and understand that it is not deep enough to be dangerous. Reassure your parent by having a measuring tool that you can show to your parent and then dip into the water. This will demonstrate how deep the water actually is so that your parent can feel more in control and less fearful of the water.
• Worry about falling. A senior who struggles with balance or mobility issues may be afraid of falling in the shower or bath. Stepping into and out of the tub can seem daunting. The act of showering requires stretching, bending, lifting the feet, and reaching. All of these can worsen balance and make a senior feel totally out of control. Help him to feel more secure by replacing a traditional shower with a walk-in tub or placing a shower bench in the tub so that she can sit while bathing.
• Modesty. If your parent has always been modest, the anxiety revolving around bathing or showering may come from the discomfort of needing help from you. Consider having an elderly health care services provider come in to handle this task. Having a neutral person handle her bathing can put her at ease and make her more cooperative. This is especially true if your parent has forgotten the need or purpose of bathing. Because the care provider is a professional, your parent may be more willing to trust that person and go along with the bathing process.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Evanston, IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.