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Caregiver helping an elderly woman out of the shower

Establishing a Hygiene Routine to Assist Elderly Loved Ones

Bathing and personal hygiene are very personal tasks, but ones that elderly adults with mobility challenges often need a little help with. The most important considerations are safety and ensuring that the person’s independence and personal preferences are respected during bathing routines.

Yet many children of seniors and caregivers have questions about bathing an elderly person and shower safety for elderly. So, this article will discuss how to establish a healthy bathing routine to assist the elderly with basic hygiene tasks.

Elderly Bathing Solutions

Human beings find great comfort in routines, so it’s important to shift from one comfortable routine to another as you begin to assist a senior with bathing. The best routines start with open and honest conversations, so ask your loved one about preferences of bathing in the morning, at night, or in the afternoon.

You should also talk about the level of privacy that your senior is comfortable with in order to respect his or her modesty while being undressed. Finally, caregivers must be very patient with the process of establishing and settling into a new routine to prevent injuries, frustrations, and awkward moments. While it may be necessary for younger and more active people to shower every day, sedentary older adults may be able to maintain good hygiene with just a daily sponge bath and a full bath every other day of the week.

Bathing the Elderly Steps

Bathing an elderly person is very different than bathing a child or bathing yourself. One recommendation is to try washing different body parts every day to simplify the process. Some areas of the body will require daily cleansing, however. For convenience, you may be able to assist with a sponge bath of those areas while the senior is simply sitting on the toilet.

Encourage your loved one to independently wash private body parts as much as possible, and create a peaceful environment with light music as a calming distraction. Adaptive bathing equipment, such as a shower chair or hair washing tray, can make bathing routines much safer and easier.

Shower Safety for Elderly

Shower safety for elderly is very important to prevent slip-and-fall accidents that could be devastating and debilitating. Safe showers for seniors should be equipped with guard rails, a seat, non-slip grips, and toiletry shelves that are easy to reach. Shower chairs should have non-slip grips to prevent sliding when wet. Walk-in showers that don’t require stepping up and into a tub are typically the best safe showers for seniors.

Good bathroom lighting, a handheld shower head, and a transfer bench outside of the bathtub or shower are also very useful in an elderly person’s home. Meanwhile, outward-swinging bathroom doors are a safer option than inward-swinging doors for seniors in case a caregiver or emergency personnel needs to respond to a fall in the bathroom.

With any assisted bathing routine, it is always important to maintain the senior’s dignity. Adaptive technology throughout the house, such as stairlifts and bath lifts, can certainly help make daily tasks more manageable and less of a hassle. Meanwhile, all the little safety details that you add to the bathroom go a long way in helping seniors stay safe, comfortable, and happy in their own homes for longer.