A common struggle between seniors and caregivers is often bathing.
Many family caregivers struggle with getting an older adult to bathe. Not bathing can cause skin or urinary tract infections. Itchy or strong body odor my develop in seniors that have not bathed often enough.
How often do seniors need to bathe to prevent health problems?
Seniors may not need to bathe every day.
It’s not a strict requirement for good health although most Americans are used to showering every day. bathing at a minimum, once or twice a week helps most seniors avoid skin breakdown and infections. Minimize body odor in between full baths by wiping with warm washcloths: armpits, groin, genitals, feet, and any skin folds. Some dementia caregivers however, say it is easier to bathe every day. They are much less likely to resist when bathing becomes part of someone’s regular daily routine. Some people may need to bathe more frequently than others for medical reasons. it is essential to take an elderly persons specific health conditions into consideration when choosing a bathing schedule.
It isn’t always necessary to use running water.
The easiest and most thorough ways to clean the body are showering or bathing in the tub. A sponge bath will do just as well if your older adult absolutely refuses or has limited mobility.
How should I give a senior a sponge bath?
The following step-by-step instructions may be helpful.
- Make sure your older adult is warm and covered up in a robe or gown while you gather supplies that are needed.
- Start at the top of the body and move down, since they’re the dirtiest save private areas for last.
- Uncover only the body part that’s currently being washed for warmth and privacy.
- Change washcloths between sections and wipe one area at a time so that you are not wiping with dirty cloths.
Waterless cleansers, bathing wipes, and no-rinse shampoos can be used If needed. If these products leave a slight residue, do a final wipe with a clean, damp cloth.
Walk-in Bathtubs Make Senior Bathing Easy
Seniors have a difficult time getting into or out of a traditional bathtub. They risk falling down in a shower. A walk-in bathtub provides the best solution for safety and independence because the bather can easily sit and relax on a heated seat while taking a bath. Some people even have a television mounted in the bathroom to provide entertainment while bathing.