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10 Tips For Helping Bathe Elderly Parents Safely And Respectfully

10 Tips for Helping Bathe Elderly Parents Safely and Respectfully

As your parents start to age, there are certain things that will become more difficult for them to do on their own. One of the most common things is showering or bathing. Health concerns and mobility issues may make it hard for your elderly parent to bathe on their own. This leads many adult children to start helping their parent in the bath or shower. 

Since bathing is a very personal act, some people struggle to figure out how they can help their parent in a way that supports their dignity and privacy. The following are ten tips for helping bathe your elderly parent safely and respectfully.

1. Discuss It Beforehand

Before bathing elderly parents, you should always discuss the details with them. There should be a conversation before you ever begin this process, allowing your parent to tell you what they are and are not comfortable with. 

After this initial conversation, you should check in with your parent regularly to make sure that they are still comfortable with the bathing process and find out whether there is anything they would like to change. This will help your parents have more agency surrounding their personal hygiene routine.

2. Install Shower Aides

If you are able to, installing shower and bath aides can make a world of difference when bathing elderly parents. This includes railing inside of the sower for your parent to hold onto. If they have difficulty stepping up into the bath, you may opt to have a walk-in tub installed. This will make the entire bathing process safer and simpler while decreasing the risk of falls or injuries.

3. Allow for Adequate Privacy

Some senior adults are still able to perform certain aspects of bathing and personal hygiene. If this is possible, you may be able to allow them to do these things on their own without help or supervision. This will help them maintain a level of independence while having some desired privacy.

4. Use Safety Tools

Many seniors have a hard time navigating the bathtub or shower. If you do not have shower aides installed in your home, there are portable tools and devices you can use. One of the best things to use is a shower chair. This allows you to help clean them while they are safely seated in the shower. It also makes it easy to rinse all of the soap off of various areas.

5. Prepare Everything Ahead of Time

If bathing your elderly parent is chaotic or hectic, preparing everything ahead of time can help. About 10 to 20 minutes before bath time, start filling the tub with warm water. Set out the soap, shampoo, and towels that you will be using. Have everything ready in advance so that it will make the process run smoother.

6. Make a Routine

Many senior adults thrive on having a routine. This reduces stress and allows them to mentally prepare for things they need to do. To ease the anxiety of bathing, create a set schedule of bathing at a set time each day. Try not to deviate from this schedule unless absolutely necessary.

7. Clean Inside Skin Folds

Mature skin is wrinkled and creased, which creates folds. When bathing elderly parents, you must cleanse inside these folds to get them completely clean. This will require careful and deliberate attention to make sure that you cleanse and rinse everywhere on the body.

8. Rinse Thoroughly

Another important tip when bathing elderly parents is rinsing thoroughly before getting out of the shower or bath. Leaving soap on the skin can lead to rashes and irritation. Make sure to rinse their skin well and dry their skin completely when finished.

9. Have Comfortable Clothes Ready

The best part of taking a bath and getting clean is being able to put on fresh, comfortable clothes afterward. Before you start the bath, lay out the clothing that your parent will be putting on afterward. Make sure to have everything ready so that they can get dressed and feel comfortable as soon as possible.

10. Repeat as Needed

There is some debate as to how often bathing is necessary. You will need to use your discretion when bathing elderly parents. A daily bath or shower may not be needed if the process is too stressful for them. In these cases, it may be better to bathe every other day. Make sure to provide any necessary cleansing your parent may need in-between baths as well.

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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