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How to Provide Bathing Assistance

October 4, 2023

As our loved ones age, they need more assistance with everyday tasks that they used to take for granted. One of those tasks is bathing. Providing bathing assistance for elderly loved ones can be challenging, but we believe it doesn't have to be.

In today's blog, we've compiled a few practical tips on how to help our loved ones stay clean while maintaining their dignity and independence.

When Does Someone Need Bathing Assistance?

The need for help with bathing often emerges due to injury, illness, or cognitive decline. 

Different signs indicate when this service becomes crucial. 

  • Some are physical, such as a noticeable struggle with balance or minor injuries like cuts and bruises from attempts to navigate the shower or bath alone. 
  • Other signs can be psychological, where the individual may express fear or anxiety at bathing independently.

How to Stay Safe While Providing Bathing Assistance

Once you've determined that a loved one requires help, you should establish a bathing environment that is safe and accommodating for both you and the person receiving care. 

  • Always ensure the bathroom is clear of hazards, like slippery rugs or wet floors. 
  • Install grab bars near the bathtub to enable steadiness.
  • Use a bath mat to prevent slips in the tub or shower.
  • Consider using a shower chair for added stability and comfort.
  • Install a handheld shower head for added ease when bathing your loved one. 

Maintaining Your Loved One's Dignity During Bathing Assistance

A family caregiver should also strive to preserve the dignity of their loved one during a shower or bath. It's crucial to be mindful of your loved one's emotional needs and personal comfort during this process they completed independently for so many years. 

Before you begin the bath or shower, gather all necessary supplies, such as 

  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Lotion
  • Washcloths
  • Towels

Consider creating a calming environment with a scented candle or soft music. Doing so makes the bathing process easier and less stressful for all involved. 

You can also engage your loved one in light conversation during bathing to divert attention and ease discomfort. 

  • Use large towels and a robe to help ensure privacy. 
  • Keep your attitude upbeat and calm, be patient, and follow their pace if they have limited mobility. 
  • Encourage them to take the lead on washing or drying tasks, stepping in where they need help. 

Find More Caregiver Resources

At Best Care, we understand how delicate and challenging bathing assistance can be; it necessitates tact, sensitivity, and a balance between offering help and not infringing on the individual's independence.

Therefore, remember that this period of dependency is not easy for the person receiving help, so maintaining their self-esteem and autonomy is as important as ensuring their hygiene.

Our team is here to provide support for family caregivers in Minnesota. Reach out today if we can help you in any way!

For more tips and caregiving techniques, browse our library of resources of subscribe to our podcast!

Elderly woman holding onto safety bar in bathroom.
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