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What to Do If a Senior Relative Won’t Bathe

Providing home care for an elderly parent comes with many responsibilities. While some of these are enjoyable, such as sharing meal times, others can be a little more challenging. If bathing has become a difficult topic in your family, then here are some strategies to get your senior relative comfortable with his or her personal hygiene routine.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

One of the first steps toward getting your senior loved one to bathe is identifying the underlying reasons for their sudden refusal. Begin by choosing a time when they are comfortable and ask questions about their experience. For example, you might ask them what they liked or didn’t like about their last bath. Often, this conversation will yield clues about how to further proceed.

Avoid Power Struggles

Senior adults sometimes fear losing their independence, and it is possible that your loved one is using this daily task as a way to assert control. When they refuse to bathe, try to remain calm and present alternatives. Sometimes, having a third party talk to them about the importance of bathing could help. For example, their doctor could explain the importance of keeping their skin clean to avoid infections.

Make Bathing Comfortable

Seniors frequently encounter challenges with bathing and may worry about slipping and falling. Installing grab bars and other accessibility devices can make it easier to get in and out of the tub. Setting a relaxing ambiance can also help. Make sure to set the water temperature to a comfortable level, and play your love one’s favorite music at bath time to make it feel more like a spa experience.

Offer Options

Instead of focusing on trying to get your loved one to bathe, present them with choices for their next bath time. If they need assistance, you could ask them if they would prefer you to do it or someone else such as a professional caregiver in Boca Raton so that they have more privacy. Offering a choice of soaps, favorite towels and other bath luxuries can also make bathing more enticing to your loved one.

If you’re the primary caregiver for your senior loved one and could use additional help meeting his or her care needs, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our hourly, live-in, and respite caregivers in Boca Raton help with a wide range of daily tasks, from bathing to meal preparation. Give us a call at (561) 826.9282 and schedule a free consultation to learn more.