How You Can Help Your Senior Loved One Safely Reap The Benefits Of A Bath
As individuals age, keeping fresh and clean often becomes difficult. Pegasus Senior Care experts in Pacoima and elsewhere know how important bathing is for personal hygiene. They also know that taking a regular bath is beneficial in many other ways.
A nice warm bath benefits both you and your senior loved one. If you’re a family caregiver, retreating to the bathtub gives you precious alone time. It’s an opportunity to decompress and resume caregiving refreshed.
Bathing Provides Mental And Physical Benefits
Studies prove that lying in warm water is relaxing. Individuals also experience improvements in their mood and optimism. Being horizontal in water is comfortable for many, and they experience feelings of security.
Water therapy, or hydrotherapy, is as old as humankind. Cryotherapy, which is immersion in cold water, relieves muscle pain. Cold water also reduces swelling.
Although water temperature is a matter of personal choice, many individuals prefer a warm bath. Warm or cold, additional benefits of soaking in water include:
- Improved circulation
- Increased ability to fall asleep quickly
- Lowered blood pressure
- Lowered blood sugar
- Moisturized and cleaner skin
- Reduced incidence of headaches
- Relief from tension
These benefits, as well as the act of bathing itself, strengthen the immune system and improve well-being.
A warm bath also increases the heart rate. This can be a good thing, as that usually increases oxygen intake. However, if your senior loved one has a heart condition, consult with their doctor first.
Safety Comes First
Helping your senior loved one bathe can be a complicated process. The risk of falling is high in elderly individuals. Safety measures are your highest priority.
Immediately wipe up any water on the floor around the tub. If you use a bathroom rug, choose one that has a non-skid backing or secure it in some way. A bath mat inside the tub must be non-slip.
You may need to install grab bars. Correctly placed, they prevent many falls. They can also lessen the severity of a fall if an individual slips or loses their balance.
Learning how to “transfer” may be necessary if your senior is frail or weak. Transferring is the skill required to safely move someone from one position or location to another. Without training, you can injure yourself while transferring someone, especially if lifting is involved.
Bathing may require you to lower your loved one into the tub. When the bath is complete, you may need to lift him or her out of the tub. A Pegasus physical or occupational therapist can teach you how to make transfers safely and injury-free.
If bath time includes a shampoo, provide a bath seat. A hand-held shower head makes it easier to get hair squeaky clean. Choose a gentle or tears-free baby shampoo.
Keep in mind that an individual’s skin becomes fragile as they age. Choose liquid soaps over bar soaps that are drying. Use a soft washcloth or sponge instead of scrubbers.
Avoid using very hot water. Aside for potentially burning your senior’s skin, their body overheats because it can’t cool down. That is known as heat stress, and it strains their heart.
Respect Their Privacy As Much As You Can
If your elder only needs minimal assistance, such as washing their back, you can simply wait nearby. Prepare what they’ll need in advance. Ask them to avoid locking the door so you can help if needed.
Preserving privacy and dignity can be a challenge if your senior needs assistance. You and they may experience embarrassment. Experts suggest engaging in casual conversation about a neutral topic as a distraction.
They may be able to keep their private parts covered with a cloth. Some can wash their genitalia if you help with everything else. You just have to be patient and positive to minimize stress for both of you.
Why Some Seniors Refuse To Bathe
Your senior loved one may rebel against taking a bath. One of the primary reasons is fear. You’ll need to encourage them to talk about what frightens them.
Some are afraid of falling. Others may think getting washed will hurt. The safety tips described above will help you reassure them.
Advance preparation can improve cooperation when a senior is reluctant. Make sure the bathroom is toasty warm. Have the towels and soaps ready. Check the water temperature for comfort.
If your senior loved one is cognitively impaired, you may have to cope with irrational fears. Depending on what’s disturbing them, you may be able to comfort them enough to take a bath. If you need assistance, a Pegasus senior care professional can help.
Your loved one may also refuse to bathe as a way of controlling their life. As time passes, independence erodes for many seniors. Sometimes they feel that saying no to everything is all they have left.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our experienced professionals in Pacoima and our other locations customize our senior care services to fit individual needs. We’re here to offer the level of assistance needed to keep your senior loved one safe at home.