Bathing Tips for Your Elderly Parents

Helping elderly parents maintain proper hygiene, and cleanliness, can be frustrating and feel overwhelming. There are many, many issues – both emotional and functional – to consider. For example, do either of your aging parents want to have an adult child (you) assist with bathing? And, do you want help?

Also, many seniors have some gender bias. Some elderly men prefer a male for personal assistance. Similarly, many females prefer female-only help. An open and frank discussion with your elderly parents should give you an idea as to their personal preferences, and how to accomplish the objective. Keeping elders clean, bathing the skin, and encouraging proper hygiene will greatly assist in general health and minimize the possibilities of infection.

One of the simplest ways to help ensure bathing goes smoothly is to prepare. Think strategically. Set-up the bathroom to be as efficient, and accommodating, as possible. Lighting, heat, fans, clothing hooks, privacy, shower seats, moisturizing soaps, towels, hair dryers, etc. are all to be considered. Using the right tools, in a safe and warm environment, will greatly help to accomplish regular bathing. It’s important to have everything you need in designated areas, and at the ready, so you can focus on the senior.

Establish the proper techniques, including a weekly schedule. What is the best time of day for bathing?

Some basic materials to have accessible and ready before you begin:
— Sponges
— Towels
— Washcloths
— Shampoo
— Clean clothing
— Liquid soaps (an advantage for faster and more efficient bathing. Bar soaps can be slippery and may increase risk of falls.)

Also, bathroom safety and appropriate accessories are very important. Obviously, all bathrooms are different in size and shape. But, consider the following to help ensure safer practices for bathing and hygiene:

— Grab bars near toilets and showers
— Nonslip adhesives on shower floor
— Shower stool or bath bench
— Handheld shower sprayer

JD Miller

About JD Miller

John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. Phone: (781) 378-2164 Email: Website:

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