How to Help with Senior Bathing
We are all different. And when it applies to bathing our elderly parents, this is certainly true.
Be conscious, and respectful, of your elderly parent’s possible need for privacy, warmth, proper hygiene, and comfort. They may fully understand the importance of cleanliness. But they also may be correct in understanding their own body. Given their sedentary lifestyle, they may not require daily bathing. This entire process may necessitate some flexibility from all parties involved.
Re: privacy: some seniors may feel more comfortable holding towels around their private areas during bathing. Or, wearing a swimsuit while in the shower. While either towels or swimsuits may require a “work around” for cleaning, you can certainly develop a routine that works for you and your aging parents.
Remember to clean under skin folds, which is where bacteria grow. It is important to clean under every fold and wrinkle, including: behind the ears, breasts, neck, stomach, and genitalia. These areas will also need to be dried with a towel to avoid fungal infections.
While you’re cleaning your loved one, be sure to rinse away soap completely. A senior’s skin can become dry or agitated. Skin becomes more sensitive with age, so it’s important to pat dry instead of rubbing with a towel. Applying a moisturizer will also help prevent dryness and can even be a bit therapeutic for your senior if you gently massage it into their skin.
— Keep baths and showers to around 10 minutes long
— Use warm water instead of hot water
— Use a soft cloth for washing
— Leave a little bit of water on skin before applying moisturizer
When dealing with senior parents who are/approaching incontinency, first think about cleanliness and dry clothes. A quick wipe, wash, and dry when changing into clean clothing will help to avoid any skin irritation from occurring. Washing with soap and water thoroughly every night before bed, and/or possibly and every morning when they are getting dressed for the day. Their skin needs cleaning. And it is harmful to have them sit in wet clothing.
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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