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How To Ensure Your Elderly Loved One Bathes Safely

With the summertime now in full swing, you might have noticed your need to shower has increased. Especially on those hot and muggy days, you’re not likely going to want to hit the sheets before freshening up. So, if you’re a caregiver of an elderly loved one, the current situation begs a question. Does your aging parent need to bathe more often? If so, you may find yourself needing to pay even stricter attention to his/her safety.

Needless to say, the bathroom is a location where slips and falls can easily occur. What can you do to ensure your elderly loved one always bathes safely?

Use a soothing and calming voice to provide instructions.

In some cases, an older adult can perform the physical duties required at bath time. It’s his/her cognitive impairment that is the issue at hand. If so, your assistance with bathing is still needed. But it all comes down to your demeanour. Using a soothing and calming voice is imperative for individuals who may become easily frightened. Florida’s 1st In Care also stresses the need to be calm with care recipients who suffer from dementia.

“If your parent has dementia they can get confused during bath time, or become frightened or agitated by sudden movements,” says their website, “Use a reassuring voice to explain each step in the bathing process. For example, say: ‘Mom, I’m going to wash your back now’, or ‘Dad, it’s time to get you out of the tub’. Avoid any sudden movements that could startle or agitate your parent.”

Prepare the bathroom well in advance of bath time.

When shower time is quick and easy, it removes a lot of potential dread from the mind of an older person. Preparing the bathroom can entail drawing a bath before your elderly loved one is called upon to disrobe. It can also mean placing any and all requirements (body wash, shampoo, wash rags etc.) well within reach of the bath taker. As San Diego Compassionate Caregivers points out, creating a safe setting is important for any senior.

“Take an honest evaluation of the bathroom before you start,” advises their website, “Make sure all the devices you use are within reach and working. If you have to leave the senior alone while you get something, you’re putting them at risk. It also slows down the process, possibly giving them a new area for concern.”

Provide ample support to help with balance.

If your elderly loved one suffers with a mobility issue that impacts his/her balance, it is imperative you offer physical support. Don’t rely on towel racks which are not designed to support a person’s weight. Installing grab bars is a wise choice. They are uniquely created to help individuals gain some leverage while in the bathroom. Grab bars are well known for supporting the weight of adults.

1st In Care specifically warns against using shower doors for support. “Never use a shower door to hold on to or support your parent’s weight, as they can easily come off their tracks,” warns their site, “Glass shower doors should be totally removed, and if you have the funds consider installing a walk-in shower for ease-of-use.”

Modify your bathroom for safety.

At LifeCare Mobility Solutions, we offer a wide array of home bathroom modifications including grab bars. To learn all about them, please don’t hesitate to call us at 416-267-9800 or email us at info@lifecaremobility.ca. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!

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