How Often Should an Elderly Person Bathe? 3 Facts to Know
Seniors and caregivers often fight about bathing. But how often should an elderly person bathe? You may be surprised. Here are 3 facts.
If an older adult in your family has lost the ability to function independently, it might be time to consider getting a caregiver.
However, until you find the right one, you’ll have to learn to take care of your loved one on your own. One of the most common problems that senior citizens have is whether or not they’re willing to take a bath. If this is a battle you fight on a regular basis, you might be asking “how often should an elderly person bathe?”
The answer might surprise you. Keep reading to learn three facts about how often senior citizens should bathe and how you can make the process easier for everyone.
1. How Often Should An Elderly Person Bathe?
Cultures throughout history have had many different interpretations of cleanliness. In today’s society, it’s considered normal and even recommended to shower as often as every day.
However, this supposedly responsible habit has beenproven to cause damageto your skin, hair, and the environment. The body has its own systems in place to keep your skin clean, and scrubbing it with soap every day can destroy natural oils and good bacterias that are meant to keep you healthy and clean.
For this reason, it isn’t actually necessary for seniors to shower or bathe every day. Once or twice a week is enough to keep them clean and infection-free.
Ways to Make Bath-time Easier
On days where a bath or shower is necessary, there are several ways to make the process less painful for both you and your loved one.
Try not to change their routines too much. If they’re accustomed to showering, don’t try to switch them to baths for the sake of convenience. Standing showers are ideal, butsafety barscan also be installed over bathtubs to help seniors get in and out of the bathtub.
It’s also easier to associate bath-time with another activity that they like. For instance, right after a walk or before eating a bowl of ice cream. If they’re already using the bathroom or changing their clothes, suggesting a quick bath or shower is always another way to create a smooth transition.
Creating a Routine
Staying inside all of the time can sometimes cause seniors to forget what day it is. This can make it difficult to keep track of chores and personal hygiene.
A good way to avoid this is to have different caregiving come on different days. One caregiver is for bathing and the other for daily chores. If you can’t afford multiple caregivers, another option is taking shorts baths or showers every day.
For this option, you wouldn’t wash them with shampoo and soap every day. However, the simple act of getting in and out of a warm shower or bath every day can help get seniors accustomed to a consistent routine.
Alternatives to Running Water
If it ever becomes too difficult to get a senior in and out of the bath, caregivers can always improvise by using moist toilettes. This can even be done by the senior themselves to help promote independence and motor skills.
Another alternative is using non-rinse soap near a kitchen or bathroom sink.
2. Fighting Baths Due to Fear
Not wanting to take baths can be more than just old age and stubbornness. Many seniors fight back due to Alzheimer’s ordementia, and this behavior can often be rooted in some sort of fear. Fear of water, falling, being cold, or even fearing a loss of dignity can all cause a senior to shy away from wanting to take a bath.
However, there are many ways to create a more relaxing and comfortable environment for seniors when its time for a bath. Create “spa time” by making sure the bathroom is warm and the lights are dimmed. You can even build on the spa-like atmosphere by playing soothing music and having warm towels ready for when they’re done.
If your senior absolutely refuses a bath or shower or has very limited mobility, a sponge bath is an alternative option.
Make sure you have all of your supplies and a warm change of clothes nearby before getting your senior into the bathtub or onto the bed. Use multiple towels for privacy, and only uncover the parts that you’re going to wash next.
If possible, have the senior do as much as they can by themselves to promote independence and make them feel more comfortable.Click herefor a more thorough walkthrough of how to give a sponge bath.
3. Properly Cleaning to Prevent UTI’s
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused when bad bacteria enters the body through the urethra and causes an infection, eventually spreading to the kidneys. While it’s very common and easily cured in young people, it can prove detrimental to an older adult with a weak immune system.
There are multiple ways to make sure that your senior doesn’t get a UTI. First and foremost, make sure that they are properly bathed at least once a week with one of the methods mentioned above.
Secondly, try to introduce moist toilettes or baby wipes into their bathroom routine. Using one after every bowel movement will prevent the spread of infection and leave your senior feeling clean and fresh.
If your older adult has a problem with a leaky bladder, or incontinence, having them wear adult briefs is the easiest way to keep them clean and prevent accidents. Check the briefs every two hours, and use a moist wipe to clean their genitals during each change.
Consider Getting a Caregiver
If your loved one can no longer live their daily life without help, it can be hard for them and for you. With work, bill, children, etc, it’s can be difficult to be there for them as much as you’d like to.
At CareBuilders at Home, we’re dedicated to providing quality care for seniors in every stage of their lives.Contact ustoday if you’re considering a caregiver for your senior, or if you want to pursue a rewarding career as a caregiver.