Bathing and Grooming Help for Seniors with Alzheimer's

How to Help a Senior with Alzheimer’s Bathe and Groom

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If your senior loved one is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, he or she may face challenges with maintaining proper bathing and grooming techniques. Grand Rapids Alzheimer’s care experts suggest having help available to ensure your loved one stays safe and comfortable when getting ready each day.

Try to Maintain Lifelong Routines

Familiar routines can be reassuring to seniors with Alzheimer’s. You should try to follow your loved one’s lifelong grooming habits if possible. For example, bathe him or her at the same time of day and help with shaving or applying makeup if that was part of his or her regular routine. If you find this task difficult to manage, there are hourly or live-in caregivers in Grand Rapids who can help.

Encourage Independence

You should allow your loved one to perform bathing and grooming tasks unaccompanied if he or she is physically able to do so safely. This can help maintain his or her cognitive function and fosters a sense of independence. Your loved one can use adaptive aids such as brushes with easy-grip handles or bath sponges with long handles to make it easier to bathe independently. If he or she forgets the steps to tasks such as brushing teeth, you can offer verbal cues or even demonstrate by brushing your teeth at the same time.

Prepare the Room in Advance

In some cases, a senior with Alzheimer’s may become fearful and combative during the bathing process. Preparing in advance can help alleviate your loved one’s anxiety.

  • Make sure the room and water are at a comfortable temperature
  • Play soft music to help your loved one relax.
  • Explain exactly what you are doing in a soft, calm voice.
  • Give your loved one a washcloth to hold. This may make it less likely he or she will try to hit you if agitated.

Offer Simple Choices

Seniors with Alzheimer’s sometimes choose clothes that don’t go together or are inappropriate for the season. They can also have more difficulty managing things like laces and buttons. You can simplify the process by reducing the number of choices available in your loved one’s closet and buying loose-fitting clothes with large zippers, elastic waistbands, or Velcro™. If your loved one insists on wearing the same thing every day, try purchasing multiples of the same items.

Whether it’s for bathing and grooming or assistance with other tasks around the house, every senior with Alzheimer’s is unique. Your loved one may need care tailored to his or her complex needs. For high-quality senior care Grand Rapids families trust, turn to Home Care Assistance. In addition to Alzheimer’s care, our caregivers are also trained in specialized care for other forms of dementia, as well as Parkinson’s and post-stroke care. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 616-243-0835 today.