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How to Handle Bathing Challenges for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease

Family Caregivers in Newton MA

One of the challenges of being a family caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is that you can find yourself dealing with unexpected issues, such as bathing. Some days may be easier than others, but these tips can help.

Help Your Loved One Feel in Charge

One reason that your elderly loved one may have issues with bath time is because the situation is one that is very vulnerable and she may feel less in control than usual. Describe to your loved one what you’re doing before and while you’re helping her through the bathing process. This helps her to feel that there’s not any mystery about the situation and that she’s in your safe hands.

Don’t Leave Your Loved One Alone, but Help Make the Experience Private

Leaving your loved one alone in the bathtub or in the shower is a very bad idea, so make sure that you’re ready with everything that you need before you get your loved one involved. Once you’re in the midst of the bathing process, try to help your loved one preserve her dignity as much as possible. Some elderly loved ones are extremely embarrassed to be bathed by someone else, even if it is a loved one.

Keep the Bathroom Comfortable

If the bathroom itself isn’t comfortable, for example if it’s too cold or too warm, your loved one might be hesitant to cooperate. You should make sure that anything that your loved one might need or want during bath time is already there and help to make the experience relaxing. If your loved one enjoys music, try playing some in the background or using special soap that she really likes. If you can make the experience a happy one, your loved one is more likely to want to cooperate.

Some Days May Not Require a Bath

One situation that you may need to learn to accept is that not every day may require a bath. As you and your loved one learn her limits, you’ll start to learn when it’s better to let your loved one determine when she has a bath on her own. That’s not to say that she should skip bath time for a week solid, but you have to pick your battles.

A non-medical caregiver can help your senior loved one get through bathing challenges while giving you respite from this difficult task.


If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073