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  • Writer's pictureThe Care Company

Hygiene for Seniors: How Often Should Older Loved Ones Bathe?

happy senior lady ready for bath
Is a daily bath too much or just right for proper senior hygiene?

Sinking into a soothing, warm bubble bath at the conclusion of a stressful day and stepping into a hot, invigorating shower first thing in the morning are daily pleasures for many of us. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing in regards to hygiene for seniors. You might want to rethink that daily shower or bath for seniors for a number of reasons:

  • Fatigue

  • An increased chance of falls on slippery floors

  • The risk of skin infections from cracked, dry skin

  • Thinner skin which can lead to easier bruising along with other injuries

  • Mobility issues

  • And more

How Often Should an Older Adult Bathe?

A couple of times weekly is adequate to maintain personal hygiene for seniors. In between, a warm washcloth can be used to clean areas that require additional attention. This is especially important for older adults who wear products to manage incontinence.

Special Considerations for Alzheimer's

One exception to consider is a senior with Alzheimer's. Because routine is extremely important when cognitive issues are a factor, a regular bath or shower can be a source of comfort. If a senior with Alzheimer's is fearful or otherwise resists personal hygiene, however, try the following:

  • Promote independence. Empower the senior to remain in control of the bathing process as much as possible. Encourage them to participate according to their ability level, regardless of whether that means just holding onto the washcloth or shampoo bottle.

  • Focus on comfort. Keep the bathroom warm. Turn on music they enjoy. Have plenty of big, fluffy towels on hand. Use shampoo and body wash or soap in a calming, soothing scent.

  • Talk through each step of the process. Explain what's going to happen in simple terms and in a soothing tone of voice prior to each part of the bathing process.

  • Relieve fears. The loud, pounding sound of a shower or bathwater running is frightening for many individuals with dementia. A handheld shower set at a minimal level is quieter and enables the individual to see where the water is originating from.

  • Create a positive association. Incorporate a particularly enjoyable activity at the end of the bath-time routine. For example, provide a favorite snack that is only served after bathing so it creates a positive connection.

Frequently, seniors feel most comfortable having assistance with personal hygiene needs from a professional caregiver. The Care Company's care team is fully trained and experienced in providing support for safe, comfortable showers or baths. Our focus is always on ensuring dignity and respect and addressing any specific concerns or fears with skill and empathy. Contact us at 416-422-2273 for additional information.

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