Many clients have fears about bathing/showering, and some just lose the motivation for it.
This fear could be fear of feeling vulnerable, or fear of falls. Keep in mind any physical limitations as well as any other diagnosis such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia can somewhat change the way a person sees and experiences things, and we need to be mindful of that. Also, most people like routine, keeping shower or bath time around the same time frame each time helps.
Try to make the process of bathing as warm and inviting as possible. Keep lots of warm towels, keep the bathroom warm. Let the client know you are a friend and are there to complete this common goal together. Use words like “we” instead of “you”. Try to diminish any fears. Have a shower chair for them to sit on, having a railing or two in the shower for them to hold on to is a huge help! Make sure to use lukewarm water, try not to startle or surprise them. This means make sure they are aware of what the entire process is while it is happening, and what you want to do to assist them in this goal. Most people don’t like water in their face, so turning the shower head to the wall and only using when needed is helpful. A detachable shower head is also a big help! It lets the client have more control of the water.
When you assist them with water, start at their feet and work your way up so they can adjust themselves to the water. Talking to them through the entire process is very important! Remember to praise praise praise once your common goal is completed!
By Rachael Warmuth, CAB Lead Caregiver