Bathing or showering is often a problem when your LO refuses or keeps saying they just had a shower.
Caregivers need to figure out what is frightening or upsetting their LO about taking a shower. Here are some possibilities:
- The person may have poor eyesight or balance problems and may not feel safe standing in the shower
- Many people with dementia are afraid of the shower spray. This is not unusual.
- Your LO may feel cold when showering
- Your LO may not want to undress in front of others.
Unfortunately, forcing a person to shower will assure that they put the brakes on even more when asked next time.
Things to try:
Before asking your LO to shower, put them in a good mood by offering a little treat. Something they love to eat (chocolate?). Promise to give them more after a shower.
Tell your LO they will not have to stand in the shower (they can sit in a shower chair). Nor will he/she have to take clothes off in front of you or the staff if they are in a nursing home. (You can drape a sheet around the person and remove their clothing under it.) This will also help to keep them warm.
When the water temperature is comfortable, you or the staff can shower your LO under the sheet and when they are done, put a warm bath sheet over them. You can also try playing some of your LO's favorite music in the shower room and singing along with them. Remember, older people will like music from the 1940s and '50s. When they are done, offer another treat. Showering should be fun, not something to be afraid of or embarrassed by.
While showers or baths are probably the best way to keep your LO clean, sponge baths can come close. Washing private parts frequently will help and this can even be done while sitting on the toilet using a small pitcher of warm water.
Stephanie Zeman MSN RN (email@example.com)