14 Tips for Bathing Your Parent
While you probably enjoyed bath time when your children were little, there is little to look forward to when you need to help an aging parent with bathing. Approved Home Health offers these 14 tips for making bath time easier for both of you.
- Build positive associations with bathing: Do something pleasant before the bath and follow up with a reward.
- Make the bathroom a happy place using favorite colors and pictures, and favorite brands or scents.
- Keep the door closed for privacy.
- Stick to a bathing routine. When you find an approach that works, try to keep it exactly the same each time.
- Make sure the room and water are warm.
- Use as little water as necessary. The sensation of sliding into a tub full of water can be fearful or confusing.
- Run the water in the tub before your parent enters the room; the sound pouring of water can cause distress and your loud voice over it can be interpreted as angry shouting.
- Place a brightly colored, nonskid bath mat in the tub or shower to help your parent judge depth; put a colored carpet on the floor outside the shower or bath, for focus.
- Use distractions in the room to take the person’s mind off the washing: play music, hang favorite pictures, talk about pleasant topics.
- Give your parent a washcloth or wash mitt to occupy his or her hands.
- Be respectful but matter-of-fact about cleaning “private areas.”
- Don’t rush—act as if you have all the time in the world.
- Never force, intimidate or threaten your mom or dad into bathing.
- Know when to quit. If you’re heading for a stand-off, drop the subject of a bath. Focus on other activities and then try again later. Make it sound like a bath is a fresh new idea.