Many times elderly are accused of not wanting to practice good hygiene. Often they are simply terrified of falling in the shower, and this is the reason, seniors avoid bathing and the dreaded shower. How can you help your loved one, and still let them maintain their independence and pride?
3 Simple Rules to Help You Now:
- Keep Path Clean and Dry. One of the biggest reasons seniors fear the bathroom and taking a shower is getting to the shower without tripping on a rug or cord, or slipping on a wet floor. Nothing worse than tensing up trying to step into a shower and trying not to fall. Sometimes the senior may successfully get in the shower, but don’t really move around. They may stand perfectly still, so they do not step wrong and fall.
- Have Modifications to Shower. Do you need a medical seat or a built in seat? How about some grab bars for balance? These are all modifications to your shower that can make the shower experience for a senior less intimidating. Either or both devices help the senior relax and take a shower. You can eliminate some of the fear and anxiety of falling, if they have either one for balance and safety.
- Practice Patience. Sometimes a senior will allow family to help them, but more common than not, they do not want anyone seeing them in the buff. How do you assure them you are not rushing and are available to help or wait? Approach the subject gently and ask what they want. What will make them comfortable, and how can you help. Your help may simply consist of getting the water started and putting a medical seat in the shower, or you could be help them undressing and washing part of their body. It is totally up to them, but you have to be patient, and it will go much smoother.
Bottom line is when helping a senior shower or get into the shower, let them know you are not looking, judging, or rushing. You are just there for safety. You need to provide a positive reinforcement, so they are not fearful of the shower, but relaxed and ready to scrub.