As the elderly in the home grow older, keeping their hygiene proper becomes a difficult task with each passing day. A thing as simple as bathing gets neglected and can be a cause of a lot of problems. If you want to keep the elderly in your home away from infections, it is necessary to keep them clean by making them bath themselves or by bathing them. Here are a few tips on how to deal with the elderly if they have a habit of not bathing regularly.
Get a hold of the problem
If the elderly in the house are not bathing regularly, there is a high chance that they might be under some kind of problem. To crack the problem you ought to try and understand it first. There might be many reasons for them to avoid bathing such as:
Stress: As the age increases, stress and despair take control of the person and it creates a sense of demotivation to do the most important things of day to day life which include their personal hygiene. Talking to your parents might be a good idea, but if the problem persists, talking to an expert may perhaps help. Talking to a geriatrics can prove to be helpful.
Fear: A simple fear of drowning in the water or falling down in the bathroom might prevent them from taking a bath. If this is the case you can provide them with a bucket or a hand held hose to bathe with so they feel in control and ensure proper cleaning in the bathroom so they don’t fall. Installing a handle for them to hold will do them good. Soap on a rope can also be a great option for those who can’t bend down to pick up the soap if it slips.
Loss of Memory: As the age surges, memory loss becomes a huge concern in the case of the elderly. It can be difficult for them to remember when they took a bath the last time or if they had a shower today or not and these questions can lead to the negligence of not bathing or resisting bath.
Changing Times: Only recently has bathing everyday become the rule for most and in older times such as the elderly’s youth people didn’t bath everyday. As one ages they tend to remember the long gone past and the habit of bathing once a week then might make them follow it in current times too.
Encouraging them to bath regularly
After analysing and understanding the problem of the elderly, it can be easily dealt with.
Right from the start, you have to be both supportive and realistic. Elderly are difficult to deal with, and any wrong steps can make their state of mind decline. Do not assume that the problem might vanish with a small chat or it might go away in a day or so.
Understanding the elder’s concerns might help them to get a hold of your concerns too. The elderly need your help even if they resist asking for it and you should be prepared to help them with anything even if you have to lower your principles if needed.
If you make your parents feel that you are okay with them smelling bad or not taking a bath everyday, then you are not helping them but making their condition even worse. You might do it to show your love and affection but it can cause some serious health issues to them. With a delicate attitude you should solve the problem without hurting anyone’s feelings.
Proper Standard of living
If you observe that depression and stress is causing a problem to the elderly, then consulting a geriatrics or an expert will be of great help. They might offer a proper medication or tips to change their lifestyle to cope up with depression. It might regenerate their interest in day to day habits such as bathing.
Boosting their confidence
Depleting social life can be a problem too. The less the elderly talk to other people or go out the more they feel content with not bothering to wash regularly. Making them meet people can encourage them to wash up and clean themselves regularly.
Creating more and more instances where they go out or meet people might make them take care of their hygiene to be presentable in front of other people. Letting them meet or talking to old friends and relatives can be a confidence booster too. If they are full of negativity then giving them reasons to clean themselves might help more than forcing them to bath.
Helping the elders bathe
If the elderly fear bathing or have a problem in going to the bathroom due to the inability to walk, you can lend them your assistance in cleaning them. Bathing equipment for elderly is available easily, ranging from non-slippery mats to grab handles and bathing seats for elderly to sit in the shower. For this, taking professional help might be useful as they might assess the elderly’s requirements professionally.
Helping the elders with washing
Encouraging them to bath is one thing, but helping them wash is a whole different step. There might come a point when the elders might not be able to wash themselves and require assistance. This is drastic phase change and should be presented softly as an offer to help and not as an order. Make them realize that there is a problem and they need your help to solve it. If they resist, then rather than clinging onto the subject, drop it. It is a big issue and can require time. Brining it later when they might be in a better state of mind can be a bit more helpful.
If they agree, then the help should begin with one step at a time. One can start by just washing their hair or face and as it becomes a routine then one can start washing other areas of the body one at a time. You should allow the elder to do what they can still do so they feel in control and avoid the feeling of complete dependency. Helping must be done in such a way that the elder’s self respect is conserved. As time passes, this might develop in a very broad help and bed baths.
Hiring Private Services
If you are unable to help the elderly properly or are wound up in your work, hiring private professionals might be the optimal solution. This will make sure that they are taken care of by professionals and their hygiene is checked regularly. But it should be considered as the final step and should be done if absolutely necessary as a stranger bathing your family member might be uncomfortable to everyone.
Putting yourself in their shoes might help you get a better hold of their situation. If you feel that they might be ready for this step then only you should call in a professional. Hiring from a good professional service might ensure proper care and not just another job to earn some cash. A good professional in-home care provider will make your parents realize that they need help. By this method you can ensure your parent’s wellbeing is in good hands and their personal hygiene is being taken care of.
Disclaimer : The Views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Health & You, Please Use yours reasonable judgement before proceeding with purchase or use of any product based on the blog.