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Bathing a Loved One
by Ryan Mackey
When a loved one loses the ability
to bathe and maintain themselves, proper hygiene becomes
especially important. Depending on the frailty of the
individual, your level of involvement can range from
offering minimal assistance to doing all tasks from
washing to even toweling off. While every situation
differs, there are a few recommendations that should
help both you and the person feel as comfortable as
possible, and allow for the bathing process to be as
normal as possible.
Be calm when approaching the person about a bath, so you
do not anger them and make them feel awkward in any way.
If they oppose you, simply walk away and try later on
when/or if they are relaxed.
Bear in mind the person’s traditional bathing habits and
try to adapt these “routines,” so they feel as relaxed
Make the experience as easy as you can, by remaining
composed, using a properly lighted bathroom.
Do not argue with the person over when they bathe,
rather walk them through the process and explain to them
how easy you have made it.
Recommend they take a bath and not a shower if they are
able to get into a tub. Using a tub is less taxing on
the caregiver and is much safer than a shower.
Properly prepare the soaps, sponges, and towels needed
ahead of time so the bath progresses quickly.
If possible use a tub with a hand-held shower attachment
that can help when washing the person.
If the person is self-conscious about being without
clothes, wrap a towel around them when in the bath to
provide a feeling of privacy.
Use liquid soaps instead of bar soaps for convenience