No Rinse Shampoo Cap (5-Pack)Bathing Hygiene Can Become A Battle When Dealing With An Alzheimer’s Or Dementia Patient
I’ve recently become a member of several Facebook groups all dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia patients.
Through perusing the many stories of people having a hard time getting those with Alzheimer’s or dementia to bathe, I saw a trend developing.
It seems that the deeper the patient sinks into demented behavior, the harder it is to get them to do the simple tasks you and I do most days – brush our teeth, use the bathroom, shower or bathe, wash our hair, etc.
Washing Mom’s hair became difficult as she just didn’t like it any more – it was too exhausting for her those last weeks to get into the shower. That’s how I found those No Rinse Shower Caps you see there to the left.
Pop one in the microwave, pop it on the head, squish it around (it stays dry on the outside), take it off, and, voila! Freshly showered hair, just slightly damp and ready to be styled.
If we were running late, I’d just use one of the good dry shampoos on the market. I use this on my own hair and love that dry shampoo will keep the style but refreshen my hair.
I decided to take all the tips I could find (like warming towels in the dryer, using red accessories, etc) and compile them into this one hopefully helpful article. I hope to give you some ideas about how to encourage bathing hygiene in the elderly.
If you have any more ideas, I’d love for you to leave me a comment below. This article will be ever evolving with the addition of the information I find in the comments so bookmark it and come back to visit (ya’ll….).
Warm The Bathroom
A common undertone to those who are frustrated trying to get their elderly Alzheimer or dementia loved ones to bathe is the issue of first getting them into the bathroom.
A common complaint is ‘it’s too cold.’
Make the bathroom more inviting by warming the room before you even mention a shower or bath to an Alzheimer’s patient. Hopefully, you have a heat lamp installed in the ceiling but, if not, consider buying a very small ceramic heater to plug-in 10 minutes before bath time.
Note: obviously, take care to keep the heat source removed from any water!!!!
I’ve heard of people using hair dryers but I’m not sure that’s the safest option. Here’s some better ones:
Bribe ‘Em With Warm Towels After….
You might get a better response to a shower if your loved one sees that there is a warm towel at the end of the bath.
Knox Aluminum Towel Warmer Rack – Freestanding or Wall Mountable – 6 Bar Electric Warm Bath Towel HeaterHomeleader Towel Warmer and Drying Rack, Heated Towel Rack, Wall Mount and Free Standing, 100WConair Therma Luxe PTW1 Towel Warmer
Add Grab Bars To The Bathtub Or Shower
Grab bars are a no-brainer in my little mind (pun fully intended).
The minute Mom moved in, I added grab bars all over the house. I even had one placed in the living room next to her chair so she’s have something to hold onto sitting and standing.
Note: I’ve added a link for a suction-type grab bar which I normally wouldn’t have done. BUT, this suction grab bar actually has a gauge on it so you’ll know for certain it’s safe (green means it’s secure, red means it needs to be reapplied).
For my money though, I’d hire a handyman and have permanent grab bars installed in the shower.
Moen 8732 Home 32-Inch Bathroom Grab Bar, StainlessGrab Bar by Vive – Suction Shower Handle & Bathroom Balance Bar – Safety Hand Rail Support – Handicap, Elderly, Injury, Senior Assist Bath Handle, Non Skid (12 in.)Medline Bath Tub Safety Grab Bar, Microban
Make Bathroom Surfaces Less Scary
As the elderly decline, their eyesight wanes significantly – this is typical of everyone. But…..
Ever had an Alzheimer’s patient stop in their tracks when they were just walking along fine? No amount of pushing, cajoling, or pleading can make them move? ‘Why?’ you might ask? Read on, dear friend.
To those of us with normal vision, we can easily recognize a black floor or a white counter. But, to an Alzheimer’s patient? It’s a whole different story – visual perception ain’t what it used to be
Black and white surfaces can be particularly confusing to those battling dementia. With visual perception failing, black surfaces can look like holes, white color can be equally confusing as they tend to fade into the background.
Using a bright color, like red, seems to help those with Alzheimer’s understand surfaces better. You might be surprised how just adding a red bathroom rug may change bath time. Make sure any bathroom rugs are non-slip.
2Pcs Red Non-Skid Bathroom MatGarland Rug 2-Piece Traditional Nylon Washable Bathroom Rug Set, Chili Pepper RedGorgeousHomeLinen *Various Colors* 3 Pc Bathroom Set Bath Mat, Contour, and Toilet Lid Cover, with Rubber Backing (Red #6)
Bathing Can Be Exhausting. Make Baths Or Showers Relaxing…And Safe
Baths or showers can be exhausting for our elderly. I ran into this with my own Mom who, thankfully, dd not have dementia.
It just exhausted her, having to stand in the shower, while I did all the work. Once I added a shower chair so she could just scoot over into the bathtub, it became much easier to get her to shower.
Duro-Med Heavy-Duty Sliding Transfer Bench Shower Chair with Cut-out Seat and Adjustable Legs, GrayZCHSBH02 – Shower Chair with BackBamboo Shower Seat Bench with Storage Shelf for Seating, Support & Relaxation, Spa Bath Bench Stool Perfect for Indoor or Outdoor Use by Bambüsi
Add Non-Slip Decals To The Floor Of The Shower Or Bathtub
Add red non-slip decals to the floor of the tub for two reasons: they will give safe skid-proof footing for wet feet and they also will break up a white tub so that your elderly loved one will recognize the floor.
Extra Long Vinyl Bath Mat – RedDeluxe PVC Non Slip Bath Mat Anti- Bacterial Foot Massager Bathtub Mat Safety Shower Mat – 14″ x 26″, Rose RedNon-slip Rubber Shower Massage Bathroom Bath Mat,Stall Floor Bath Safety Squishy Bathtub Mat for Homes, Hospitals, Care Homes, Hotels, Gyms (Red)
Water Can Hurt
People who are just beginning on their dementia journey report that, sometime, shower water is painful as the water stream is too hard. Try to soften the flow or choose a shower head with different variations of spray.
A helpful tip if water hurts is to cover your elderly loved one with a small towel and run the water through the towel. The towel will soften the water on their skin.
Note: NEVER spray an Alzheimer or dementia patient in the face! And, give them a small towel for modesty, if needed. With Mom, we just let it all hang out!
I suggest a new handheld shower for more control over the type and direction of water spray.
ShowerMaxx Shower Head Premium 6 Spray Settings | Luxury Spa Detachable Handheld Showerhead | Extra Long Stretchable Stainless Steel Hose, Adjustable Mount & Teflon Tape | Chrome Hand Held FinishAquarius Handheld Shower Head With Hose (Extra Long) Luxury Spa Grade High Pressure Hand Held Showerhead With 6 Spray Settings – Includes Adjustable Mount Holder & Teflon Tape – oil rubbed bronzeAquarius Handheld Shower Head With Hose (Extra Long) Luxury Spa Grade High Pressure Hand Held Showerhead With 6 Spray Settings – Includes Adjustable Mount Holder & Teflon Tape- Premium Chrome Finish
Make Bathtime Fun With Some Favorite Music
Caregivers report that music can calm the savage beast and, believe me, those with Alzheimer’s or dementia may have some pretty strong convictions – like, ‘I’m NOT showering!’
Adding music to the bathroom just might be enough to get your favorite senior citizen interested in finding out what’s going on in there!
Tearless shampoos haven’t really changed over the years. It’s still the best option to have in the bathroom when it comes to showering an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient.
Biosoma Chamomile Baby Shampoo. Natural Chamomile Extract, Hypoallergenic, Paraben Free, Salt Free, Cruelty Free. 8 oz. (236 ml) Made in the USAJohnson’s Baby Shampoo, 15 Fl Oz8 oz Freshscent Tearless Baby Shampoo & Body Wash
When All Else Fails, Sponge or Bed Baths May Be The Only Option
Sponge baths are good for ‘touch ups’, if you ask me, but, if this is the only option for your elderly loved one, go for it. You can only do what you can only do!
Comfort Bath Value Size! Personal Cleansing, Ultra-Thick Disposable Washcloths, 4 packs of 8No Rinse Bathing Wipes (8 count each) – 5 Pack (40 wipes)BabaMate Natural Bamboo Baby Bath Sponge – 2 Pack – Ultra Soft & Absorbent Sponge For Baby’s Sensitive Skin, Biodegradable, HypoallergenicSpecial 1 Pack of 3 – No Rinse Body Bath 16 oz bottles – NRN910Foaming Body Cleanser by Nurture | No Rinse Body Wash & Shampoo That Cleanses, Moisturizes, and Protects Skin and Hair – Non Allergenic – Non sensitizing – Wipe Away Cleanser – 3 BottlesEZ Access Inflatable Shampoo Basin for the Disabled