12 Tips for Bathing & Dressing with Dementia Patients

12 Tips for bathing and dressing with with dementia patients. As our loved ones age, especially in cases of Alzheimer’s Dementia, some day to day tasks may become increasingly difficult such as bathing and dressing. Here are a few things you can do to help them maintain independence and continue to do tasks for themselves.

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How to Get Your Loved one To Take a Bath

It may be difficult to get your loved one to agree to take a bath (or shower). Do not become aggressive, or try to reason with him or her. Instead, remain positive and soothing. It is a good idea to use “we” and “us” versus “you”.

For example, say “It is time we take a bath and get ready for dinner”. Instead of “you haven’t had a bath in 3 days”.

Sometimes picture/communication boards can be helpful with more advanced dementia.

Example: You could have a card with the picture of a bath and show it when suggesting a bath.

Medical Care Alert

When it is time to bath, you should tick to lifelong bathing habits when possible. If your loved one bathed in a tub versus a shower, it is a good idea to offer baths in the tub and not try to get your loved one to shower.

Bathing Tips

  • Make sure the bathroom is warm and soothing
  • Use a hand held shower head for easier washing.
  • A shower chair is recommended for safety.
  • If you are helping them to bath, make sure you include them by giving them a soapy wash cloth or sponge.
  • Let them know what’s going to happen with each step and let them do as much as possible on their own.
  • At the end of the bath, get them mostly dry before getting out. Try wrapping in large towels front to back.
  • Use a towel warmer for added comfort

Dressing Tips

  • Utilize clothing with elastic and velcro to help them manage dressing themselves without too much assistance
  • Avoid items that may be more difficult for then such as buttons and shoes with laces
  • Make sure that the clothing they have access to is seasonally appropriate
  • If you lay their clothes out for them, make sure they have options to choose for themselves
  • If they have a favorite article of clothing, it may be helpful to get duplicates of that item.

Remember, you will want to find what works best for your family and your loved ones needs. Not all clients will respond the same to varying approaches, and even the same client may not respond the same way each time.

You may find it difficult at times to communicate with your loved one with Alzheimer’s dementia. Click HERE for more helpful information about communicating with your loved one.