As you’re surely aware, Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that is most commonly associated with forgetfulness. Dementia actually refers to a number of symptoms of cognitive decline. According to Alzheimer Canada Society, 564,000 Canadians are currently living with dementia. They approximate that 937,000 Canadians will be living with the disease in 15 years. As well, 1.1 million Canadians are affected directly or indirectly by the disease.
Are you impacted by the presence of Alzheimer’s in your family? If so, you’re undoubtedly privy to the difficulties the disease can present. Bathing often presents a major difficulty. Therefore, it’s important for seniors who have Alzheimer’s to follow safe bathing practices.
Prepare the bathroom well in advance.
As a caregiver, the last thing you want is to have to run out of the bathroom during the time when your care recipient is bathing. If he/she requires your immediate assistance, it’s important that you are fully present. Make it a point to prepare your bathroom well in advance of bath time. Ensure that you have all necessary bathing supplies such as towels, shampoo and body wash ready to go.
The Alzheimer’s Association also encourages you to make the bathroom as comfortable as possible. “Pad the shower seat and other cold or uncomfortable surfaces with towels,” they recommend on their website, “Check that the room temperature is pleasant.”
Use positive reinforcements and avoid arguments.
Caregivers of dementia patients are well aware of the conflicts that can arise. A simple suggestion to take a bath can often escalate into a verbal spat. This is why it’s so important to use soft tones, friendly gestures and carefully-selected wording. DailyCaring.com recommends that you extend your hand and allow your care recipient to take it before leading him/her to the bathroom.
“After they’ve started walking, say something like ‘Let’s go shower now and then we’ll have a yummy snack (cookies, juice, etc.) and do something fun,’” the site suggests, “As you walk, keep the conversation focused on the snack or fun activity to avoid discussing or arguing about the shower. ‘Those chocolate chip cookies are your favourite, aren’t they? And we can put together that puzzle with the beautiful birds.’”
Make necessary bathroom modifications.
“Install grab bars, place non-skid mats on floors, use a tub bench or bath chair that can be adjusted to different heights, watch for puddles and lower the thermostat on your hot-water heater to prevent scalding injuries,” recommends the Alzheimer’s Association, “Also, take care to never leave the person with dementia alone in the bathroom, use products made of non-breakable materials, and keep sharp objects (i.e. tweezers, scissors) out of reach.”
At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we offer a wide variety of bath safety products to ensure your bathroom is a safe place. Contact us and let us show you how you can have a barrier-free washroom. If you can’t make it into the store, we are also available to come to you. Request a free in-home assessment and we’ll be happy to set up a time to meet with you and review your home for any safety concerns.