Tips for Properly Bathing, Dressing and Grooming Alzheimer's Patients
For patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, there will come a time when they would become dependent on their caregivers when doing more simple tasks, like taking a bath, putting on clothes, brushing their teeth or combing their hair. Since these are personal and private activities, patients may feel embarrassed, so much so that they may reject any form of assistance.
Because they can no longer perform these essential tasks on their own, patients may feel frustrated and angry at whoever helps them, but also at themselves. It's vital for caregivers to not feel discouraged when helping their loved one.
Here are several tips that may help caregivers who are doing all that they can to make sure their loved one is properly bathed, dressed and groomed.
General reminders on how to care for Alzheimer’s patients
- Caregivers should keep an eye on the patient’s daily grooming needs.
- Doing the grooming activities at the same time and place is helpful in setting a routine.
- Respect is given at all times. Caregivers should take into consideration the privacy of the patients.
- Caregivers should also consider the previous grooming habits of the patients and inform them of what is being done.
- Safety should be one of the top priorities in grooming these patients.
- Caregivers should provide support and encouragement by praising and complimenting patients with simple grooming feats.
- Being flexible is important in offering care to Alzheimer’s patients. If the patient is taking a shower, the caregiver can give the patient a bath or use a shower that is hand-held.
- Caregivers should let patients take part in the grooming tasks and make them feel comfortable. They should choose the best time to give the patients a bath, and the bathing area should be conducive to relaxation.
- All the things needed should be prepared in advance.
- Caregivers must make the grooming activities as simple as possible. For instance, the caregiver prepares only the clothes that the patient will be wearing.
One of the most difficult tasks in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is giving a bath. It will be best to plan how to do it in order to make this activity as easy as possible. If the patient is scared of taking a bath or shower, the caregivers should be the one to adjust. They can follow a few bathing habits that a patient already has, such as the preferred bathing time of the patient or the type of soap the use.
How to ensure the safety of the patient while giving a bath:
- The caregiver should not leave the patient unattended in the tub or shower, especially if the patient is weak or confused.
- Checking the temperature of the water before the patient uses the tub or shower is important.
- A hand-held shower, safety bars, and a rubber mat must be used.
- The caregiver should purchase a durable shower chair so that the patient will remain steady and not fall. A shower chair can be purchased from a medical supply store or drugstore.