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How can I get my loved one to bathe?

Answered by David Troxel

March 23, 2015

Bathing is very difficult if at all possible. We have tried music, television, food and trips to McDonald’s. He refuses to bathe. Any ideas what we can do?

This is an ongoing challenge for many caregivers. Persons with dementia don’t realize that they need to bathe or think they’ve already bathed that day (even if they have not).

Do your best to set up the bathroom for success with a warm, inviting room, warm towels, and appropriate grab bars. Put the person at ease by playing his favorite music. Use a scented shampoo or soap for sensory stimulation. All of this can help.

If you are still striking out, do some research about products that can help you like pre-moistened towels and waterless shampoos. A home-care company or agency can often recommend products.

If you have not considered home care, consider hiring someone to come in to help with personal care. Some professional caregivers have that “magic touch”, and can turn a “no” into a “yes” when it comes to bathing.

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. March 26, 2015 at 01:45 pm
    Posted by Wanda Roncali

    I completely agree about the bathing difficulties, my Mom is a 86 year old dementia stricken adult who says running water hurts her and also thinks shes drowning on the first contact with the hand held shower spray..

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