Dementia Care: When a Loved One Refuses to Bathe

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Dementia Care When a Loved One Refuses to Bathe in Des Moines, IA

Dementia affects a person’s mental state and can drastically shift the way he or she perceives reality. As a result, it’s common for seniors with dementia to refuse to perform regular daily activities such as bathing. If you have an aging loved one who refuses to bathe, here are a few strategies for helping him or her be more comfortable with personal hygiene activities. 

Understand the Symptoms of Dementia

The first step in helping your loved one is to understand how he or she has been affected by dementia. Seniors living with this memory condition experience loss of memory, independence, and self, an inability to focus or remember, and depression. These symptoms can lead to reactions ranging from simple stubbornness to complete refusal of care. It’s important to understand how your loved one may be feeling so you can provide care that’s comforting, helpful, and non-threatening.  If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. Des Moines, IA, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

Provide Incentive 

It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly why a senior with dementia may not want to bathe, but in some cases a bit of incentive goes a long way. Explain to your loved one that it’s important to bathe before doing the next task. For instance, bathing is important in the morning so fresh clothes can be put on and breakfast can be served, or bathing is important at night so your loved one can brush his or her teeth and get into bed. 

Create a Calm Environment 

Noises, bright lights, and other distractions can make the symptoms of dementia more difficult to manage and, in turn, make bathing seem like a frightening or stressful experience. Try to make the bathroom as comfortable of a space as possible by adjusting lighting, turning the heater on so it isn’t cold getting in and out of the shower or bath, and removing any clutter that may be distracting to your loved one. 

Encourage Independence 

Seniors with dementia may resist performing activities where they feel like they’re being controlled. Do your best to encourage your loved one to do as much as safely possible on his or her own. For family members who have a bit of difficulty determining how much help to offer, professional caregivers are a great option for help as well. These individuals are trained to assist seniors with personal care activities, ensuring as much independence as possible while providing help with the utmost dignity and respect.    When considering elderly care, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.

Control Your Emotions 

It can be difficult and frustrating when your loved one becomes combative, but keep in mind that seniors with dementia often base their own emotions off of those they trust. By controlling your emotions and staying calm and level-headed, you’re more likely to encourage your loved one to do as you ask.  Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Des Moines families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. To schedule a no-obligation consultation, please give us a call today at (515) 264-2438.


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