You may be shocked to notice that your mother who used to shower every day or your father who used to bathe regularly is no longer bathing. There could be several reasons for why they have stopped bathing, including physical or mental health concerns. Let’s dig into each of those reasons to understand why your senior loved ones avoid bathing.
Top Reasons Why Your Elderly Parent Refuses to Bathe
Bathing is a stressor and an emotional trigger for many elderly individuals. Below are some general reasons why your older parents may be reluctant to bathe or take a shower. However, each adult is different, so the reasons will vary from person to person.
- Osteoporosis: As people age, their bone density declines. Adults who have osteoporosis have weaker bones and may have a fear of moving around too much or going to the bathroom alone. If your loved one is dealing with osteoporosis, chances are that they are afraid to fall in the bathroom which may stop them from bathing.
- Impaired Vision: Adults who have impaired vision are more susceptible to falling. If your senior parent’s vision seems to be declining, then you need to see a doctor immediately. Having poor vision can make them feel anxious and less confident in showering or bathing alone.
- Ablutophobia: This is a phobia in which an individual has an irritational reaction and fear of bathing or washing. This disorder is rare in young people but more common in older adults.
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s: It is quite common for dementia and Alzheimer patients to forget about showering, brushing their teeth, or even changing clothes. For such people, bathing can be a challenging activity which can make them uncomfortable and reluctant.
- Depression: People suffering from depression have little motivation or energy to do anything for themselves. Thus, older people facing depression have less or close to no interest in doing anything except lying in bed. This fatigued behavior is the reason elderly people with depression are hesitant to shower.
- Lack of Smell: As people age, their sensory system declines or fails which means they don’t even notice that they smell bad when they are not bathing or grooming. This may cause them to think it is fine to skip showers.
- Isolation: Many seniors feel isolated, especially if they live alone and away from their family. This isolation means they do not see other people often which makes them less likely to bathe or take care of themselves.
To help your elderly loved one get back on track with regular bathing, the following effective methods can help convince and motivate them to bathe every day. You can also hire a non-medical home care assistant for your senior loved ones who can monitor and take care of their health and hygiene.
How to Convince Your Seniors to Take Bathe
- Approach with Compassion: Don’t show aggression. Talk to your loved ones politely and with utmost care. Understand why they do not like to bathe every day. By talking, you may find out the real reason and you can work with them to validate their fear and explain to them how bathing can make them feel fresh and energized.
- Establish a Daily Routine: Make a routine for your senior loved ones and choose the times for them to wake up, eat, sleep, exercise, and bathe. When your loved one gets used to following their routine, the chance of them forgetting to bathe is much lower. A routine will establish good habits in your senior loved ones.
- Try Positive Reinforcement: Parents commonly use positive reinforcement to make their children study, go to school, or clean the house. Now, the role has reversed. In order to convince your elderly loved one to bathe and maintain their personal hygiene, try using positive reinforcement. This could include verbal praise, gifts, some of your extra time, and recognition. Positive reinforcement works well with senior’s memory.
- Provide a Reason to Get Dressed Up: Invite your elderly parents to join you for lunch or an evening gathering or encourage them to meet their ex-co-workers, friends, and relatives. These happy moments will encourage them to bathe and look good in front of others.
- Make Bathing Convenient: When your senior loved one feels it is difficult to manage things inside the bathroom, then make their bathroom safer and easier to use. Try installing handheld shower heads, grab bars, and non-slip mats to make taking a bath or shower safer for your loved ones.
- Offer Help But Let them be Independent: Your senior loved one may be hesitant to accept help with bathing and getting dressed. To help them, try taking your elderly loved one to the bathroom and let them shower and get dressed by themselves. You may sit outside the bathroom and wait until they are done. This way their independence is not lost, and they will feel confident that someone is outside to help when needed.
- Consider Physical Challenges: In complex health situations, you may have to assist them in showering. However, if your loved one is reluctant to have you inside the bathroom, then you can hire a senior home caregiver who can assist them with bathing and other everyday activities. If it is difficult for your loved ones to shower every day, then ask the caregiver to try alternative bathing methods such as using a sponge, wet cloth etc.
Contact Assisting Hands Home Care Today
If you have a senior loved one who is having a difficult time while bathing or taking care of their personal hygiene, then contact Assisting Hands for non-medical home care in Medinah, IL | Glendale Heights, IL | Itasca, IL | Bensenville, IL | Elmhurst, IL | Villa Park, IL | Addison, IL | Lombard, IL, and the surrounding areas by calling (630) 526-6522. Our caregivers are compassionate and will assist your senior loved ones with personal care including help bathing and showering.