Bath Time

Elderly people tend to get cold quickly. Before going into the bathroom perhaps turn the a/c up a couple of degrees so it won’t come on while they are in the  shower. Sometimes it is necessary to have a small portable heater in the bathroom to turn on during bath time. Have all the necessary items that will be needed such as: towel, washcloth, soap, shampoo, clean clothes or pajamas in the bathroom before starting the bath. You don’t want to have to walk out and leave them unattended.

A bathtub mat or decals of some sort on the bottom of the tub to prevent them from slipping is a good idea. I have seen caregivers wet a thick towel and put a portion of it under the legs of the shower bench for them to stand up on during the shower when no mats were present.

Shower bars installed on the shower wall is also a great idea for safety. You will want to implement anything possible to assist the process of keeping your parent safe. It is just another safety measure.

I seriously recommend a shower bench that overlaps or overextends the side of the bathtub. If it is overlapping the tub they can walk up to the tub, turn around, sit down on the shower bench and then lift one leg at a time over the tub and then scoot over to the middle of the bench. If you have a shower chair or a shower bench that doesn’t overlap the edge your parent has to stand up and hold onto something or someone and lift each leg over the edge of the tub. They will be straddled the tub lifting the other leg. Then they have to turn around and face the front of the tub. Then backup and turn their head to find the bench. Then sit down without plopping down and perhaps falling over. This makes for a possibly dangerous situation. There is no need for extra risks in the bathroom when it can be prevented.

Proceed as you normally would for a shower. After washing the top half you can actually wrap a dry towel around them and continue with the rest of the body. If you have an extended shower bench if it easier to get them out and dried off. They just scoot over to the end. Lift each leg over the side and turn without standing up. So much safer. Dry off and get dressed.

I don’t recommend shower chairs unless the person needs support to sit up. In that case you may need two people for safety measures if possible. That would be considered a high fall risk. Also, for wheelchair bound people that can’t stand up and lift each leg over the side of the bathtub the overlapping or extended shower bench is their avenue to  continue taking a real shower and not a bed bath.

The bathroom is one of the rooms that the elderly tend to get hurt in the most due to falls. Ambulance services and fire stations get many calls weekly to go and help someone that has fallen in the bathroom.

I hope this information helps you for a safer and happier bath time.

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