Assisting an elderly to take a bath is one of the most difficult tasks of a caregiver. It takes a lot of patience and effort to finish the procedures carefully. If you don’t have much experience in this, we recommend the following procedures on how to bathe an elderly.
1. Gather all you need
Before guiding her to the bathroom, ready everything you need first. It is not good to leave the elderly alone in the bathroom because of the high possibility of them falling. The basic needs for bathing may include: shampoo, soap, 2 warm full size towels, and 2 hand towels. One full size bath towel is for the front of her body, another is for her back. You can add one more if the weather is too cold. The hand towel is for the head and the other one is for her private part.
If the doctor prescribed her to use a certain liquid soap or shampoo, be careful to follow the physician’s instruction. Their needs might differ depending on the health condition of the elderly.
Shower seats are also a must in the bathroom since our elderlies can’t stand for too long. Put a towel on it before letting her have a seat. Hand-held showers are better than any kind of showers for assisting the bathing of our older loved ones.
2. Test the water
The temperature of the water can influence the body condition, especially for the elderly whose body is more sensitive and fragile than those who are younger. Never let her step into the shower without testing the temperature with your inner wrist.
3. Wash the head
The head should be the first part of the body to be washed. Choose a mild face wash or just water to do this. Let her close her eyes on the procedure. After drying her face, let her hold the hand towel on her face, covering her eyes before washing her hair with shampoo. Wash as quickly as possible.
You can also let her hold the hand-held shower throughout the bath if she can manage.
4. Wash the body
Soap up the face wash cloth and give it to her so she can wash her body as she can. You may use a different towel in washing her back with gentle circular motions. Work on the back, underarms, torso, legs, and feet. Rinse the upper part of her body thoroughly and check if there are any soap residue left on her skin.
Ask your elderly to stand carefully and help her if she needs assistance. Wash the bottom half of her body, front then back. Do this professionally and quickly.
Lastly, grab your warm towels and put one on her front and another on her back. Put a warm hand towel on the head.
5. Dry the body
To avoid skin breakdown, dry her head first, giving a good massage as her hair dries. Let the application of the warm towel dry her skin completely.
Lastly, check for bruises, cuts, or any problems on her skin. Seek for immediate medication in case there is any.
It is an honor to be someone’s caregiver. Don’t let stress destroy this noble job. Always remember that the key to keep the bathing successful is doing it professionally and keeping your elderly feel safe and dignified.
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