How to Handle Difficulties in the Bathroom/Shower
It is common for individuals with a degenerative neurological disorder to have difficulty when it comes to showers. Whether that is maintaining safe shower practices or managing behavioral issues, family caregivers often face a difficult situation when it’s time to help their loved one in the shower. Below we will share some tips on family caregivers can better manage these often challenging circumstances.
Prioritize Safety: Be aware of slippery surfaces, dim lighting, high temperature water, and items on the floor. Before your loved one goes into the shower or before you help them into it, think of every possible hazard that may arise. The big problem is slipping or tripping, since bathroom areas are prone to getting water on the floor. To solve the slippery surface problem, invest in non-slip mats that you can put on the floor of the shower and on the tile. Another crucial item can be a shower chair that your loved one can sit in during their shower. These can make a huge difference in terms of safety!
Respect your Loved One’s Autonomy and Independence: Many times, aging individuals who lose the ability to bathe themselves become angry and embarrassed about their inability to shower like before. This often stems from feelings of embarrassment and a loss of dignity. This is because hygienic practices are very individual acts, and, thus, bestow independence on people. When your loved one is unable to do these kind of independent acts, it can be very difficult to acknowledge and accept.
To help them feel better about this situation, we encourage you to give them some kind of role in the process and to respect their privacy. You can do this by telling them to do activities that they are able to do, like washing their hair, holding a shampoo bottle, etc. Maintain their privacy by covering them with a towel if they have to undress in front of you. Think of ways to give them more control over the situation, while you are there to help out when needed.
Many times, aggression or other negative feelings during shower time stem from the fact that your loved one may have forgotten they haven’t showered or even what showers are for. So, making sure the process is as quick and painless as possible is key.
Make the Process as Easy as Possible: Be prepared with everything you need before you start to get your loved one into the shower. Ensuring that all of your items are at hand will not only speed the process, but minimizes the chance for frustration from your loved one since they will not be left by themselves while you fetch a forgotten item.
Other ways you can simplify your routine is to warm up the water before the shower begins, make the environment more relaxing, and place all of the necessary items you will use in the bathroom.
Caregiving provides unique challenges for many people. If you have any more questions, call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!