5 Steps to Take if Your Aging Parent Refuses to Bathe

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Personal hygiene is an essential part of good health, so if your aging loved one stops bathing, you should take it as a signal you need to step in. To help your loved one get back on track, take these five steps that address the most common reasons seniors refuse to bathe. 


1. Approach the Issue with Compassion

Seeing your parent in a state of disarray may cause you to feel negative emotions such as fear, guilt, and frustration. However, you shouldn’t take your feelings out on your loved one, and making him or her feel ashamed won’t help the situation. 

You can take a compassionate approach by taking a few minutes to calm down before you talk to your loved one. Remember that most people prefer to be clean, and there’s likely a good reason your loved one won’t bathe. 


2. Understand the Most Common Reasons Seniors Stop Bathing

For most people, personal hygiene is a sensitive topic, and your loved one may be afraid to tell you he or she is having difficulty taking a bath and washing his or her hair. You have a better chance of having a meaningful dialogue with your parent if you already know some of the most common reasons aging adults stop bathing. 

Often, seniors stop taking care of their personal hygiene because they’re afraid of falling and getting injured. Alternatively, your loved one may simply be forgetting to bathe or may feel his or her appearance is no longer important. 


3. Address the Fear of Falling

One of the easiest things you can do is add features to your loved one’s bathroom that reduce the risk of falling. For example, you can add grab bars along the side of the bathtub and inside the shower. You can also put slip-resistant mats in the bathtub and on the floor. If it’s financially feasible, putting in a walk-in tub or shower can mitigate your loved one’s fear of having to step over the side of a bathtub. 

Some older adults may require assistance with daily tasks such as bathing. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Reston, live-in care is available around the clock if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.


4. Consider Physical Challenges

Seniors with arthritis may find it difficult to accomplish the steps required to get completely clean. For example, your loved one may not be able to stretch his or her arms high enough to give his or her hair a good scrub with shampoo. If your loved one experiences vertigo, he or she may not feel safe closing his or her eyes to keep soap out of them in the shower. Offer to help your loved one with the challenging parts of his or her bathing routine. 

If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a trusted provider of in-home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.


5. Provide a Reason to Get Dressed Up

After you’ve addressed the physical reasons your loved one refuses to bathe, it’s time to tap into his or her emotions. Your loved one needs a payoff for putting in the effort to get clean, and having visitors is a great reason to get dressed up. 

Make sure someone stops by to see your loved one a few times a week. You’ll quickly notice a change in his or her attitude along with a cleaner appearance. 

Some seniors need encouragement to maintain their personal hygiene. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Reston families can trust. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. Assisting Hands Home Care can be your trusted partner in caregiving for your aging loved one. Contact one of our experienced Care Specialists today to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.