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Living with dementia: showering and bathing

Dementia is a progressive disease which increasingly makes it difficult for individuals to do things for themselves. One common frustration of people with dementia is having to get help with personal care like showering or bathing. It’s upsetting to need help from a family member for something so intimate. However, personal hygiene isn’t just about smelling nice – it’s very important for both physical and emotional health.

Safe Bathing – Small adjustments, big difference

It’s not uncommon for a person with dementia to become resistant to bathing. The reliance on others can be frustrating and demoralising but small adjustments can make it safe and reassuring to bathe. It’s important to encourage people to do as much as they can themselves, but there are also some practical steps a carer can implement.

For example, adding thermostatic controls to showers or bath taps can prevent burns if the water temperature becomes too hot, and something as simple as non-slip mats and grab rails will offer security from falls.

In dementia care, it’s important to keep the daily routine as familiar and comfortable as possible. The Alzheimer’s Society has these suggestions:

  1. Would the person benefit from professional help?
  2. Would they feel less awkward with someone of the same gender or background?
  3. Where do they prefer to get undressed?
  4. Do they prefer a bath or a shower?
  5. What toiletries do they like?
Living with dementia: showering and bathing

Keeping safe while washing

Nationwide Mobility has a number of bathing options to help people living with dementia maintain personal hygiene.

Safe bathing

Walk-in baths are designed carefully to reduce the risk of accidents. The door in the side of the bath allows for low-level, easy access and are fitted with a number of safety features such as powered seats and grab poles. Single lever mixer taps, which are easier for people with dementia to use, are usually installed to our baths and showers.

Safe showering

A walk-in shower is also a great choice for people with dementia or for those with limited mobility. All Nationwide Mobility showers have low thresholds making it easy to enter and exit. Built-in seating or grab rails can be installed to provide a stress-free bathing experience. Shower chairs can be useful if a carer is giving a sponge bath as it allows the person to sit comfortably and safely while being washed.

If you’d like to find out more about living with dementia: showering and bathing plus modifications that can be done to your bathroom, please call our customer services team for a no obligation, friendly chat. Free phone: 0800 316 0116.

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