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My Aging Parent Won’t Bathe–Now What?

By Lauren Robison, 9:00 am on

Talking to your parent about bathing can feel like a major role reversal, and it can also be a very sensitive topic to broach. While it may be frustrating when your parent won’t bathe, there is likely a reason behind their refusal that is going unvoiced. Tapping into the underlying reason can give you insight into how you can move forward. Here are a few tips, from experienced New Hampshire live-in caregivers.

Bathing Is Uncomfortable

Seniors have many changes going on with their health that may make bathing less enjoyable than it was in the past. For example, arthritis may make it painful to bathe. Seniors also tend to have more sensitive skin, and it’s possible that the water temperature is too hot or cold. Talk to your parent about any discomfort they may feel when they bathe. Eliminating these problems could get them back on track.

It’s a Power Struggle

When an adult child takes over caregiving duties, power struggles sometimes follow. This is especially common when your aging parent feels as though they are losing their independence. Instead of getting into an argument, try this strategy. Ask a friend or family member that your parent loves to give them a call and invite them to dress up for a nice lunch together. Sometimes, a little outside motivation is all it takes.

They’re Afraid of Falling

The mixture of water and slippery surfaces can be terrifying to older adults. Fortunately, this is an easy fix. Add non-skid mats and rugs to the floor and bottom of the shower. Then, install grab bars and handrails near the bathtub. It can also be helpful to place everything your parent needs to bathe within easy reach so they can reduce the amount of bending they have to do.

It’s Embarrassing to Have Help

Having help bathing can violate a senior’s sense of privacy. Yet, sometimes it is necessary for their safety. If your loved one has stopped bathing since you started to help, then reach out to a home care agency in New Hampshire and hire a professional caregiver to assist with the task, which can remove the personal nature of having help.