Do you know a Senior who won't bathe or maintain personal hygiene? Do you know a senior who won't bathe? If you are finding that your elderly parent is refusing to shower or change clothes, you are not alone. It is not uncommon that some elders refuse to shower or wear clean clothes. Why?

There are several reasons that your elder may be refusing appropriately manage their personal care. Some of the most common reasons include:

  1. Depression. If your parent is no longer is interested in their personal care and hygiene, it is prudent to consider depression. Depression may not always be obvious to a concerned family member. So it is best to ensure your elder has a check-up with their family doctor. This is especially true where low energy and a failure to care about anything is an issue. Learn how Certified Therapy Dogs can help with depression.
  2. Decreased Sense of Sight and Smell. It is no secret that, as people age, their senses decline. This is equally true for the senses of sight and smell. Your elder may not notice foul smells on themselves or their spouse. Remember, their senses are not as acute as yours or as acute as their own senses once were. When this happens, personal care often declines.
  3. Loss of Control. Elderly persons often feel they are losing control over their lives, their abilities, and their activities. The more they are ‘nagged’, the more they may resist…simply to maintain some sense of control.
  4. Failing Memory. Simply, your parent may be forgetting to attend to personal care issues such as showering. Marking ‘showering days’ on a calendar is often all it takes to remind your parent to shower.
  5. Fear and Discomfort. Your parent may be avoiding personal care issues such as showers, because there is a fear of slipping and falling. In addition, often there is discomfort or pain when trying to enter and exit the tub. Elders suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia have special cognitive challenges. They may not understand why water is running on them and may fear drowning. They often just don’t understand what you are trying to do for them.

Helping a senior who won't bathe

So, what can you do for a senior who won’t bathe or attend to their own personal care?

Patience and understanding will go a long way. Have a discussion with your parent, if your parent is capable. Your parent may know that he or she needs help with showering, but is too modest or embarrassed to ask. Elders can be exceptionally modest and may not want a family member helping them bath. Grab bars, shower seats, or other assistive devices may be all your parent needs to maintain independence in personal care.

Sometimes it is simply too difficult to manage your parent’s personal care on your own, including bathing. When can you do? Consider hiring an agency to provide a personal support / home health worker to assist or take over the task. Home health workers, including personal support workers, are experienced with showering and bathing elders. They will rely on their training and experience to encourage showering and personal care. They most often have success when they attend regularly and at regular times. Having a consistent caregiver / personal support worker to assist with bathing and personal care is the key to success.

Do you know a senior who won't bathe?

Having a Personal Support worker go to a seniors home is often a lot more affordable than people think. For more information about getting help with your parent’s personal care, contact Simcoe Senior Services at 705-719-9000.