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Bathing, due to its level of physical activity, can be especially challenging. To help reduce anxiety and the risk of falls, as a caregiver it’s prudent to create a plan for when you will bathe or assist your family member.

Step 1 - Prepare the Bathtub Area

  • Make sure the bathing area is safe and free of clutter and tripping hazards
  • Place all necessary bathing supplies within easy reach, and have a towel, bathrobe, and fresh clothing ready.
  • Check the water temperature of the bath or shower before they get in.
Bathing Supplies

Step 2 - Set and Manage Expectations

  • Create a relaxed setting, reducing distractions and maintaining a calm, casual attitude with the person you’re bathing
  • Assess if there will be any resistance to bathing.
  • Find the method of bathing that is most comfortable for them and keep them covered and warm until entering the bath/shower.

Step 3 - Bathing Process

  • Be casual and methodical allowing them to wash what they can on their own.
  • Thoroughly examine a person’s skin for rashes, irritation, or more serious damage.
  • Wash skin thoroughly.
  • Keep your family members informed of what you’re doing.
  • Have everything — towels, a robe, and/or fresh clothes — ready and nearby before you start bathing so you can transition straight to getting dressed.

Step 4 - End the Bathing Routine on a Positive Note

  • Once dried off and dressed, reinforce the “positivity” of what you just did together.
  • Offer your loved one a snack, favorite activity, or rest.

Step 4 - Maintain Other Hygiene Routines

  • Assist with other personal hygiene routines, such as brushing teeth, clipping finger- and toenails, and washing hair.
  • Have a long, thick toothbrush that is easy to grip.
  • Clip/trim nails after bathing, when the nails are softer.
  • Use dry shampoo to reduce oil buildup between wet washes.