How to Bathe an Elderly Loved One With Alzheimer’s Disease

Elderly Care in Cananadaigua NYElderly Care in Canandaigua, NY – Bathing a Senior with Alzheimer’s Can Be a Struggle, But it Doesn’t Have to Be

Many elderly people tend to want to bathe less as they get older. Taking a bath or shower just doesn’t seem as fun or necessary as it was when they were younger. As a family caregiver, one of the important things you’ll be doing is bathing him or her. This is generally not an easy task, especially if your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease causes confusion and memory issues, which can cause your senior to experience fear and denial in the bathtub. Fortunately, there are things that caregivers can do to get their loved ones in the bathroom without too much drama.

Make it Safe and Comfortable

Many seniors fear bathing because it’s just not comfortable. Sometimes bathrooms tend to run too cold, so it’s a good idea to warm it up beforehand. If your client prefers showers, install grab bars and purchase a shower seat.

No Surprises

Alzheimer’s clients are often fearful of bathing because they are confused and don’t know what will happen next. Alleviate this fear by describing every action you are about to take. For example, tell him or her you are about to wash the facial area, arms or other body part. Keep your voice low and avoid surprises.

Try to Make it Fun

Make bathtime fun by connecting it to something your elderly loved one enjoys. For example, tell her to take a bath so you two can go shopping or out to lunch. Use a happy, excited voice that will get your client excited as well.

Use Sponge Baths

If you absolutely cannot convince your loved one to get into the shower or tub, try a sponge bath. Get a wet washcloth and try to get as much of his or body clean as possible. Focus on the face, neck and arms. You can also get their hair clean by using dry shampoo. Just spray it in the hair and it’ll stay clean and fresh for a few extra days.


Don’t focus on a bath every day or even every other day. Try to keep your standards low. Cleanliness is important for good health, but it’s important to keep your loved one’s comfort in mind as well. Try not to associate a bath with torture. Instead, find a middle ground that both you and your loved one are comfortable with, and don’t stress about it too much.

If you have a loved one who could benefit from the help of elderly care in Canandaigua, NY contact the caregivers at Caring Hearts of Rochester, LLC. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care service. Call (585) 245-0134 for more information.