Keeping clean

From the August / September 2017 issue of our magazine, online community members give their tips to support somebody with washing and bathing.

It can be challenging to support someone with dementia who is reluctant to bathe or wash. As their condition progresses, the person will need more help to maintain their personal hygiene. Washing and bathing is a private and intimate activity for most of us, so it can be difficult to adjust to this.  

'Many people share experiences and hands-on advice through our online community, Talking Point.'

Needing help with everyday tasks can be very hard to accept, for both the person with dementia and their carer. However, it’s important to remember that you are not alone.

Sharing online

Many people share experiences and hands-on advice through our online community, Talking Point. Whatever challenge you are facing, the chances are there will be someone who has been in a similar situation.

Some of the specific areas that Talking Point members have supported each other with include how to respect someone’s choices while helping them to keep their dignity, encouraging someone to accept help, and maintaining a person’s independence. 

Carers’ tips

Suggestions to make things easier have included getting things ready in the bathroom before going there with the person, talking them through the steps as they are washing, and involving them in decisions as much as possible. 

Other tips range from making sure the room and water temperatures are comfortable, to helping the person hold the showerhead themselves.

After washing, wrapping a towel around the person followed by a dressing gown could help them to feel comfortable, and they may be able to dress more easily if you hold out their clothes for them as they do it.

Less alone

There are forums on Talking Point for challenges that can arise in all stages of dementia. By sharing what is happening and how it affects them, many people feel less alone and more able to deal with things. 

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