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How Often Should The Elderly Bathe/Shower?

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Frequency Of Bathing For Elderly

When it comes to personal care, we all naturally want to maintain our hygiene. Many people tend to have a bath or shower at the start of the day or just before settling down to sleep. However, with age, it can become a struggle to bathe or shower daily. This may be due to mobility or simply not having enough energy. But for the elderly, having a shower once or twice a week is sufficient to keep skin conditions and infections at bay.

At Helping Hands, we have been providing elderly care for more than 30 years, so our customers can live independently and comfortably in their own homes. Our private carers provide help so our customers can continue to live the way they wish. They assist with household chores, cooking and even personal care. This means they can support with bathing and personal hygiene, without having to compromise your independence and dignity.


It Doesn't Have To Be Everyday

Showering or bathing too often can strip the skin of natural oils and dry out the skin. At times it can lead to itchy and flaky skin – which can cause infections. Therefore, it’s okay for the elderly to just bathe once or twice a week.

If you are caring for a loved one and they are struggling to shower themselves, you may have to step in to provide them with the help they need. We understand it can be difficult at times, as your loved one may refuse to have a bath, or perhaps, they are living with dementia and may feel uncomfortable or have a fear of water. Therefore, not having to bathe them every day may make it easier for you both.

However, if it does get difficult, there are ways to make the process easier and more comfortable. While bathing, make sure you consistently communicate and reassure your loved one. It may be a good idea to talk to them through each step you take as they’ll be aware of what’s happening. Or you can even opt to keep them clean via a sponge bath or a bed bath. This is an effective way to keep your loved one clean, especially if they have difficulty bathing themselves or are living with a complex condition.


It Doesn't Always Need To Be A Shower Or A Bath

It’s essential to keep clean to protect your loved one’s skin and prevent infections, but if you find that your loved one is unable to bathe due to mobility or other reasons, you can give them a sponge bath or bed bath. This method is usually used if they can’t get out of bed, or to help them keep fresh and feel good about themselves, in between their showers and baths.

All you need is a sponge or a flannel and a basin of warm water. Your loved one can use the sponge to clean themselves as much as they can, and you can assist them with the areas they find difficult to clean. This allows you to continue to promote their independence and confidence. It will also give you a chance to check for any infections or pressure sores they may have.


Careful Personal Care Prevents Potential UTIs

A urinary tract infection (UTIs) is a common infection in older adults. It can cause confusion, physical discomfort and if left untreated can cause serious health risks.

There are many ways to prevent UTIs, such as staying hydrated and avoiding caffeine. However, one of the main ways to prevent UTIs is through careful personal care. For example: if your loved one wears an incontinence pad , make sure you change them regularly to avoid any infection. Also, after every bowel movement, it is important to wipe your genital area front to back to prevent bacteria from spreading. If you do suspect your loved one has a UTI, it is best to get in contact with your GP.


Arrange Elderly Bathing Support With Helping Hands

At Helping Hands, we have been providing care at home since 1989. All our carers are fully trained to provide exceptional care so our customers can live comfortably and independently in their own homes. Our compassionate and friendly carers can help assist you the way you want – all on your terms. They can help with personal care and assist with bathing and showering your loved one. So, whether they want a bit of privacy or just assistance with passing the soap or washing their hair, we will promise to make them feel comfortable and not pressure them to do anything they aren’t happy with.

As we are fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission and the Care Inspectorate Wales, you can rest assured that you will receive the very best care, you deserve.

If you would like to arrange visiting care or live-in care for yourself or your loved one, please get in touch with our friendly customer care advisors today. Alternatively, you can contact us via our website to request a callback. If you prefer, you can contact your local Helping Hands branch and speak to someone face to face.


Page reviewed by Carole Kerton-Church, Regional Clinical Lead on April 4, 2022

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