Bathing is an essential part of life. Seniors require bathing, and sometimes that bath is performed as the person sits on a shower seat. Shower seats are stable and provide a place for seniors to sit down, instead of having to hold their own weight while bathing. It is important to remember that seniors may get embarrassed asking a caregiver to help with a bath. Try to be supportive during the process and make it as comfortable as possible for the senior.
Make sure the senior has a firm and strong handle to grasp hold of in the tub. Getting up and down from the shower seat may sometimes pose a challenge. Be close by to lend a hand if help is needed. Plan ahead and organize all necessary items, such as soap and shampoo nearby within easy reach.
Place a non-slip mat in the bottom of the shower or tub before setting down the shower seat. Make sure a clean mat is also available for when the senior steps out of the bath. Seniors can easily slip on tub and shower bottoms especially when there is a soapy build up. Be sure the shower curtain is out of the way and will not get caught in a leg of the bath seat.
Help the senior into the tub and assist the person as they get comfortable on the shower seat. Provide a washcloth and help the senior wash their face, neck, shoulders and back. Wash the underarms thoroughly and between any flaps or folds of skin on the senior’s body. Ask the person to grasp a lift bar on the side of the tub while washing underarms and the sides of their body.
Lift the senior’s leg gently as you wash the feet, ankles, calves and thighs. Be sure to clean between the toes. Rinse the washcloth out and apply more soap to it. Offer to let the person wash in places where they may be too embarrassed to ask for help. If the person prefers help, ask them to lean forward and to the side to where you can reach quickly and efficiently. Rinse thoroughly.
Let the water out of the tub before drying the senior. Drape a fresh towel around the person’s shoulders and dry the body with another. Be gentle, yet make sure the skin is thoroughly dry. Offer a chair or lead the person to a bed to finish the drying process. Seniors may be too tired or frail to stand for an extended period of time.