Bathing is one of those tasks that most adults have done on their own for quite a long time. Needing help now can be incredibly embarrassing for your senior and for the person helping her. There are ways to work through those embarrassed feelings, though.
Talk to your elderly family member about what each of you expect before you take this journey. Your senior may have some expectations about what bathing with help is going to be like and if you dash those hopes, she may have a tough time recovering. Find out now what you can do to make this experience the best that it can be and then work together to make that happen.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Talking beforehand is incredibly helpful, but you need to communicate afterward, too. Make sure that you and your senior have an ongoing conversation about what’s working and what isn’t. If you’re planning to adjust the water pressure or temperature, let her know first. This is going to help both of you to avoid being surprised during the bathing experience.
Protect Modesty as You Go
Part of what’s so embarrassing about having help bathing is that your senior is unclothed and likely feeling very exposed emotionally, too. Keeping her modesty as protected as you can really can help. Let your senior know what you’re doing as you do it and use washcloths and towels in such a way that she’s covered when and where she wants to be during the bath itself. This can go a long way toward helping her to relax.
Put Yourself in Your Senior’s Shoes
Try to imagine what this would be like from your own perspective. If you can do that, it’s a lot easier to do whatever you can to meet your senior’s needs. It’s also a lot easier to see what you can do that helps your elderly family member to feel calmer and more relaxed about having help with bathing. When you’re more compassionate about the ways you’re helping your senior, that enables you to help her even more.
If your aging family member needs help bathing, you and she may decide together that someone else would be better suited to give her that help. That’s when elder care providers may be the better choice. They can help your senior in a way that can be less embarrassing for her.