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Living With Alzheimer's >> Day-To-Day Issues | 04.24.15

Bathing: helping with an essential part of life.

The loss of cognitive abilities, along with the advanced age of many people with Alzheimer’s makes bathing without assistance a challenge. Since bathing is one of the hallmarks of personal independence and bodily intimacy, it can be embarrassing and stressful for both parties when aid is required.

How should you respond?

As a caregiver, you should make every effort to make the person with dementia feel as comfortable as possible by respecting their privacy and dignity. Make sure your bathroom is equipped with appropriate assistive devices to assure bathing is a safe experience, especially when accommodating an older person who might also be experiencing physical infirmities.

If the person with dementia is a parent of the caregiver, helping with bathing can seem like a particularly embarrassing duty. In these cases, it might help to remember that this is something that your parent, many years ago, gladly did for you when you were a child. The roles may now be reversed, but now you have an opportunity to repay the love and attention your parent once bestowed on you.

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