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What to look for?

Bathing | Common Signs

  • Only bathes if reminded or told to do so
  • Does not bathe regularly, even with prompting
  • Only bathes if the bath/shower is drawn for them
  • Has difficulty turning on taps, setting water temperature
  • Requires assistance getting into and out of the bath or shower
  • Does not use soap or wash well in the bath or shower
  • Washes parts of the body and not entire body
  • Requires assistance or instruction to wash during bath or shower
  • Requires supervisions while bathing or showering (is unsafe to be left unattended)
  • Resists assistance with bathing or showering
  • Sponge bathes, will not get into the tub or shower
 
Bathing | General Description

As Alzheimer's disease progresses, the person you care for may have increasing difficulties with bathing. A common early sign is needing to be prompted to bathe. The person you care for may be able to bathe but they may require prompting to do so. If they can bathe, they may need assistance in order to thoroughly clean their whole body. The person you care for may resist bathing due to the lack of privacy and loss of independence or because of feelings of vulnerability without their clothes on. Additionally, they may worry about falling or slipping in the tub. This can be a real worry, especially if the dementia makes the person more prone to fall, as is common with Lewy Body dementia, or with any dementia in the moderate stage. Sometimes overcoming the resistance to bathing is as simple as ensuring that the bath time is appropriate, that the water temperature is comfortable, and that the person's privacy is respected.

Persons with Frontotemporal dementia often exhibit a decrease in attention to their personal appearance and will require cueing to bathe. Even so, the person with Frontotemporal dementia might resist the suggestion, as they truly do not see the need. In these circumstances, caregivers should decide if the need for a bath is necessary for hygiene purposes or simply a habitual task they believe should be performed on a daily bases. This is just one of many examples of learning to pick your battles carefully.

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See Also:
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Judgment
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Disorientation to Time
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Last updated September 13, 2017
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