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Senior Bathing Do's and Don’ts

Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 5:40PM

Senior Bathing Do's and Don’ts


Bathing can often be a source of contention between family caregivers and their senior loved one. While some caregivers recommend bathing each day to keep a regular and constant routine, a daily bath is actually not necessary to keep in good health. It is common for seniors to resist bathing and for some it can even be scary or a cause of discomfort. Some seniors simply forget to take a shower, letting the days slip by without noticing. Others use bathing as a means of control, and to hold onto having power over something. Whatever the reason, it is important to clean regularly to avoid health concerns such as skin infections, urinary tract infections, itchy skin, and body odor. Daily Caring, one of the top resources for caregivers, recommends a shower or bath a minimum of once or twice a week for proper hygiene. Here are some bathing do’s and don’ts that will take the stress and tension out of bath time for both the caregiver and their senior loved one.


  • Use a warm washcloth or wet wipes to clean on days when the senior is not taking a full bath
  • Remove rugs and bath mats to avoid tripping
  • Warm up the room first and test the water temperature
  • Make bath time a pleasant experience- try playing soothing music and dimming the room to make it more of a “spa” experience
  • Use a hand-help shower head
  • Use a towel to cover areas that are not being washed to help them feel less exposed
  • Have a casual attitude and think of conversation starters ahead of time to help provide a distraction
  • Use special outings such as church on Sundays or a Wednesday lunch date to provide an incentive for your loved one to bathe and get cleaned up
  • Talk to your loved one about any bathing fears and consult with their doctor for advice if bathing is uncomfortable



  • Rely solely on the tub- sponge baths can be just as affective for seniors with limited mobility or a fear of the falling in the shower
  • Take it personally if your older adult refuses to let a family member aid in bathing. It may be helpful to bring in a home health care worker to help.
  • Ignore common bathroom safety risks. Install grab bars or railings, place nonslip stickers on the tub, and use a shower chair to help reduce the risk of falls.
  • Rush through bath time. Start slowing by simply telling what part you are going to wash ahead of time. Don’t push them if they want to stop.
  • Go into bath time unprepared. Have towels, washcloths, soap, and clothes ready ahead of time.
  • Nag or argue with your loved one over bathing schedules. Set up a routine for bathing and leave reminders on a calendar or post-it notes in the bathroom.

Stayed tuned to the County Health Care Guide Blog to learn more about assisted-living, senior care, senior placement, and important senior news in Volusia County. From Daytona to Port Orange to New Smyrna Beach, the County Health Care Guide is the only resource you need.

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