8 Tips to Make Bathing Less Scary for Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's Care in Yuba City CA

Alzheimer’s Care in Yuba City CA

Bathing is a huge part of everyday life and personal hygiene, but for people who have Alzheimer’s disease, bathing can be incredibly scary and anxiety-inducing. The sensation of water on the skin, fear of falling, and more can make bathing a horrible experience for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s care providers can help seniors feel less frightened about bathing and can help family caregivers learn some tips that make bathing easier overall, too.

Establish Routines Around Bathing

Routines build consistency, which is really important for people with Alzheimer’s disease. These routines help to reduce anxiety and they keep seniors prepared for what happens next. In the case of bathing, seniors may not know exactly what day it is, but the steps of their daily and weekly routines help them to know that it’s time for bathing to happen.

Keep the Environment Calm

The calmer the environment is when bathing, the easier it is for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease to relax into the task. Minimizing clutter and distractions can be the first step in creating the right space. It’s also a good idea to use aromatherapy-inspired scents like lavender or chamomile to help create a soothing environment.

Don’t Assume About Temperatures

Older adults, especially ones with Alzheimer’s disease, may be more sensitive to temperature than family caregivers realize. It’s best not to assume about water temperature or even room temperature and to check in with seniors and make sure that the water and the room are as comfortable as possible. Home care providers can help family caregivers learn how to watch for cues and signs that help with this.

Offer Lots of Reassurance and Encouragement

Reassurance and encouragement are tremendously helpful for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Gentle tones and plenty of support help seniors to feel supported and safe, especially when they’re anxious. Trust is crucial for activities like bathing and seniors with Alzheimer’s disease may have more trouble trusting that they’re truly safe in the bathtub.

Offer Lots of Control and Choices

As Alzheimer’s disease worsens, seniors often find that they have fewer choices and a lot less control over what happens. That’s why it’s so important for elder care providers and family caregivers to offer as much choice as they can. Allowing seniors to choose bath products, towels, and clothing goes a long way toward helping them to feel comfortable and heard.

Use Visual Cues and Keep Instructions Simple

Processing complicated instructions is a lot more difficult with Alzheimer’s disease. That’s why it’s crucial for everyone involved to keep instructions simple and to use visual cues along with verbal instructions whenever possible. Breaking down tasks helps to simplify communication and improve comprehension.

Prioritize Safety and Comfort

Safety and comfort both go a long way toward helping seniors with Alzheimer’s disease to feel secure during bathing. Prioritizing safety devices like grab bars, non-slip mats, and shower chairs helps a lot. Home care providers helping with the mechanics of bathing also helps seniors to be safer.

Celebrate Success

When seniors do experience success with bathing and related activities, it’s important to celebrate. Encouragement and praise go a long way toward building positive feelings around bathing. These small celebrations create positive associations that make it easier for seniors to cooperate with the same tasks in the future.

Bathing is a complicated task for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. Working with Alzheimer’s care providers to find the right routine and techniques to make bathing both safe and enjoyable can help keep it from being a scary task.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Alzheimer’s care in Yuba City, CA, talk to the caring staff at Partners in Care today. Serving El Dorado, Nevada, Yuba, Sutter, Sacramento, Placer, Butte, Glenn, Yolo, and Colusa Counties! Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (530) 268-7423.

Shaun Clinkinbeard