Regular bathing of an elderly person is important for personal hygiene. Bathing can help make a person feel better about himself, keep the skin intact and prevent the growth of bacteria and infections. If you know an elderly individual whose health or mobility is beginning to decline, there are things you can do to help promote proper hygiene and safety while showering. Offering a helping hand during the shower or modifying the shower for easier use can go a long way in helping an elderly person bathe.
Install shower bars. Place a shower bar immediately outside of the shower. Place an additional two shower bars in the shower. Shower bars will give an elderly person something to grab onto, which will make getting in and out of the shower easier.
Use a shower chair. For elderly individuals who cannot stand very long, install a shower chair. A shower chair goes directly into the shower and allows an individual to sit down as she showers.
Place a non-slip mat on the ground. A non-slip mat should be placed in the centre of the shower. This will prevent an elderly individual from sliding on soap and water.
Install a removable, hand-held shower head. A removable, hand-held shower head can make it easier for you to aid an elderly person in showering. This type of shower head may also make it easier for an elderly individual to bathe himself.
Place a step stool in front of the shower. If the shower is a bath-shower combination, the sides of the bath tub may make it difficult for an elderly person to get into the shower. Using a step stool is beneficial for elderly individuals who may have difficulty walking or moving their legs.
Gather all of the elderly person's shower supplies. Keep soap, shampoo and washcloths within reach. Place them on a shelf in the tub for easy access or on the side of the tub.
Help the elderly individual get into the shower. Allow her to hold onto one shower bar. Stand on the opposite side of her for support.
Offer as much help as the elderly individual needs. Use soap and a washcloth to help clean all the essential areas. Gently rinse the elderly person using the removable shower head. You can also use the removable shower head to help remove shampoo from hair.
Once in the shower, if an elderly person is able and insists on bathing alone, never lock the door. Be nearby just in case the elderly person needs help.