The Importance of Senior Hygiene

Senior Health Hygiene

Senior Hygiene – Showering

You may be creating a battle with your loved one over the wrong things. Here are some areas that are often cause for battle between a full-time family caregiver and a senior loved one. The reason can be anything from simple age to dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Senior Hygiene Shower/Bath Tips

Showering/Bathing – It is important to shower or bathe regularly; however, professionals say that seniors should bathe at least once a week. If bathing is a a battle for you as a caregiver there may be more behind the reason your senior loved one isn’t bathing often. Most likely it’s a matter of being afraid of a fall or heightened pain that can reduce their desire to bathe every day.


  • Being Fatigued – You can hire an in home caregiver to come twice or more a week to ensure personal hygiene is being attended to regularly. Senior hygiene may be ignored simply due to the fact that they are tired and could use assistance.
  • Fear of Falling/Slipping – Make sure that your loved one has a sturdy shower/bath chair in their tub & safety bars that are permanently drilled in (Do NOT use the suction cup bars as they are very unsafe & can come unsecured easily). Fear of slipping is often one of the biggest reasons why people reduce the number of times they bathe each week.
  • Time of Day – Often those affected by sun-downers will be more reasonable about senior hygiene in the morning or early afternoon. Choose a time of day when they are least combative and most relaxed.
  • Unexplained Fears – Fear can play a factor with senior hygiene, especially if they have dementia. They may be frightened of the water that comes directly at them from the shower head, the shower curtain may throw them off or a number of other unexplained fears may be in their mind. Try to empathize with them and work with what their fear is; sometimes simply allowing them to hold their own shower head & direct the water as they like can reduce the fears they may be having.
  • Being Cold – Seniors tend to be colder, especially during the winter season and being cold while they’re waiting for someone to come to help them or hand them items could play a part in why their senior hygiene has gone to the wayside.
  • Being Embarrassment – Needing help for something as personal as showering can cause seniors to simply stop bathing instead of seeking help. If this seems to be the case, ask for a caregiver of the same sex and make sure they remain covered with a robe and towel as long as possible.
  • Forgetfulness – Sometimes days can run together & time can be lost when you are spending your time at home too much. It could be beneficial for both of you to hire someone to come to your home & help with certain tasks on certain days; Tuesdays & Thursdays are shower days, while Friday is cleaning day.
  • Use Fresh Wipes – In place of showering every day you can allow your loved one to take care of their own senior hygiene by keeping fresh with moist wipes or baby wipes in certain areas of the body. This gives them the feeling that they are still caring for themselves and keeps them from getting dried out from too much bathing.

It is important for your loved one to keep healthy and clean. Hygiene is an important factor for all of us; however as we age our lifestyles change and so do our needs for how often and what standards are acceptable for senior hygiene habits.


Photo by stevendepolo