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Insight as to why showers cause anxiety?
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 9:31 PM
Joined: 2/3/2018
Posts: 232

My mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia 7 years ago. The last 6-months she has become fearful, angry, combative about taking showers, and once we do get her in one she cries or cusses - clearly extremely stressed. We can find loads of advice on how to minimize her stress, some which sort of work for her, some that do not, but it's all advice from caregivers. So I would like to ask this community, as you are experiencing dementia first-hand and know more than we do:

  • Can you give me any insight as to what is causing so much stress around showering?
  •  Do you also have this issue?
  •  If so, what are your triggers when bathing/showering?
  •  What, if anything, de-stresses you?

Any personal experience you can share that would give me some insight into her thoughts would be most welcome. Thank you.

Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:11 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 15632

Thank you for asking.  Your mom probably feels disoriented and unsteady in the shower, especially if she has to close her eyes from the water spray.  A few suggestions:

Make sure the bathroom is very warm and comfortable.

Use a flexible shower hose so that water does not get in her face.

Seat her in a sturdy shower chair.

Dry her quickly.

Dress her in warm pajamas or other clothing.

Make use of adult wipes as needed.

This is all I can think of now. Others may have more suggestions.


Iris L.

Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 10:08 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 6863

Iris, as always, has some very good ideas.


I doubt that PD having these probles woud be posting on this site. Those days are gone.


In addition to what Iris wrote.


Figure out the best time of day.
Don't ask, just lead her in.


Have clothes ready. Don't ask what she wants to wear. If you do wat her to have a choice, let it be between two outfits.


Sometimes covering mirrors helps.


One does not need to bathe daily.
Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 10:50 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2113

 She may also may not like being seen in the nude so use some type of cover to protect her from being seen when washing. Try using her hand with your hand holding on to hers to actually do the washing so you are not touching her. 

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 1:00 PM
Joined: 2/3/2018
Posts: 232

Thanks guys. We've got everything you suggested covered except a shower chair, and we have just started working on different times of the day with some success. Your input helps me know that we are on the right track, and gives me a couple of new strategies to try. Shower chair here we come!

Have a wonderful day in your neck of the woods!

~ Lickety

Agent 99
Posted: Monday, January 21, 2019 3:41 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 2142

Teepa Snow is a force in dementia care and education.  THere are many youtubes where she covers techniques for challenging caregiving tasks.  Here’s something you may find useful about bathing:

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