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I Have Alzheimer’s or Another Dementia
Insight as to why showers cause anxiety?
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:
Any personal experience you can share that would give me some insight into her thoughts would be most welcome. Thank you.
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.
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.
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!
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: