Showering: Aging can pose new challenges with things that used to be easy.
Stepping over the side of a tub to get into the shower can be tough if arthritis is present. Keeping one’s balance while standing on slippery tiles or floors is also hard.
Are your parents showering correctly? Are they showering often enough? Here are some of the mistakes older adults make when it comes to bathing and personal care.
Failing to Have the Equipment They Need
If your mom or dad can’t stand for long, a shower seat with suction feet is ideal. The feet hold it in place while your parent showers.
A long-handled brush or sponge will make it easier to reach the back or feet. A soft washcloth is also important as it’s gentle on aging skin.
Choosing the Wrong Soap
Ideally, your parents want to pick a soap that has very few ingredients. Goat’s milk soap, shea butter, coconut oil, or one made with olive oil is better than one that uses a lot of chemicals or fragrance.
Once they’re done soaping their skin, they need to rinse thoroughly. Any remaining residue will be drying and may even irritate the skin.
Forgetting to Moisturize
Once they’re done with their showers, your parents need to dry their skin. Some moisturizing products are designed to go on when the skin’s still wet. Check the instructions on your parents’ favorite products.
They could keep things simple and use coconut oil or almond oil to moisturize their skin. If they use these oils, they need to remember that a little goes a long way.
Your parents shouldn’t get dressed until the skin is dry. Trapped moisture can lead to irritation or infection. Moisture between the toes can cause the skin to dry out and crack, which may impact your parents’ mobility.
Using Water That’s Too Hot
Hot water may feel good on a cold winter’s day, but it dries the skin. If it’s too hot, it could scald the skin. Ideally, you don’t want the shower water to be hotter than 112 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some showerheads have built-in thermometers to alert you to water that’s too hot or too cold. They’re not expensive, so it may be a good upgrade from the current showerhead.
Turning down the water heater so that it’s no higher than 120 degrees is also helpful. Most are factory set at 140 degrees. If you see your parents’ water heater is set too high, turn it down.
If you’re worried that your parents aren’t taking care of their skin and hair during a shower, talk to them about it. They may simply need help choosing better skincare products. They may need help reaching areas of the body like the feet. A senior care aide can help them with that.
Once you’ve discussed showering and personal care, talk to a senior care agency to make arrangements. Your parents may not need daily care, but even a few days a week can make a difference.