How to Inspire a Dementia Patient to Shower  (Podcast Health) Advocate

How to Inspire a Dementia Patient to Shower (Podcast Health) Advocate

How to Inspire a Dementia Patient to Shower how to inspire a dementia patient to
shower getting an Alzheimer’s patient to shower can be difficult in order to
accomplish this mission you will need to learn how to be a guide how to use
bright light and how to use positive reinforcement thousands of caregivers
and dementia professionals have used these techniques and they work my name
is Bob DeMarco I’m the founder of the Alzheimer’s reading room in this podcast
I am going to walk you through the three important steps you need to take to get
a person living with dementia to take a shower this includes the use of positive
reinforcement the importance of bright light sometimes singing and how to get
your loved one right into the shower my mother usually resisted when I asked her
to take a shower for years this happened to me when she occasionally said
something other than no I looked up to the heavens as if it was a reward it
took me quite a long time to figure out what to do and how to properly properly
motivate her so that she would take a shower without resistance step one
constant positive reinforcement about the appositive effects of being cleaned
my mother would usually take her shower around 3:00 in the afternoon I gave up
trying to get her to take her shower in the morning because she just wouldn’t do
it this is something you should consider if things aren’t working maybe there’s a
better time of day during the course of the day I would start setting the stage
for the shower early in the morning and throughout the day an hour before a
shower I would take my shower and then I come out with my head still wet and my
face clean-shaven and started strolling how great it is to be clean I would get
my mother to touch my face and show her how smooth it was nonverbal
communication really works well with dementia patients as my mom was touching
my face I would say smooth a few times eventually she would say smooth or
something like smooth as a baby’s butt she did not use the word but this would
give both of us a good laugh and that really
that’s up a good tone for what you’re trying to accomplish I would also get
her to touch my wet hair then I would say clean I would say clean a few times
as she touched it eventually she would say clean she’d repeat it back to me I
will then tell her how great it felt to be clean positive reinforcements about
the virtues of being all nice and clean please note this was designed to fix the
idea of a shower in her brain all this was designed to set the stage
for Dottie shower that was coming soon I was trying to set a pattern leading up
to the shower and then a specific pattern when it came time to take the
shower establishing power patterns is one of the only ways I discovered that
works well when it comes to establishing consistent consistent behavior with
someone living with Alzheimer’s disease I am convinced that trying to do the
same thing at the same time every day is very helpful and Alzheimer’s caregiving
give this some thought step 2 prior to the shower I tried to
make sure my mother was sitting in bright light
that’s right bright light I would sit her next to a window in the kitchen
usually did the trick I learned that bright light can be mood honoring when
used effectively with dementia patients put it this way bright light bright mom
before shower time I always talk to and engage my mother I would have resisted
temptation sneak up on my mother and then announce time to take a shower this
didn’t work and it never worked for me singing can be a good way of engaging a
dementia patient and getting their intention I learned my mother was always
going to sing shine on harvest moon it became even easier after we obtained our
repeat pirate Harvey now the three of us could sing together
this usually delighted Dottie I understand that Alzheimer’s patients
often say no when asked to take shower sometimes my brother would say I already
took my shower I don’t need a shower this was amusing most of the time
because she was still sitting in her pajamas I bet something like that is
happening to you flow to live by correct and Alzheimer’s patient if they
say they already took a shower rule to live by never try to explain to them the
importance of taking a shower is good hygiene blah blah blah blah blah don’t
do it ever hear the saying loose lips sink ships
well explanations and lots of words will sink your caregiving effort every time
step 3 when it comes time to take a shower think of yourself as a guide a
guide you are going to guide your loved one to the shower by taking your hand of
course you will already have given them a nice smile and received a nice smile
back before you start to take action the weapons in your caregiver Arsenal to
smile your hand and the most important of them all positive reinforcement here
is one simple way to get someone living with Alzheimer’s to take a shower in my
opinion I learned this as a freshman in college in psychology 101 let’s call
this Pavlov’s dog in the shower how to use the zinger the shower must always
lead to something the dementia patient once or enjoys in the case of Pavlov’s
dogs they rang a bell when the dogs would eat eventually they would ring the
bell and the dogs would salivate this is known as conditioned response give this
some thought think about it when I got my mom up for
the shower I would say a word I would stick I wouldn’t say a word I would
stick my hand out and wait for her to take it and away we would go when she
asked where we’re rebelling I would hold our hand and walk her towards the
bathroom at this point I fire in the zinger after you take your shower you
will get a nice snack mom use as few words as possible I usually told my mom
potato chips because they were her favorite positive reinforcement before
the shower big positive reinforcement after the shower for many of you ice
cream or chocolate should do the trick work with what works best for you
I turn on the shower I put my mother’s clean bra and panties on the sink this
was designed so that when she got out of the shower I could keep her pudding or
undergarments on as long as possible I put her towel in the sink
I handed her washcloth and I told her to make sure she gets all the stinky parts
you can figure out what word you want to use for that one you also use the word
gnarly then I close the bathroom door I leave a crack so I can peek in we have a
glass shower she gets in I checked to see how she’s doing
sometimes I have to whisper through the door get the gnarly parts most of the
time it went well in the beginning my mother was pretty good at cleaning
everything except her legs and feet and I had to get involved in that most
dementia patients have a problem since their elderly bending over you got to
take good care of the legs I have to pay attention to it so I would make sure
that I would really clean her legs really well once or twice a week I want
to put in here as the DS disease progressed I had to give dotty her
shower but I used the same approach to get her to do to take the shower and I
let her wash as much of herself as she could always encourage dementia patient
to work with you two points here one mom gets the positive reinforcement after
every shower the rewards so to speak the potato chips are ice cream – I involved
with mom all the way I don’t say you need a shower and and wait for her to go
take a shower I don’t go blah blah blah about the shower I sister right up to
the door of the shower you have to be actively involved with the person living
with Alzheimer’s and everything they do once you get the hang of being actively
involved you will find and learn that it gets easier to guide your loved one and
to get them to do what you would like them to do I’m going to say that again
it gets easier to guide your loved one and get them to do what you would like
them to do here’s a few more items resist the temptation to be a parent you
are dealing with an adult with dementia not a child resist the temptation to be
the boss instead be a guide and lead with a smile and your hand palm turned
up offer your hand to your loved one always think positive and endeavor to
find new and better ways to introduce positive reinforcement
into the occasion give it some thought if you want your loved one to take a
shower every day establish a pattern make sure the communication and activity
leading up to the shower a positive and that you are engaged with the patient
before guiding them after the shower be so happy you can see straight that may
sound funny extol the virtues of being clean and how wonderful it feels make
sure the immediate aftermath of the shower is positive use potato chips ice
cream or take a trip put on some clothes go out the door take a ride in a car
make it a positive don’t worry about being so happy you can see straight by
the way once you get this technique down you we so happy won’t believe what it
feels like I assure you I went two years before I started figuring this out being
able to accomplish a mission like this one can really make you feel a lot
better don’t worry you can do it might take some practice and patience but it
will happen my name is Bob DeMarco I took care of my mother dotty for eight
and a half years 3112 days I understand how caregivers feel if you have not done
so join thirty four thousand six hundred and fifty one readers who are already
subscribing to the Alzheimer’s reading room this is a free service be first to
get notified about our new articles we have five thousand articles on in the
Alzheimer’s reading room bottom line we help caregivers live a better life I
know what that means I was one if you listen to this podcast
on youtube look in the notes below the video for the following links five tips
how to get an Alzheimer’s patient to shower the importance of bright light in
dementia care dementia care meet meanness with kindness changing patterns
of behavior and dementia patients how the smile is a powerful communication
tool in dementia care and how to search the Alzheimer reading room for answers
to your questions and solutions to the problems there are additional links you
also find the direct link to the article version of this pot
guests which includes all the additional links

10 thoughts on “How to Inspire a Dementia Patient to Shower (Podcast Health) Advocate

  1. Thank you so much Bob. I can see my husband less and less interested in showering. I will use your suggestions and always SMILE!!

  2. It was wonderful listening to your talk. It's been 4 years I'm 24/7 care giver to my Mom. Showering is a problem, thank you.

  3. thank you for sharing your technique so thoroughly.. your Mom is blessed to have you as her loving son.. God bless you

  4. I clicked because I'm an undiagnosed depressed teen. I have a hard time convincing myself to shower regularly. But I'm trying. Thanks for the tips!

  5. my father has demencia and is in a home. He sometimes becomez agressive at bath time in the morning. The caregivers often forsably mike him shower. Feel very bD about this but i understand that he can't stay with urine socked pampers all day. what can i do? He very rarely becomes agressive with me, thanks to video on utube showing técnica on dealing with dencia pacients. what can i do?

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