Senior citizens are aware of the relevance of hygiene to maintain a healthy life. However, the routine they kept when they were younger can be difficult to keep pace with and bath or shower times can become a struggle for everyone involved.
For some elderly people to enjoy this important daily activity, water temperatures should be warm enough to make them feel comfortable, secure and safe when they are having a bath. It has been noticed that water temperature one or two degrees higher than their body temperature has achieved this. It has also been noticed that when the temperature of the water is higher than 102 °F, the bath can become dangerous for them, especially if they have heart conditions.
Actual health issues have been identified regarding bath water temperature. Hot water (above 102°F) is not safe for bathing since it could immediately cause serious burning and subsequent infections. On the contrary, cold water can cause blood vessels to narrow, reducing the amount of circulating blood to internal organs such as the heart. If the bath water is colder than the body temperature, the body loses heat and restrictions in blood vessels are promoted. In turn, heart issues may arise.
When trying to convince an elderly who shows resistance to bathing, it is very useful to find out the reasons (if any) why the bath is being refused. Once the motives are identified, solutions could be applied in order to make bathing a pleasant activity.
Bath water should be warmed up for the elderly to have a comfortable bath. Water temperature should be verified before the elderly goes into the bath or shower. Using a bath thermometer is highly recommended. The caregiver(s) should promote that the patient tests the water himself/herself to see if it is comfortable.
The environment or bathroom where the elderly is having the bath/shower needs to be kept at approximately the same temperature when compared with the bath temperature. This is to say that a cold bathroom will cause strain in the elderly.
If the patient has mobility impairment, all the necessary devices such as transfer seat, sliding rails or platforms, wheelchairs, should be kept available so that the elderly is not submitted to anguish or unnecessary stress.
When entering the bath the elderly should feel secure and safe at all times. Constant supervision is recommended, especially preventing the elderly from sliding or falling. Caregivers should also feel calm, happy and friendly so that the elderly does not feel pressure at any time.
For the elderly to have a comfortable bath is something achievable. It only needs a little preparation and a lot of care!