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How to get someone with Alzheimer's dementia to take a shower

Armen Hareyan's picture
Bathing someone with dementia

Hi guys, my mom has Alzheimer's Dementia and she is at the point where she absolutely refuses to bath or brush her teeth, every time I ask her to bath she gets extremely upset and aggressive. Any suggestions?


One of the most difficult activities that personal care givers have to provide for people with Alzheimer's disease is bathing. Today at Early-onset Alzheimers Support Group on Facebook I read about this question of how to help your mom to take shower and the useful answers by Alzheirmer's caregivers. Here are some of the answers for your perusal.

Choose Bathing Frequency

My first suggestion is to choose your battles. That said, try keeping the bathroom warm, with some of her favorite music playing softly. A colored bathmat that is different than the color of the floor, as well as a mat in the shower that is different color as well. Use an all in 1 product, one that works for soap and shampoo to streamline the process. While my mom was in the shower, which was always a fight, I would get clean clothes because that was a fight too. She doesn't have to shower every day, but try for once or twice a week and try to bribe using something like, "we'll go for a ride after your shower". Be patient and again, choose your battles. You can also try different times of the day, that might help too, but when her belly is full and she's used the bathroom might help as well. If she's comfortable, she might be more willing to oblige. My mom and showering (and changing her clothes) was a major struggle so I totally understand. - Melissa

Sometimes it helps to gently ask if she wants to bathe before or after supper, etc. - Lorraine

Lots of Talk About Relaxing Benefits of Showering

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I just walk mum to bathroom (I don't ask her if she wants a shower) first thing in the morning. Like Melissa said bright bath Matt's, heated light and pump bottle non soap body wash. I use a non soap wash that can be used for all over and for hair. Also nice body sponge mum loves to use. All helps with upbeat music (from her youth) playing in the background. Good luck use any tricks you can, but lots of talk about how showers are so relaxing and make us feel happy. - Elise

Consider Using Baby Wipes with a Wipes Warmer

I have a suggestion for the bathing problem. I am just a few years out of having babies. What about using baby wipes over the body in between shower days? There is a thing called a “wipes warmer” that helps with the cold shock of wipes on the body. This would be great for 2-3 days between showers.

6 Steps of Adapting the bathing process for someone who has dementia

  1. Set a regular time for bathing. If the person usually bathes in the morning, it may confuse him or her to bathe at night. ...
  2. Be gentle. ...
  3. Simplify the bathing process. ...
  4. Coach the person through each step. ...
  5. Use other cues to remind the person what to do. ...
  6. Use a tub bench or bath chair.

Reference: Alzheimer's Association

If you have suggestions of how to get someone with dementia to take a shower, please share in the comments section below. What works and what doesn't work may help other caregives and people who live with Alzheimer's Disease. Please, consider sharing this story with friends and followers on Facebook if you liked this article and think it may help your friends. By the way, Managing Dementia Behaviors Is Easier Than You Think.



Does anyone know why is taking shower a problem for people with Alzheimer's disease?