Dignity and Respect are Important Factors for Personal Caregiving

Most of the older people we care for retain a normal sense of modesty.  We can make efforts to provide as much privacy as possible while helping our aging loved ones with personal care.

Our loved ones may have cognitive problems, but they can still feel embarrassment. By adding some new knowledge to our toolboxes, we can greatly improve our skills with regard to personal care needs.

Consider keeping the number of people present to a minimum when undressing and bathing.  This is to avoid embarrassment and keep distractions to a minimum.  Your family member may be having problems hearing, as well as understanding the words you are saying.  With two or more conversations going on at once, it makes following your directions very difficult.  When your voice is the only one they hear, it is easier to focus on what you want them to do.

Keeping your loved one clothed for as long as possible before entering the bathtub is also very helpful.  This can be accomplished by leaving a robe on their shoulders until they are in the water.

Try to be mindful of the room temperature.  Often our elders like their environment much warmer or than we do.  This is something you can take care of before ever entering the bathroom.

If your family member starts to have trouble with something they have always been able to do on their own, don’t get discouraged.  Sometimes you may have to “show” them how to wash themselves if they don’t understand what you are asking them to do.  Move the washrag along your body and see if they can mimic you.  This can help them to remember what you want them to do and reduce their frustration greatly.

When you stop and think about it, these are ways that we want others to treat us. We all want privacy, we don’t want a bunch of people in the bathroom with us, and we don’t want to be too hot or too cold!  By keeping these factors in mind, you will probably see a big difference in the cooperation you get from the person you care for.