Providing personal care, particularly bathing persons with dementia, can be a challenge for both family and professional caregivers.
The simplest way to view this necessity is from the patient's point of view.
Take into account the abilities of a person with dementia and customize care accordingly. For instance, knowing a person's bathing preferences (bath or shower) is very important. Creating a spa-like experience using a towel bath instead of a shower or tub bath may lead to greater success. Pay careful attention to room temperature, appropriate padding on shower chairs, and not baring the body all at once. Distractions such as singing, background music, tastes of chocolate, or talking about a favorite subject also can be helpful.
Music, massage and pets. All three reach the senses of a person with dementia long after other forms of connection have been lost. Hospice of the Valley recognizes the benefits of these sensory activities and offers services in each area.
A person who loves music may be distracted from an unpleasant experience by listening to a favorite song. Our music therapists play for patients and also educate our staff on ways to use music during caregiving.
A gentle massage of the hands and feet is soothing.
Pet therapy is another way to reach persons with dementia. Particularly for those who have been close to animals, feeling the warm gentle nuzzling of a dog or cat, a bunny, even a miniature horse, truly reaches the heart. Learn about our Pet Connections program that provides volunteer teams for visits to patients and families.