How to bathe someone with dementia?

A tub transfer bench will help with bathing.

by Aging Care


My husband has dementia and he hates to shower or to wash. He fights with me every time I take him to the shower. Yes, I wipe him and give him sponge baths, but that can only go far. Everyone needs a shower to wash away the odor and dead skin. How do I do this with engaging in a battle with him?


Often fear is the biggest factor.

Does he have a bench seat or shower chair to sit on? If not that might be helpful.

Do you have a handheld shower sprayer? If so start at his feet and go up. When you get to torso go from behind so the spray is not hitting the chest and face. These are two “vulnerable” areas and can cause fear.

Give him control over the sprayer if possible so he can direct the water where it is comfortable for him.

When my Husband was walking, I purchased used walkers from resale stores and put them in the shower for him to hold onto. He was more apt to hold a walker than grab onto the grab bars since he was used to the walker. But he did use the grab bars occasionally. When he was no longer walking, I used a shower wheelchair. (I have a roll in shower…lucky me!)

The bathroom can be noisy. When you don’t need the water on turn it off so it is more quiet.

Talk to him in a low soothing voice. Actually, lower the pitch of your voice as higher pitched voices can seem harsher. If he likes music soft music might help but be careful as sounds can bounce off walls in the bathroom making noises seem louder.

And do not worry about showering every day. And bathing every day may not be the best for fragile skin anyway.

If all else fails you could hire someone to come in 2 times a week to give him a shower.

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