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Bathing tips to help an elderly relative

(NC) Caring for an aging family member comes with numerous responsibilities and often requires thoughtful considerations. The lighter tasks such as home maintenance and preparing meals usually comes naturally, but assisting an elderly parent with bathing may conjure up feelings of fear or embarrassment.

To better protect the person's dignity and privacy, look to the person you are caring for to show you the skills they are able to perform and also where you can jump in to assist. Here are a few more helpful tips:

• Encourage the family member to wrap a towel around themself and secure it with a clip or with Velcro tabs.

• Try to prep the bath and showering area ahead of time before assisting the individual into the washroom.

• A hand-held showerhead can greatly assist in tasks such as rinsing off body wash or washing out shampoo.

• Consider installing grab bars in the shower or toilet area. For example, the Delta Faucet line offers decorative grab bars that enhance the décor of one's bathroom space while meeting the ADA requirements. Find more at

• Test the water temperature with your elbow or forearm to make sure it is a comfortable temperature.

In addition to these tips, relax in the knowledge that increased comfort in the bathroom will come with time. Immediately however, there is a lot of joy in assisting a loved one who needs you.

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