What to Do if Your Elderly Parent Won’t Take a Bath

Your elderly parent may be reasonably clean and well-groomed in the past. You may remember your childhood years and still know the cologne or perfume they use. Or you may have spent a few hours in their bedroom watching your mother put on makeup or your father fix his hair. However, things take quite a different turn the moment old age catches up to them.


Today, getting them to take a bath, shower, or just change their clothes may be a battle of wills. It can be frustrating and exhausting. However, this issue of your elderly parent not wanting to take a bath is more common than you think. You’re not alone and there are other people and families who struggle with the same thing when it comes to their elderly parent.

The key here is to take out the frustration by trying to understand where this behavior comes from.

Reasons Why Your Elderly Parent Won’t Take a Bath

The possible reasons why your elderly parent may not want to take a bath are the following:

1. Depression. They may lose interest in keeping themselves clean or looking presentable because they have depression. Check with your doctor regarding this matter and if this is the case, consult with a professional.

2. Sense of control. They may somehow have an inkling that they are losing control over their lives. They feel powerless and so they want to take back some control by setting their own rules as to when they want to take a bath.

3. Decreased senses. They may not be so aware that they smell already and so wouldn’t be so interested in bathing or cleaning up.

4. Memory loss. Your elderly parent may have lost track of time and simply lost track of the last time since they took a bath. They may also regress to that time when they were younger when they don’t really take a bath everyday unlike these modern times.

5. Being uncomfortable. They may also just be feeling plain discomfort when they bathe. They’re afraid of the cold water or getting cold. There’s also the risk of slipping on the wet floor or the tub. If they have Alzheimer’s, they may have plenty of reasons that make them afraid of taking a bath.

All these said, what can you do to help your elderly parent get a bath and stay clean?

First, get professional help for your elderly parent or loved one. You can also employ professional caregivers or get them in an assisted living facility such as Big Hearts so they have someone to look after them. There are people who are trained and experienced in handling these situations and you can find them in facilities such as Big Hearts.

Call or text us for help with your elderly parent or loved one. We offer assisted living and adult daycare services right in Paranaque, Metro Manila. Call or text us at 09565012540 to learn more.

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