Bathing your senior is a necessity on a regular basis, whether she is bedridden or not. Sponge baths are a little trickier, but once you have a technique down, the whole process gets a bit easier.
Gather up Everything that You Need
Stop and take stock of what you’re going to need before you get started. You’ll need towels, washcloths, warm water, a basin that isn’t going to tip over, and moisturizer. Gentle soap that doesn’t leave a film behind is also a good idea. If you’re going to be doing things like brushing your senior’s hair at the same time, gather what you need for that, too.
Put Towels Under Your Senior to Keep the Bedding Dry
Before you apply any water or soap, spread some towels around and under your senior. You may need to help her to roll to one side and then the other in order to slide the towel under her body. She can stay mostly dressed during this process, because you’re not going to wash her entire body all at once.
Dampen a Washcloth and Gently Wash Your Senior
Dampen a washcloth in the warm water and then use a little bit of soap to gently clean your senior. You’re only going to need a little bit of soap at a time. Some people find that using one washcloth to wash and another to help rinse off the soap is helpful.
Move from Head to Toe
It’s also a good idea to wash one body part at a time and to move from head to toe as you go. This helps to ensure that you don’t miss any vital areas and that you only have to uncover one small area at a time. Your senior may feel a lot more comfortable this way.
Dry Her Skin Carefully and Apply Lotion if Necessary
After washing each body part, make sure to dry your senior’s skin thoroughly. Apply lotion, especially if she tends to have dry skin. Leaving your senior’s skin too damp can cause the bedding to remain damp and that can contribute to bedsores.
Sponge bathing can sometimes be a lot for you to do as a family caregiver. Hiring a caregiver to take over this and other tasks for your senior can help you to be there for her in terms of emotional support, even if the physical tasks have become too difficult.