What can I do to help my dad stay comfortable during bath time?

2 answers | Last updated: Jun 21, 2010
A fellow caregiver asked...

As he's getting older, my dad is having a harder time staying warm, especially during baths. I make a point of keeping the bathroom warm, but he still shivers. What should I do?


Expert Answers

It would be a good idea to start by checking with your father's doctor to make sure your dad isn't sick.

Assuming your dad's health isn't the problem and the room temperature is nice and warm (around 68 degrees Fahrenheit), it may be that he's staying in the shower or tub too long. Try shorter baths.

Always make sure the water is warm, checking it with your hand or a bath thermometer first. It shouldn't be too warm, though -- not above 90 to 100 degrees F. (Don't leave this up to your dad. He may not be able to gauge temperature well or read the thermometer.)

Keep as much of your father's body covered as you can during a bath, using thick dry towels or even a bathrobe you can clean under. Cover and dry him quickly when you're done.

If your father keeps shivering, he's not only uncomfortable but also at risk for getting a cold or the flu. His body is working so hard trying to stay warm that it leaves fewer immune system resources for fighting illness.

If your dad can't keep warm during a tub bath, you may need to try a different bathing option. He may stay warmer with a quick bed bath because his whole body won't have to get wet at once.

Many people think anything short of a shower or bath won't result in a thorough washing, but I disagree. You can keep your dad clean without soaking him head to toe. Focus on cleaning his face, underarms, and private areas daily. If you work on a small area each day, you can eventually clean the entire body.


Community Answers

Bell star answered...
Another option might be to get a tub or shower chair, and put it in the bath (or they have bench types that allow him to slide over the side of the tub, then lift legs over). You can adapt the faucet with a hand-held faucet/shower. These are relatively easy to use, especially from a shower head (and cheap). With the idea being, you want to keep him as dry as possible, you now can keep him covered with a towel, and just wash one particular area at a time. Most likely, he is shivering from his body cooling while the water evaporates on his skin. I recommend getting a couple large bath towels or bath sheets, so you can wrap him in it when you're done. Also, I think 68 degrees might be too cool for a bath --more like 72 or higher (enough so you feel like sweating while helping him). Your father is lucky he has such a caring family member to help him with his private cares.