Whether you’re a family member, a caregiver, or a kind-hearted soul lending a hand, providing support to an elderly person in their daily activities is an act of compassion and empathy.
Today, we’re diving into a topic that may not be the most glamorous, but one that holds immense importance in our role as caregivers: helping an elderly person with their bathroom needs.
Among the various daily tasks, assisting an elderly person on the toilet may initially seem like a challenging or uncomfortable endeavor.
In this article, we’ll explore practical tips and guidance on how to respectfully and effectively assist an elderly person with toileting.
How to Wipe An Elderly Person On the Toilet in Six Steps
Wiping an elderly person is a sensitive activity and should be done with preciseness. If you are not sure how to do it, below are some steps to follow:
- First is to ensure that the bowel movement is finished
- Help them up and ask them to lean forward so that you can have adequate access
- Then have your tissue ready and folded into sufficient amounts
- Wipe from front to back especially for a lady to prevent vaginal or urinary infections
- Use wipes to wipe further or disposable towels
- Ensure thorough sanitation of hands after helping your loved one out
Is It a Must to Wash an Elderly Person After Wiping Them?
Tissue and wipes normally do an excellent job in wiping and there is no need to have an extra wash. However, if an elderly person requests that you wash them, it is good to do so because they might have personal or religious reasons for the request.
How to Keep Things Normal when Helping an Elderly Person on the Toilet
The reality of caregiving is that it is awkward and uncomfortable, especially with issues to do with bathing and using the toiled. Most caregivers have struggled with helping an elderly person on the toilet.
If you are caring for an elderly parent, it makes it even more weird, mostly when starting out. This doesn’t have to be the case. You can help an elderly loved one on the toilet without things getting awkward. Below are a few tips to help you:
Bridge the Awkward Silence
If you are struggling with the awkward silence when helping an elderly loved one to wipe themselves, you can bridge it by singing a favorite song and indulging them to engage in the song. Also, if you need them to be in a certain position, use a kind tone to request them.
Ask them What they Need
Sometimes, an elderly person may feel embarrassed to tell you that they are in pain or uncomfortable wiping; in this case, ask them if they need more assistance.
Remember to let them know what you are about to do or use on them, especially if you have just started helping them wipe. For example, if you want to use wipes after tissue you can say “Okay, I’m gonna use wipes to make sure you are good to go now. Is that okay?”
Seniors who were used to managing their own self-care might feel undignified when they need assistance wiping themselves. Dementia and other conditions make personal care impossible for the patients, compelling them to require help.
You can give them affirmation that it is alright for them to require assistants with things they would normally do by themselves. Support them emotionally even with other areas of self-care.
Give them privacy
When an elderly person is having a bowel movement, try and give them privacy until they are done. You can install a bell or an alert for them to press when done or go out a few minutes and return to see whether they are done.
Giving seniors some privacy helps them feel a bit more in control of their situation. Instead of just standing there and asking if they are done, allow them room to finish their business.
Tips to Avoid Injuries
Install a Raised Toilet
If you do not already have a raised toilet for an elderly person, get one to enhance safety in the toilet. Raised toilets have several advantages including:
- They improve safety and minimize slipping especially if the raised toilet comes with handles
- They give relief to seniors with arthritis because they reduce the squatting position
- They are perfect for seniors with mobility issues as they reduce joint impact
- Provide safety for caregivers when wiping an elderly person
- Raised toilets enhance confidence for seniors or people who require assistance during toileting
Practice Safe Lifts
If you need to help your loved one up the toilet sit, and avoid grabbing their hands as this could result in an injury for both of you. The best way to lift them up is by holding on to their trunk and gently helping them up.
Give Clear Instructions
When helping an elderly person during toileting, it is essential to instruct them on what you need them to do like lean forward kindly. Being precise about what you need them to do helps avoid confusion and ultimately prevents injuries.
Do toilet use problems come as one gets older?
As a person ages, it becomes harder to use the toilet especially when one has conditions such as arthritis and dementia.
Do dementia patients have poop obsession?
Dementia patients develop some odd toilet behaviors such as playing with poop or obsessing over going to the toilet or the toilet paper.