How To Help an Older Adult Shower

How To Help an Older Adult Shower

Bathing or showering is an important daily task because it helps prevent infection and keeps your loved one feeling fresh and clean. For individuals that have limited mobility, an assisted shower may be the best option. Here is a guide to helping your loved one shower, starting with recommended materials.

Gather Your Materials

You should gather the following:

  • Washcloths or bath sponges
  • Towels
  • A bar of soap or liquid soap
  • Tear-free shampoo or no-rinse shampoo
  • Body lotion

Get Ready for the Shower

  • Offer your loved one a robe or large towel for comfort and privacy while you set up the shower supplies. A bath robe works well because it can be worn after the shower to help your loved one dry off.
  • Set up a shower stool or chair and help your loved one onto the chair if he or she needs assistance.
  • Let your loved one take off the robe themselves, but assist if needed.
  • Before beginning, use the back of your hand to test the water to make sure it is a comfortable temperature.

Helping With the Shower

  • Put soap on the washcloth or sponge and hand it to your loved one. Let them do as much as possible but wash areas that he or she is unable to reach.
  • Gently remind your loved one that it's best to start with the cleanest areas and finish with those that are less clean. For example, they can start with the face, then wash their arms, torso, and back (with your help), then move on to their legs and feet and finish with the groin and anal areas.
  • Be sure to check their skin for signs of rashes or sores, especially areas with creases (such as under the breasts or the folds on the stomach) and bony areas, like the elbows and shoulders.
  • Note that if you see any redness, do not rub or massage them. This could cause more tissue damage.
  • Help your loved one wash his or her hair with tear-free or no-rinse shampoo.
  • Hand them a towel to dry off, and help with areas that are hard to reach.
  • Lastly, offer some body lotion if he or she wants some but avoid putting lotion on areas that can become moist, such as under the breasts or in the folds of the groin.


Source: “Caregiving: How to Help With a Shower.” Caregiving: How to Help With a Shower | Michigan Medicine,