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I help shower my 91 year old aunt only once a week along with her caregiver. It is starting to kill my back between bending, reaching and twisting. Aunt has advanced dementia but is able to get on her shower bench. She cannot help other than standing and sitting. I sit on the side of the bath tub in front facing her with a handheld shower head for a lot of the washing. Standing is hard for me because she is so short. Any ideas would be appreciated. I stretch before and after and do some basic yoga. Maybe her showers are over? She gets sponge baths on the other days. She enjoys the showers so much and I hate to stop.

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The aide isn't able to shower her without you assisting? I would say it's time for you to get another aide.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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I hope you have shower side rails installed. Trust me that makes life a lot easier. I installed my own but you may have to hire a handyman who can do it
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Reply to cetude
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MAYDAY Nov 29, 2020
My relative put a rail right outside the shower stall , just in case someone slipped while out of the stall. We can only do our best..
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I gave up showering my relative for that very issue. Lower back pain. I tried not bending but I found I just had to - must bend to reach, lift arms etc. My relative sits on a shower stool too - unsafe to stand.

Home care staff do the shower now. They may have back pain too 😕 but maybe have more tricks than me.

Retire yourself from showers.

If one carer cannot manage the transfer alone, can you help with that part? If not, two carers will be required shower days. Sponge at sink the other days.

DON'T feel guilty! Your back is important!
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Reply to Beatty
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When I had an aide for my mom from Council on Aging or home health. I didn’t have to help. She did it.

Mom sat in her chair and the aide bathed her. Mom has Parkinson’s so she has mobility issues and couldn’t do for herself.

I don’t see why the aide needs your help. What’s the point of having an aide if you are still doing the work? Especially with a bad back! You may end up hurting yourself.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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We use a shower chair, and place a towel in the tub for her to stand on. Once I get mom into the tub, she sits so we can wash her using a handheld shower. Once her back and front are done, I drape another towel over her shoulders to keep her warm while I wash her legs and feet. After her back, front, arms, legs, and feet are washed, I have her stand up and turn around to hold on to the back of the chair. This puts her in a good position for washing her bottom and groin area. On a good day she'll even let me wash her hair, too, while she's sitting in the chair. Hope this helps...good luck!
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Reply to JanEllen
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MAYDAY Nov 29, 2020
wished I learned this a few years ago. I always make things harder than they should be. My Lo's were most of the time suffering for it. :(
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Bathing assistance is the main thing I was glad to be able to leave to mom's caregiver, is there a reason you need to be the one doing all the bending and lifting?
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Reply to cwillie
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InFamilyService Nov 17, 2020
It takes both of us because she is a handful. With no hearing aids in she is completely deaf and gets confused.
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Your aunt may be entitled to an aide twice a week, through Medicare, to help her shower. If the aide you mentioned is that person, than I suggest that you and the aide do the best that you can. Just the water alone would be better than nothing. Baby wash for a quick rinse would be good. It's good that she enjoys the shower, so many elderly people don't .
Bless you for helping your aunt.
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Reply to Chickie1
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So if helping your aunt is starting to hurt your back, can you get another caregiver to come expressly and only for the purpose of helping your aunt shower. But at the end of the day you know already that you have to protect your health. It is hard making a decision to cut something out that your love one wants. But do it sooner rather than later,
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Reply to MsRandall
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I'm still not sure what makes the task is so physically difficult for you. Let the caregiver do more and you play the supporting role, let your aunt do as much as she can too. It doesn't need to be a long process to have a benefit, IMO even the most cursory of showers is better than none at all. As long as she retained the ability to stand and transfer I could sit my mom in the shower, wet her, lather her, and then rinse all within 5 to 10 minutes. Foot and toenail care were handled separately, as well as hair care (but that was because mom didn't like water running in her head).
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Reply to cwillie
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InFamilyService Nov 17, 2020
I have been showering her for many months but now I am having significant back pain. This process is taking its toll on me. Her dementia is advancing and she does not understand or remember how to bathe herself. She just sits there. I like the idea of the caregiver doing the washing and I can be there just for support. Her bathroom is very tiny making it difficult to move her and get around her.
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You do not indicate what health issues your aunt has. I am wondering if she might be eligible for Hospice. If so Hospice would provide a CNA at least 2 times a week and they would bathe her. You would also get a Nurse to visit her 1 time a week and they would order her medications that would be delivered to you. And you would get the supplies and equipment that you need.

If your aunt is safe standing in a shower get a used walker (I used to get them at resale shops for under $5.00) she can hold onto the walker while in the shower and that would give her support.
I would not do this in a tub as the floor of a tub is curved and the walker may slide more easily.

If the caregiver is from an agency ask the agency to send 2 people when your aunt needs a shower. It will be safer for the caregiver, safer for you and safer for your aunt.
Another option is to forego the shower and do a bed bath. They can be done well. They can be done without getting the entire bed wet. It might be more relaxing for your aunt and she may not struggle thus making it safer for everyone (not to mention more relaxing)
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Reply to Grandma1954
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InFamilyService Nov 17, 2020
Aunt has advanced dementia. Unfortunately she stands in a tub otherwise a cheap walker would help. I think our private caregivers may have to double up for her showers. Good idea.
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