My Mother had never been aggressive throughout her dementia, when I was told that staff in her nursing home had tried to bathe her and she had lashed out physically, it came as a shock. Still, she never liked water, having never learnt to swim, so perhaps the Alzheimers + a team of nursing staff trying to shower her was all just too much. The incident took place after a grade 4 pressure sore (from a previous care home) had healed and she could be in a wet room again.
Before we continue the article we’d like to stress that bed sores should NOT happen to Anyone and if you know someone who has one or more, then a clinical negligence case could be brought for compensation. A link: here which we shared earlier today.
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The sudden violence was clearly born from fear, (often those with dementia cannot verbally express themselves) so in order to distract a person from being in the bathroom or being around water, what could be done? I thought about this for some time. Like so many other solutions for my Mother in late stage dementia, the answer wasn’t far from the infant aisle in Mothercare. When infants are introduced to bath time, they’re distracted with games and toys. That was my immediate go-to.
I’m a huge fan of infant toys in dementia which I talk about all over the blog. It isn’t a difficult issue for me, I don’t find it condescending because in the case of my Mother in late stage dementia, the methods I’ve tried, work. Not all toys are loved at first glace but most are and all offer a welcome distraction and improve morale and That is all I’m concerned about. If someone is sad, why on earth should they be. If the toys work: buy the toys! I also often find children’s or infant toys less expensive than ‘dementia aids’.
I selected a few bath toys I could find in my local Mothercare and below are what I came out with. The jellyfish is my personal fave and he actually never stayed in the bathroom for long, he’s used as a regular sensory toy in my Mum’s room.
I spoke with staff again after the toys were introduced to the bathroom and was informed that there have been no further incidents. Was it a one off? Did the toys help? Who knows, but the violence has stopped & that’s the main thing.