father has been diagnosis with frontal dementia, he is in the last stage of the disease. Unable to talk and very minimal walking, dementia institution for about 6 months. He is very aggressive , only when we have to change his depends as well as give him his bath once a week. Just wondering if you would have any ideas on how to manage this besides totally sedating him. staff know what they are doing, but they are getting hurt, as well as dad in the process.

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When people are aggressive during a bath or being changed, it’s often because they don’t understand what is going on, and why their clothes are being removed. Even if people are saying to him, “We’re going to get you in the shower now,” he may not be understanding. What I’ve done in the past is let people with dementia “help me” help them bathe or change. For example, he could hold the fresh depends while two people clean up his dirty one. He could wash his face with the washcloth (or even just hold a towel) while he’s being bathed. I’m also thinking that perhaps a bed bath (if this isn’t already what you’re doing) may work better than a regular, shower-type of bathing method.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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