Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Caregiving: How to Help With a Shower

Caregiving: How to Help With a Shower


A shower can increase a person's sense of comfort and well-being. And it's also a good time to check their skin for sores or rashes.

How often a person bathes can depend on their condition and their wishes. If you can, try to let the person choose when they bathe.

To take a shower, the person may need help to step over the side of a bathtub or the edge of a shower stall. But they may need only a little help to take a shower. Let them do as much of the bathing as possible.

Handrails and a nonskid mat inside and outside the shower or tub can help prevent falls. A shower chair or a bench also is a good idea. You can find many styles of these devices. With a shower chair, the person can sit in either the shower or the tub while bathing. A bench sits on the edges of the bathtub. The person can sit on the bench and then swing their legs into the tub. The bench can help a person get into the tub and can be used during the shower.

As you help to undress and bathe the person, try to be as relaxed as possible. If you are calm and don't seem embarrassed, they may feel more comfortable.

Give the person as much privacy as possible. If the person is safe alone for a while and is able to bathe without help, shut the door or close a curtain and step out of the bathroom. But stay close in case they ask for help.

If the person you're caring for has dementia, they may not remember how to take a shower. Some people are afraid of the water or don't like how it feels. A removable hand-held showerhead with a long hose may help the person feel more comfortable and in control of where the water is directed. If the person doesn't want to get under the water, don't force them. Encourage them to have a sink bath instead.

Preparing for a shower

When you help someone take a shower, start by gathering materials. You will need:

  • Washcloths or bath sponges.
  • Towels.
  • A bar of soap or liquid soap.
  • Tear-free shampoo or no-rinse shampoo.
  • Body lotion that is especially for dry skin.
  • A removable showerhead with a long hose (if you have one).

Offer the person a robe for comfort and privacy while you set up the shower supplies. A terry cloth robe works well because it can be worn after the shower to help the person dry off. Set up the shower chair or bench. Help the person onto the chair if they need help.

Let the person take off the robe, but give help if they need it. Remember to use the back of your hand to test the water to make sure it's not too hot or cold.

You don't have to wear gloves, but it might be a good idea if the person has been vomiting or has had diarrhea. And it's a good idea to wear a mask if you or the person has an illness that can spread, such as a cold or the flu.

Helping with the shower

  • Once the person is safely in the shower, put soap on the washcloth or sponge and give it to them. Let the person wash themself. You can wash areas that they can't reach, such as the back.
  • Gently remind the person you're caring for that it's best to start with the cleanest areas and finish with those that are less clean. They can start with their face, then wash their arms, torso, back, and then the legs and feet. They can finish by cleaning the groin and anal areas.
  • Help the person wash their hair with tear-free or no-rinse shampoo.
  • Hand them the removable showerhead to rinse off. Or you can do it if it's too hard for them to manage.
  • Wait for any standing water to drain before helping the person safely get out of the shower.
  • Give the person a towel to dry off, and help dry their back and any other areas that are hard to reach, such as between the toes.
  • Offer some body lotion. Don't put lotion on areas that can become moist, such as under the breasts or in the folds of the groin.

When you help someone bathe, remember to check their skin as you go for signs of rashes or sores. Pay special attention to areas with creases, such as under the breasts or the folds on the stomach. Also, look at bony areas, like the elbows and shoulders. If you see any redness, do not rub or massage the red areas. It could cause more tissue damage.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Caregiving: Washing and Styling Hair Caregiving: How to Help With a Sink Bath Caregiving: How to Give a Bed Bath Caregiving: Preventing Rashes in the Groin Area Caregiving: Overview of Personal Care

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna


Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

The Cigna Group Information

About Cigna Healthcare Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers The Cigna Group Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap Cookie Settings


Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Georgia, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of South Carolina, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of Texas, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details