Rain Shower Heads and Alzheimer’s disease

Rain Shower Heads and Alzheimer’s disease              By Lori L aBey

Speak Up – Make a Difference

The little things you notice can make a big difference, so talk about them.  Remember, we all see things differently.  Here is something I mentioned; having no idea where they might go with the nursing home my Mother lived in. 

The rain showerhead idea stuck with me and would not let go, but I could not bring it to Doug, the administrator of the Nursing home Mom lived in, until I knew why it would help.  It was a couple of years later when the pieces came together.

I always thought a rain shower head might help reduce my Mother’s fear of the shower.  She was not always afraid.  In fact, she used to love the water.  That of course was before Alzheimer’s took away her ability to know what a shower was, why she needed one and what she could expect taking a shower. 

I did not understand why she would say showering hurt her, other than the pressure of the water might scare her and feel hard against her body.  A rain shower head on the other hand would be softer, gentler to her skin. 

Then one day, I went to a conference on Alzheimer’s disease.  A woman by the name of Teepa Snow, an educator specializing in Alzheimer’s disease was speaking.  If you have a chance to see her, do yourself a favor.  She is a great entertainer and you will learn so much from her.   Teepa has tremendous insights!

During her presentation, she talked about fat pads, how we lose them as we age.  We have several fat pad areas, but the couple that stuck out in my head were the tops of our hands and on our shoulders.  Bingo.  Now it made sense why the shower hurt her.  Even though Mom was overweight, and by looking at her you would not think she has lost her “fat pads”, but the truth is she had lost her “protective fat pads”.

Now I could go to Doug, tell him I wanted to make a donation to change out the showerheads to rain showerheads.  Doug looked at me, and smiled and said something like, “Ok Lori, I haven’t heard this one before, so I have to ask why?” 

I told Doug my Mother said the shower hurts her.  I did not understand why or how for a long time, but she would routinely make the same comment.  It was evident by talking with staff Mom did not like taking a shower anymore.  She would get combative.  I could understand how the water could scare her.  How she could not understand what a shower was, and it did not make any difference if the water was on or not when she walked into the shower.  The water just hurt her body when it hit her.

I told Doug, about Teepa Snow, and the fat pads.  Doug just smiled and said, “Lori, you have perfect timing.  We are just in the process of remodeling the bathrooms.  Do you have any other ideas?”

Well, of course I did.  We talked about piping music in the bathroom as it can have such a calming effect on people.  We discussed aromatherapy, and how it could assist in calming residents down.  We talked about heated tile flooring and heated towel bars, lighting and colors.  Doug worked within the budget and incorporated most of what we discussed.  The staff and designers did a fantastic job, and the bathroom turned out beautiful.  The staff and residents love their new Spa room!  The atmosphere is totally different, relaxing and beautiful.

As simple and goofy as ideas can sound, I encourage you to speak your thoughts.   If something is calling you to pay attention, do it.  Look for the whys.  Focus on increasing the simple quality of life issues that arise in everyday living.  You may be amazed how your ideas are received.  I know I was.

13 Replies to “Rain Shower Heads and Alzheimer’s disease”

  1. Thanks, Lori, for visiting my blog; it’s a new thing for me, and I’m not sure how it will go, but already I’ve enjoyed the outlet that it provides. And thanks even more for creating this site. Wow, what a great resource! I look forward to spending more time here; I know I can learn a lot from you.

  2. Your mother has my sympathy about painful showers. I have firbromyalgia and I avoid showers because the regular ones hurt, but the rain shower type are wonderful. When I was young, I always showered. Now it’s a warm, soothing bath.

    1. HI Carla,
      Sorry to hear you have Fibromyalgia. I have a friend I was meeting with today who said she had it too. She had all 18 out of 18 symtoms and felt her pain level on a scale from 1-10 was a 20! She found a chiropractor who also was very knowledgable about the brian. Through this chiropractor she has changed her eating habits, engaged in an execise routine, along with some other things and she is now symtom & pain free. If you would like me to connect you with my frined Beth, Let me know and I will send you a private email with her contact information.

      Thanks again for your comment. So much information overlaps to many areas.

      Take care and best of luck to you


  3. Nice article. I thought to let you know that you website isn’t getting idspplayed properly on skyfire web browser on my mobile phone.

    Have a good time…sorry for typos

    1. HI Jessica,

      I appreciate you taking the time out to let me know your thoughts on my blog. I also want to Thank you for telling me about Skyfire web browser. I went to their site, but it is all phone and carrier speicifc questions, so I really can’t fix the issueas I don’t know your specific situation. I did find a link to their forums if you are interested. Here it is:

      Have a great day

    1. HI Cherie
      Here is info on Alzheimer’s Speaks:

      Alzheimer’s Speaks believes collaborative and alternative works, push society forward in search for answers. We believe working together and sharing knowledge is the best way to win the battle against this disease and we invite you to explore our site.

      Alzheimer’s Speaks Resource Website was developed for professionals and public alike, to have easy access to a variety of services, tools, concepts and products when dealing with the disease.

      Alzheimer’s Speaks Blog was developed to assist people in identifying stress triggers for themselves as well as the Alzheimer’s patient, reduce combative behaviors, and create remarkable moment.

      Thanks Lori

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