(NewsUSA) - Advances in medicine and greater knowledge about health are helping us to live longer. The current U.S. population of approximately 300 million is projected to increase to 350 million by 2025, and the median age is increasing as well due to a decline in fertility and around a 20-year increase in the average life span during the second half of the 21st century.
These factors, combined with elevated fertility during the two decades following World War II (the baby boom), will result in increased numbers of persons over 65 years of age from 2010 through 2030. Currently, people over 65 years of age make up 12.6 percent of the population. That number is expected to be 19.6 percent by 2030.
With our elder population substantially growing, it is becoming increasingly more important to understand the proper care for those who can no longer care for themselves.
One of the most important activities a caregiver can perform for a person is bathing. This is a daily activity most of us can handle ourselves, but when an adult cannot bathe by himself, the help of a caregiver is needed. At first it might be helping a person to get into and out of the tub. After a while it might progress to the full activity of undressing, washing and dressing again.
The bath routine is very important and offers many benefits. Washing promotes personal hygiene, resulting in better skin health and a sense of well-being.
When caring for people who cannot care for themselves, safety should be the number-one concern. Bathing is the most physically challenging care-giving task and provides many opportunities for injury. The bather's comfort, both physically and mentally, should also be taken into consideration.
Because of these risks associated with bathing, companies are creating a variety of bathing solutions, such as tubs individuals can walk into and sit in at a chair level or be mechanically lifted into and out of. Some baths have hydrotherapy jets that are fitted at the base of the bath, allowing tiny bubbles to massage and increase the blood flow to extremities in a safe environment.