As a caregiver, you know that at some point, it will likely be necessary to assist your aging loved one with personal grooming and hygiene, like brushing their teeth, bathing, and dressing. You may be called to help them with accomplishing these tasks, or they may insist on handling these things on their own. Whatever decision you and your elderly family member come to in regards to implementing their personal care needs, it can be extremely beneficial to consider a few things. Read on for more tips and areas to consider when focusing on personal hygiene care for your senior.
Talk about proper hygiene
In order to maintain personal hygiene, your aging loved one will most likely need some type of assistance with ADL (activities of daily living). For many, however, asking for help with these tasks may feel invasive and humiliating. Have an honest discussion about what your loved one feels comfortable getting help with, which will relieve their stress and help you build trust. It is very private and personal to care for someone in this way, so occasionally, seniors will resist this kind of support. The best way to know what they want assistance with is to discuss these things beforehand. If they refuse to accept help, make sure they have the tools and knowledge to care for their personal hygiene on their own.
Maintain Their Regular Hygiene Routine
Your elderly family member will likely feel more comfortable and relaxed if you follow their normal routine. You can continue to bathe or shower in the morning if this is their preferred method. Changing up their routine may trigger confusion for them, so it is best to maintain their regular schedule. Respect their space, make sure they are comfortable, and be mindful of the fact that they should have access to whatever specific brands or products they prefer. Taking these factors into consideration can also help you build a better relationship with them.
Support Your Loved One in Retaining Their Independence
You should be involved with your senior loved one’s hygiene-related tasks according to their abilities and needs. If they are capable of accomplishing some tasks themselves, make sure you let them take charge whenever possible. If there are certain areas that they struggle or need support with, take the time to learn what those needs are. It may be helping them wash their face, brush their teeth, shave, or even something small like just laying out what they need in order to complete these tasks.
Senior Bathing Tips
If you do not have the right tools or use the right techniques, bathing or showering your elderly loved one can be overwhelming. Prepare for this by making the bathtub or shower more accessible and safer for your senior, especially if they have poor balance or cannot stand for long periods of time. To make bathing easier for them as well as yourself, here are some safety elements to consider:
- A shower stool or bath bench
- Shower floor adhesives that prevent slipping
- Grab bars in the shower
- Shower wand with a handheld spray
How often should your elderly loved one bathe or shower?
As a general rule, two times per week is sufficient, unless they have accidents often. It may be necessary to bathe and shower every day if they are incontinent. Maintaining a proper shower interval will help them stay clean and avoid other problems associated with improper showering. However, there may be times when conventional bathing isn’t feasible so it’s good to have another convenient option on hand like disposable bathing cloths. Pharma-C-Wipes offer disposable Water-Activated Bathing Cloths, that are designed to be used one cloth at a time or the entire pack can be activated for a full-body bathing experience that requires no rinsing.
Elderly loved ones are unique individuals, so if you want to help them, take the time to understand their needs and work around their schedule. Doing so will allow them to feel more independent while ensuring they are properly taken care of. Including these tips and techniques in your own caregiving toolbox, can help your aging loved one maintain their dignity while also ensuring hygienic living for all involved.