The personal hygiene needs of an aging family member can exert a tremendous toll both on the elders themselves and on the relatives caring for them. This part of caregiving can be physically demanding, requiring transferring, lifting, and other exertions. The psychological demands are significant, too. It’s natural for aging parents to feel embarrassed because of the help they need from their grown children; those same children can find the details of providing that help heartbreaking.
If personal care for an aging relative is starting to be a challenge for you seek advice, search for a senior care centre near me, before that the little tips we’ve collected here may be able to help.
1) Set a realistic bathing schedule.
A lot of us like to leap into the shower on a daily basis. Older loved ones who are settling into a sedentary lifestyle don’t usually require such frequent bathing. The right balance is often something like a simple sponge bath every day and a full shower or both only three times a week.
2) Establish a peaceful environment for bathing.
Music and/or background noise can be handy tools for keeping your senior relaxed. With mobile apps like iHeart Radio or Pandora, you can easily assemble a customized station for bathtime. Try adding classical music or nature sounds like birds and waterfalls. Any music your family member has a strong preference for can help, too.
3) Smooth over embarrassment by preparing yourself for a relaxed, natural conversation.
This is a fine time to discuss your basic plans for the day or share what you saw on TV earlier. Making the occasion feel casual is a good way to engage your elder’s attention and reduce the chances of them developing negative reactions (e.g embarrassment, frustration) to the situation.
4) Let your loved one take care of all the hygiene tasks that they can safely handle on their own.
While this can take more time than assisting them, the patient approach has undeniable benefits. It allows them to maintain a greater sense of independence. You may also want to work with your loved one to simplify their grooming process in order to save time. Discuss the possibility of a low-maintenance haircut, for example. It’s also useful to encourage male seniors to switch to an electric razor so that shaving is quicker and easier.
5) Make sure the bathroom is safe.
Remove loose rugs that might present a slipping hazard. Ensure grab bars are installed properly. Always double-check the temperature of the water before you senior enters the tub or shower. If your loved one prefers bathing, do not add bubble bath, oils, or any other product that might make the tub more slippery. For further guidance on bathroom safety, take a look out our elderly fall-prevention tips here.
6) Specialized equipment makes it safer and easier to complete hygiene tasks.
Family members caring for elders can benefit from a wide range of assistive devices. Shower chairs and hair washing trays are particularly handy.
7) Lay out your elder’s towel and clothing so they are ready to go as soon as their bath or shower is complete.
This reduces mental and physical discomfort and helps them stay warm.
8) For bathing, try preparing the water before you bring your loved one into the bathroom.
This can make the process less traumatic and reduce their agitation. Individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease, for example, are often especially fearful of the sound of running water.
9) Remember dental hygiene!
Seniors can typically maintain good dental care habits with minimal assistance, but you may need to remind them to do so. Also, make sure your loved one is still making regular visits to the dentist. Oral health is important for seniors; it may even help prevent heart disease