Proper hygiene and grooming is an important aspect of maintaining good health. But for seniors, personal hygiene often declines due to difficulty with mobility, cognitive processing or other reasons. When this is the case, caregivers will have to assist in helping the individual look and feel clean, healthy and good from head to toe.
“Personal hygiene is important for helping avoid health problems but is something that the majority of assisted living residents require help with in some fashion,” says Lauren Kessler, Executive Administrator of Bartley Healthcare. “This covers a wide variety of services, such as bathing and showering, foot care, dental care and grooming, just to name a few.”
It’s important that, when assisting seniors with this delicate task, caregivers and family members respect the person’s dignity and privacy. An elderly person may feel embarrassed at requiring help with these basic tasks, so it’s up to you to provide caring yet professional support while making hygiene safer and easier. Here are some ways to do just that.
Personal Hygiene Checklist for Aging Adults
Help put together a routine.
It’s a lot easier for older adults to remember to attend to their hygiene if they have a routine they follow each day. Start in the morning by helping your older adult freshen up as needed. Tooth brushing, hair care and details like shaving or applying makeup will get your loved one feeling more ready to tackle the day. Remember that older adults may not need to bathe every day. Consider a schedule for bathing a few times a week, with a sponge bath in between to help freshen up.
Put safety measures in place.
Seniors are at risk for slipping and falling in bathrooms due to the mixture of moisture, slick floors and poor balance. They can fall when getting in and out of the bath, on or off the toilet or even simply standing at the sink. Measures you can put in place include grab bars, raised toilet seats, a shower chair and nonslip mats. This will help your loved one feel more stable and secure, which will make taking care of hygiene easier.
Make the atmosphere comfortable.
Bathing and hygiene are very personal tasks, which can easily lead to embarrassment on the part of the senior. Do your part to help by creating a relaxing environment that is calming, soothing and unrushed. Casual conversation can help an individual feel more comfortable. Be sure not to force any issue and allow your loved one plenty of time to perform tasks that they are able to do independently.
Older skin is more fragile and often more dry than younger skin. Moisturizers will help your loved one’s skin stay hydrated and protected. Find out what your loved one’s favorite scents are, or, if they have overly sensitive skin, opt for fragrance-free options.
Don’t overlook dental care.
Dental hygiene is incredibly important to overall health – it’s been linked to heart disease and other conditions, as well as overall mouth health. If your senior loved one still has their own teeth, be sure they’re brushing and flossing twice daily. If your loved one wears dentures, make sure they are rinsed after eating, brushed daily and soaked at night.
Help Elderly Loved Ones Remain Independent in Daily Tasks
Always remember that, as much as possible, you should allow your senior loved one to do as much as possible for their own personal care if they’re able to do so and they can do it well. There are many products on the market that can help seniors remain more independent while addressing hygiene issues and problems. Here are just a handful of the different hygiene aids that can help you and your loved one perform needed tasks:
- Bathing wipes
- Dry shampoo
- No-rinse shampoo caps
- Long-handled shower brushes
- Shower benches or chairs
- Hair washing trays
- Easy-grip toothbrushes and nail clippers
Following these tips will help you increase your ability to keep your senior loved one healthy, happy and looking and feeling good.
Empowering Lifestyle. Trusted Care.
The Orchards at Bartley Assisted Living is our assisted living community conveniently located on the Bartley Healthcare campus.
At The Orchards at Bartley Assisted Living, residents can embrace a fulfilling, independent lifestyle in an elegant setting while experiencing the security and comfort of a qualified, compassionate team. We take care of it all – housekeeping and delicious dining, scheduled transportation, programming to meet varying interests and more.
And if your care needs change down the road, we offer our Cedar Spring Memory Care program as well as transitional care and respite stays featuring our Step By Step program and Bartley at Home home care services.
For more information or to schedule a tour, contact our team today at 732-372-4055.