Poor personal hygiene is often a sign a senior needs more than just occasional assistance. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to consider assisted living or nursing home arrangements. But if you’re acting as a caregiver for a senior parent, you may be concerned about how bad hygiene is affecting your loved one’s health and wellbeing. Here are five ways you can help with situations like this.
1. Have an Open, Honest Conversation
Some seniors have a difficult time admitting they need help with daily grooming tasks. This hesitation to ask for help could be why they’re having increasingly noticeable issues with hygiene. When you discuss this matter with your parent, do so in a nonjudgmental and nonconfrontational way. For instance, you might:
• Let your loved one know what specific hygiene issues you’ve been noticing
• Suggest visiting the doctor to see if medical issues may be a factor
• Remind your loved one that it’s perfectly normal to need this type of assistance during the later years of life
A professional caregiver can help your loved one with a variety of tasks at home, including maintaining hygiene. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading homecare services agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.
2. Identify Correctable Reasons for Bad Hygiene
Poor hygiene in older adults is sometimes related to things in the immediate environment that are entirely correctable. Determine if this may be the case by taking a look around your parent’s home to see if you can identify likely reasons for the hygiene issues. Possible solutions could include:
• Having grab/grip bars installed in the bathroom
• Placing regularly used hygiene products within easy reach
• Investing in a tub that’s more accessible
3. Help with Routines in a Respectful, Discreet Way
Modest seniors may feel more comfortable keeping up with certain hygiene routines if caregivers offer assistance in a way that maintains their privacy. For example, you could have a towel ready for when your parent gets out of the tub or shower. Because it’s important to clean skin folds and areas that are hard to reach, gently remind your parent about such things, and offer to help if he or she is having difficulty.
If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Waterloo, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to handle without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
4. Suggest Easier Ways to Handle Hygiene Needs
Daily bathing may be too exhausting for your parent and too demanding for you as a family caregiver. Since daily bathing isn’t absolutely necessary, suggest bathing every few days. Your parent can then benefit from baths that are well planned, enjoyable, and thorough. You could also suggest additional ways to handle hygiene needs more easily. Options include:
• Using an electric toothbrush to make brushing easier
• Going to the barber or beauty salon for regular shampoos
• Using a long-handled hairbrush to make it easier to brush hair without excessive reaching or stretching
5. Stick to Comfortable Routines & Get Things Ready Ahead of Time
Your parent may develop bad hygiene habits if you’re offering assistance at a time of day that isn’t convenient for him or her. For example, your parent may prefer to bathe in the morning, while you’re only available in the evening to help with this task. If this is a consistent issue, consider arranging for in-home care. This type of assistance can be provided at the time of day when your parent prefers to take care of certain hygiene needs. It can also be helpful to get things ready in advance so your parent can handle hygiene routines at his or her own pace.
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Waterloo elder care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (519) 954-2111.