Monday, June 9, 2014

Assisting Elderly with Personal Hygiene Issues

Helping promote your elderly loved one’s personal hygiene will not only support their health, but it can also enhance his or her emotional well-being. Good hygiene can affect a person’s self-esteem, and being less able to groom one’s self can make anyone feel frustrated. But helping your loved one manage their hygiene can help them stay healthier and even feel better about themselves. 
How You Can Help
  1. Before helping your family member or friend with their personal care, always wash your own hands. This is one of the most effective ways to protect both yourself and your loved one from infection or illness.
  2. When providing in-home care, let your friend or relative know what they can expect. This is meant to help them relax. Letting someone else clean your body may not be easy to adjust to. Always approach this type of care with seriousness and make sure your loved one maintains their dignity and self-respect. 
  3. Always be considerate when conducting elder care and assisting with personal hygiene. Encourage your loved one to do as much for him or herself as they can. You are there to be of assistance but to also promote their independence. Allowing your loved one to do what they can on their own will also give them more motor skill practice, and prevent them from becoming overly reliant on you. 
  4. Test the water before helping your family member or friend with bathing. In some cases, it is better to only wash one part of the body at a time. This is particularly helpful if your relative or friend is modest. 
  5. While assisting with hygiene, look for any changes in your loved one’s skin. If there are any bruises, lumps, or physical changes, report them to the doctor. These could be early warning signs of infection or other medical conditions.
  6. Shampoo hair carefully. If necessary, purchase an inflatable shampoo basin or hair-washing tray to help make the process easier. These are especially useful if your loved one has limited mobility and must stay in bed. It can also help ease the process if he or she is in a wheelchair.
  7. When helping your relative or friend brush their teeth, use a soft bristled brush. If he or she has dentures, carefully help remove them. Then, clean the dentures as directed. While doing so, always encourage at least some independence in your loved one, even if he or she is only able to move slowly while completing these tasks. 
  8. Cut toenails and fingernails regularly. If nails become overgrown, they can cause irritation or feel uncomfortable. Even more, they could become infected and even lead to certain types of ulcers. Cut toenails in a straight line across the top of the toe, and gently file down any sharp edges. 
When providing home care, Durham families should put their loved one’s dignity above all else. It may be difficult to adjust to having someone else assist in hygiene and personal care. But by always showing absolute respect for your older loved one, you can help promote a healthier lifestyle and even improve their self-esteem and sense of well-being. 

1 comment:

  1. My mother has been taking care of my grandmother for years now. Since my mom is also getting older now, she's asked me to help her because I live nearby. I've been worried that I haven't been helping my grandmother effectively. These tips will definitely help me take care of her better.
    Claudia Rosenburg |