Whether your aging loved one lives in Menlo Park or another community in the Bay Area, good grooming and hygiene routines are important for seniors. Our home caregivers know that frequently, these tasks fall to loved ones and family members, as many who are elderly need assistance with various tasks, including hygiene. In many cases, poor personal hygiene is one of the first indications your mom or dad needs some help. While the inability to bathe or take care of grooming on their own certainly doesn't mean one of your parents is destined for the nursing home, we have a few tips to help guide you in the personal hygiene/grooming department if you are a caregiver for your loved one.
First, a conversation is necessary to ensure your aging parent is comfortable. Many Bay Area seniors prefer to have a caregiver or nurse outside immediate family help with these tasks, often out of embarrassment. Talk to your parent about what he/she prefers, and also find out whether he/she prefers someone of the same or opposite sex to assist with bathing, drying off, clothing, etc.
Stick to a regular routine. Some who are elderly prefer to bathe at night, while others prefer the morning. Whether it's the time of day or the items used in bathing (preferred washcloths, sponges, soap, body wash, shampoo, etc.) make an effort to adhere to your loved one's preferences.
Get everything prepared prior to bathing. Gather towels, a washcloth or sponge, shampoo, soap, and everything you need ahead of time, so bathing time won't be stressful. You may also want to consider a liquid soap, as it's often easier to work with than slipper bar soap.
Make the bathroom safer and easily accessible. Whether your aging loved one is handicapped, has balance issues, or arthritis/osteoporosis makes movement difficult, make using the bathroom as easy as possible. This can be accomplished by installing grab bars, placing a non-slip mat in the shower/bath, providing a bath bench or stool, and getting a door opening for easy access into the tub so seniors don't have to climb over to get in.
Practice modesty. Seniors are usually very uncomfortable without some cover, so use towels to help your aging loved one maintain a sense of modesty while bathing. You can clean private areas without exposing the entire body - and it will help your loved one feel more comfortable.
Rinse and dry well. It's important to remove all soap in order to prevent drying or irritation of the skin. A hand-held shower attachment is perfect for this, and be sure to wash under wrinkles/skin folds as well to prevent the growth of bacteria. Dry thoroughly when finished, but pat rather than rub harshly. Gently apply moisturizer to help prevent dryness.
Bathing every day isn't necessary. Most seniors don't have the energy (or the need) to bathe every day. Daily bathing will wear out an elderly person, not to mention dry out their skin. Bathing two to three times per week is usually sufficient.
Of course seniors need to brush their teeth and shave; other tasks you can assist with.
At Care Indeed, we know caring for an elderly parent can involve a lot of exhausting work. Our Bay Area in home caregivers are highly trained and qualified, ready to help you out by providing compassionate care for seniors who prefer to stay in their own homes. Call us today, and enjoy peace of mind knowing your aging loved one is getting the BEST possible care while you enjoy some time for yourself.
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