5 Ways to Help an Aging Loved One with Hygiene Challenges

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Good personal hygiene is essential for overall health. Poor hygiene can cause seniors to be isolated as friends and family members visit less frequently. It can also lead to health issues such as skin and dental problems. If your aging loved one has poor hygiene, here’s how you can help him or her.

1. Communicate

It can be embarrassing for your loved one to be told he or she needs help with hygiene. Your parent may become angry and resent offers of help. Communicate honestly and respectfully that you’re concerned for your loved one’s health and simply want to help. If your parent still refuses, consider having his or her doctor give instructions for how often parent needs to bathe, brush his or her teeth, and care for his or her hair. Your loved one may take advice from the doctor more seriously than suggestions from a family member.

It’s also important to seek your loved one’s opinions. Discuss when he or she would like to bathe, and try to not deviate from the routine. If your parent prefers certain soaps or toothpaste flavors, ensure these are available so he or she can retain a sense of independence as you help.

2. Take Safety Precautions

Falls cause thousands of seniors to be hospitalized each year, and many of these falls occur in the bathroom. Take safety precautions, such as installing handrails, removing rugs, and purchasing a shower chair to make the process safer and easier for both of you.

A professional caregiver can help your loved one with a variety of tasks, including maintaining good 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 agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.

3. Make Bathing More Comfortable

It may be uncomfortable for both of you the first time you bathe your loved one. Maintain your loved one’s modesty as much as possible during bathing by covering areas you aren’t cleaning with a towel. Make sure the water is the right temperature and soaps and shampoos are within arm’s reach. Wearing a waterproof apron and using a handheld showerhead can make the process of bathing your loved one easier.

Don’t neglect folds in the skin, such as under the breasts, around the stomach, and between the thighs, as bacteria can quickly flourish in these areas. Rinse your loved one well after bathing. Apply lotion to prevent your loved one’s skin from drying out after he or she is clean.

A trained caregiver can help your loved one bathe in safety and comfort. 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 Flower Mound senior 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.

4. Focus on Dental Care

Poor dental hygiene may cause problems that affect the entire body. It can be difficult for seniors to brush and floss their teeth as they age. For good oral health, brush your loved one’s teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Stand on your loved one’s dominant side and have him or her hold the brush with you. Gently touch your loved one’s shoulder and talk to distract him or her as you clean his or her teeth.

5. Consider Outside Help

Sometimes having family members or friends help with hygiene is too embarrassing for seniors. If getting help with hygiene makes your loved one uncomfortable, hiring an outside caregiver may the best solution. An in-home caregiver will be properly trained to assist your loved one with bathing, dental hygiene, and caring for his or her hair and skin. When hiring a caregiver, make sure he or she is a proper fit with your loved one’s personality and your loved one is comfortable with the caregiver.

If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Flower Mound, 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. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (972) 468-6010.