Of the numerous struggles connected to providing care for a loved one with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that the most prevalent struggle is with personal hygiene, for a number of reasons:
- Diminished sense of vision and smell
- Comfort found in familiarity (for example, wishing to wear the same clothes over and over again)
- The difficulties of bathing, compounded by cognitive impairment and confusion
- Fear of falling, the noises and feelings associated with the water, and so much more
Cajoling, quarrelling, and logical thinking are rarely practical tactics with those impacted by Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Rather, consider these innovative techniques in the event a senior loved one resists maintaining suitable hygiene:
- Prepare the bathroom in advance so that the room will be comfortable and you won’t need to juggle gathering supplies in conjunction with helping your senior loved one. Warm the room with a space heater, and put soap, shampoo, towels, washcloth, etc. within easy reach, as well as clear away any throw rugs or any other tripping hazards.
- A shower chair and hand-held sprayer many times make a far more relaxed bathing experience for anyone with dementia. Position the chair away from the faucet, and employ towels to cover areas of the body both before and after they have been cleaned in order to keep your senior loved one warm and to avoid feelings of exposure.
- Have the senior assist with showering tasks as much as possible to promote independence. It may possibly be as basic as providing a washcloth or perhaps the shampoo bottle for the senior to hold.
- If hair washing is hard for either of you, forego that activity during bath time, and schedule regular visits to the salon.
- Organize a special excursion together with the senior, such as a lunch date with a good friend, and center bath time around getting ready for the event.
- Bring in the recommendation of a medical professional, who is able to advise the senior in regards to the additional danger of infection or skin problems without proper hygiene. Often hearing from a trusted third party carries more weight than from a member of family.
- Engage the services of a caregiver, providing aloved one the dignity of having personal care needs tended to by a professional, rather than a relative.
At Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, the Portage in home care experts, each of our caregivers is proficient in safe hygiene procedures for older adults, with specialized training to help those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease to feel comfortable with personal hygiene tasks, including creative techniques for safe bathing, skin, hair, and oral care, restroom assistance, and much more. Contact us at (269) 373-5444 (Kalamazoo, MI), (269) 763-5350 (Paw Paw, MI), (269) 849-9252 (St. Joseph, MI), or (269) 963-9888 (Battle Creek, MI) to learn effective approaches to the concerns you and your loved one are facing!