Community Blog

How To Help Seniors With Personal Care

By Michelle Brown

Stepping out of a warm shower and putting on comfortable clothes always makes someone feel better mentally and physically. Unfortunately, as seniors age, independent personal care tasks can become a challenge. Working together, you can help your senior participate in self-care and help them maintain the feeling of independence. Here are a few ways to make personal care tasks manageable.

Start With Safety

Your loved one may have stopped some aspects of personal care because it became difficult to do alone. Perform a quick safety check of the bathroom, making sure there are grab bars near the shower or toilet, a clutter-free floor, and non-slip strips or mats in the bath. From there, you may want to consider a raised toilet seat or a shower chair to prevent falls.

On the Regular

Seniors do well with a routine they can count on. Build personal hygiene into their daily schedule so they know what is expected. Set aside time each day to brush teeth, comb or wash hair, change into clean clothes, and shower or bathe when needed. It is important to allow seniors independence, but at times you may need to step in. Encourage self-care and assist only when necessary. 

Add Spa-Like Touches

If bathing, shampooing, or oral care has become a chore, why not make the experience more pleasant? Delicately scented bath products and skin lotion, soft music, a mild flavored toothpaste, and even light-hearted conversation can help them feel more at ease while attending to hygiene.

Be Respectful

There is an element of humility in needing assistance with personal hygiene that you may be overlooking. Imagine what it would be like to sit naked while someone else bathes you or helps you dress; that may be how your loved one feels. Protect your senior’s modesty when possible, have towels on hand to drape across the body or clothing nearby to get dressed quickly. 

Make It Easy

If your loved one is mostly sedentary, he or she may not require a daily bath or shower. Look for bathing wipes or rely on sponge baths every other day. Use a hair tray for shampooing while sitting if standing is physically daunting. Check websites for assistive devices, such as easy-grip toothbrushes or electric razors to encourage regular personal maintenance. 

Remind your loved one how good it feels to be clean, and try a gentle approach. Your senior may respond better to personal care when it is a more pleasant experience for both of you. If you need other suggestions to improve hygiene or find caregiver assistance, please contact Home Helpers.