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5 Tips for Helping the Elderly with Personal Hygiene

Everyday tasks can become more difficult as we age. For many seniors, good personal hygiene can be especially challenging due to a lack of mobility and sometimes a sheer lack of energy. Depression, isolation, dementia, a fear of falling, or medication side effects can all cause seniors to lose interest in or completely neglect their personal hygiene and grooming.

Health and hygiene go hand in hand. If you or an aging loved one is having difficulties maintaining a daily hygiene routine, here are some helpful tips.

Identify the issues. Get to the root of why your loved one has neglected their personal hygiene. Aging adults often develop poor hygiene because of mobility issues or because they are physically unable to perform their normal hygiene routines and are afraid to say something. Whatever the reason, it is important to identify the issues and discuss potential solutions to help them stay clean and healthy.

1. Establish a routine. Creating a daily hygiene routine can help your loved one get used to doing specific activities such as showering, brushing their hair and teeth. Avoid making these daily hygiene routines seem like chores or something which must be rushed. Make it part of their day:

  • Put on music they like.
  • Keep the room, the water, and the towels warm.
  • Layout their clothes so they can slip into a comfortable outfit right away.

2. Ensure the bathroom is safe. The fear of falling or slipping can often be enough to prevent seniors from using a shower or bath altogether. Install the right equipment in the bathroom – such as handrails in the shower and near the toilet, install raised toilet seats, and add a bench in the shower.

3. Buy helpful hygiene aids. There are many devices that are designed to solve elderly hygiene issues by making it easier for them to take care of their own personal grooming. Shower chairs, no-rinse bathing wipes and long-handled shower brushes, razors and toenail clippers can all make taking care of personal hygiene safer and easier.

4. Consider hiring professional support. A professional caregiver can provide personal hygiene services for you. Your loved one may prefer this option if he or she has been avoiding having to ask you or another family member for help. They may actually feel more comfortable having a non-family member perform these tasks. Hiring home care can help with many activities of daily living, from bathing and oral hygiene to walking and mobility…and everything in between.

Assisting an aging loved one with their personal hygiene is a labor of love, but it can also be tiring and stressful. Use these tips to ensure your elderly loved one adheres to a regular hygiene routine.

This article is provided by John and Christine Hamby, Owners, FirstLight Home Care of Temecula, serving the Temecula Valley and surrounding areas. For more information, visit us online at or call us at (9510 395-0821.