With August now underway, you’re certainly well aware we’re halfway through our summer. However, there is still plenty of summer left to enjoy. For many Canadian families, that entails going outdoors to soak up the warmth and sunshine. If your family includes a senior citizen, you have to take extra precautions to keep him/her safe from heat exhaustion. In addition, you have to be mindful of the added attention needed to his/her personal hygiene.
What steps can you take to help your elderly loved one with personal hygiene upkeep?
Have helpful hygiene aids handy.
It should go without saying that easy access to hygiene aids is a must. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, body wash, soap, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizers – the list goes on and on. You get the picture. Have them all available and within reach. Needless to say, without these hygiene aids, your elderly loved one will have a tough time maintaining his/her personal hygiene routines.
“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,” FirstLight Home Care points out, “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.”
Don’t neglect the “hidden” areas.
It’s not uncommon for an older person to give his/her body a once over and therefore, forget to clean certain areas. Naturally, there are certain parts of the body that require a little added attention. While it can present some uncomfortable situations, you want to be sure that your elderly loved one’s private parts haven’t been ignored in the shower. As well, as awkward as it may be, it’s vital to ensure that all folds of skin are properly cleaned.
“Bathing under folds of skin, wrinkles, under breasts, etc., is crucial,” insists Debbie Wolf of Arizona’s Home Helpers, “These areas can easily collect bacteria which cause skin infections. Elderly people are often slower to heal, and these open sores can easily become dangerous wounds requiring immediate medical care.”
Create a safe bathroom environment.
Believe it or not, many seniors hesitate to perform their personal hygiene routines out of fear. Is your bathroom a safe place to get clean? It’s important to ensure that there are no tripping hazards such as bunched up throw rugs on the bathroom floor. Opt for non-slip mats instead. Are the tiles on the floor often wet? Wiping up all spills and keeping the surfaces of the bathroom dry is an integral part of maintaining a safe place to practice personal hygiene.
“The fear of falling or slipping can often be enough to prevent seniors from using a shower or bath altogether,” says The U.K.’s Countrywide Healthcare, “This is particularly common in individuals with Dementia. Ensuring you have equipment in the bathroom to aid residents is vital in encouraging frequent washing.”
At LifeCare Mobility Solutions, we offer a wide variety of home bathroom modifications. They include shower chairs, easy use fixtures, night lights, grab bars, transfer benches, walk in tubs, roll in showers, bath lift chairs and raised support toilet seats. All of them help to make personal hygiene upkeep very easy!