There are glaring similarities between elders and babies. One is skipping personal hygiene. Unfortunately, with seniors, this negligence arises from either medical conditions and lack of mobility and energy. Depression, side-effects of medication, and fear of falling can be other factors. In each case, they might no longer want to or able to perform any routine task.
As a caregiver, your first step will involve identifying the underlying cause of self-neglect. Either physical discomfort or mental stress, you should encourage them to share and prepare them to carry on with their hygiene task with assistance. The following are some useful tips to help you take care of the elders’ hygiene.
Use Hygiene Aids
Aging brings a lot of challenges in leading an ordinary life. Activities of daily lives become arduous, and there is a need for constant assistance. Fortunately, many assistive products ensure the elders’ independence as well as safety. One of the most basic requirements is adult briefs. These products are helpful for urinary and fecal incontinence, poor bladder control, and diarrhea. Diapers are discreet and provide unrestricted movement without the fear of leakages. Keep in mind to purchase a perfect fit with a specific absorption level as per the severity of the conditions. The other useful products involve bed pads, wet wipes, no-rinse shampoo caps, and shower brushes. Specialized products will help them manage to live on their terms with dignity.
2. Ensure Safe Bathrooms
As per reports, almost 33 percent of the elderly get hospitalized due to bathroom accidents in a year. Eighty percent of injuries are among people more than 65 years of age from bathroom falls and slips. Slippery floors, low toilet seats, and insufficient racks are common problems that can lead to fatal accidents and prevent seniors from using the bathroom. For a safer bathroom, choose the right safety accessories. Non-slippery mats, handrails at the shower and toilets, elevated toilet seats, controlled water temperature, and shower bench are a few of them. As a caregiver, you should also keep the bathroom well-lit and cushion all the sharp edges with guards to minimize falls and injuries.
3. Create A Routine
Setting up a routine can help the elders to avoid neglecting or forgetting their hygiene. You may start with freshening up to bathing and hair care. Remember, they might need your guidance in every hygiene activity. However, some elders are reluctant to take the much-required help. Therefore, it’s better to respect their privacy and make their hygiene effortless. Ensure all essentials like brush, shampoo, clothes, etc. should be within their reach. Do not push them to follow the routine as a daily chore, but let them enjoy their time. The outcome is to maintain a regime to benefit their health and well-being without compromising their comfort levels.
4. Maintain Skin And Oral Care
With aging, the skin becomes thinner, dryer, prone to damage, and takes longer to heal. Elderly skin may face sensitivity, irritation, scaling, or infections. Without proper care, the elderly may face various skin-related issues. Few tips like washing gently, avoiding harsh soaps, and moisturizing regularly can help a lot. Besides, changing bed sheets, clothes, and sanitary products frequently is necessary. With any skin problems showing up, visit the dermatologists immediately to avoid severe consequences.
Maintaining proper oral hygiene in elders is a vital aspect of well-being and can affect their quality of life. Most of the time, the elders underestimate the need for oral care resulting in tooth decay, gum diseases, and even oral cancer. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, therapeutic rinsings, plaque removal, denture inspections, and counseling and motivating elders from time to time can help. Also, a regular visit to the dentist can help early diagnosis and treatment of oral problems, if any.
5. Take Help
Caregiving requires a lot of time and patience. It might not be easy for many family members to devote that time or energy. In a few cases, the elders are unwilling to take help from any of their loved ones. You can address this situation by taking the help of professional caregivers. These people are trained to provide complete care to the seniors. From bathing to oral care, movements, and grooming, they know their task well and convey it with utmost sincerity and expertise. Moreover, the elders might like communicating and following the carer other than the family members.
Health and personal hygiene go hand in hand. Your prime focus should be on maintaining a hygiene schedule to keep the elders healthy. Following it will protect from germs and illnesses and impart a relaxing body and mind. Moreover, taking good care of the body can help seniors to live life with confidence. As a caregiver, elders are your responsibility. Make sure they live with happiness and safety as long as they are with you.