5 Strategies for Maintaining Personal Hygiene in the Senior Years

As seniors get older, it can become more challenging to maintain personal hygiene habits. A lack of mobility and energy can easily cause seniors to skip important things like bathing and grooming. However, good hygiene is essential to positive self-esteem, and without proper hygiene seniors are at risk for many health conditions. Follow these tips to ensure your senior loved one’s hygiene standards remain high.

1. Devise a Daily Routine

To ensure all hygiene tasks are being performed promptly, set up a schedule your loved one can mark after doing each task. Hygiene tasks such as brushing teeth, combing hair, shaving, and applying deodorant should always be done at the same time of day to create a sense of stability and routine. Routines are particularly helpful for calming anxiety in seniors with dementia, but they are useful for all seniors.

2. Buy Accessible Clothing

All the large movements and fine motor skills associated with dressing can be difficult for seniors to manage. However, it is still important to wear fresh, clean clothing each day. You can make it easier for your loved one to maintain this aspect of personal hygiene by selecting comfortable clothing with elastic closures. Encourage your loved one to change clothing while seated, as this prevents slips and falls.

3. Encourage Bathing Every Other Day

Seniors are particularly prone to dry skin, so bathing or showering in hot water daily may be a bad idea. It is generally best for seniors to clean themselves every two to three days. A cleaning schedule is helpful because it reminds forgetful seniors and makes it easier to plan for bathing times. Some seniors may be capable of bathing on their own, while others may need assistance from a La Mesa in-home caregiver or family member. 

4. Don’t Neglect the Nails

Fingernails and toenails are often overlooked aspects of personal hygiene. If these areas are neglected, your loved one may develop painful and dangerous infections. Make sure to clip the nails whenever they get too long, and file down rough edges that could cause your loved one to accidentally scratch him or herself. Always try to keep the nails dry and away from dampness to prevent fungal infections.

5. Pick a Suitable Hairstyle

To make grooming easier, short or braided hairstyles that prevent tangling are often ideal. However, selecting a low-maintenance hairstyle is not enough. Many people closely associate their hair with their appearance and self-esteem, so seniors who hate how their hair makes them look may neglect grooming. Work with a hair stylist to pick something that is easy to care for and ideal for your loved one’s personal preferences.

At Coast Care Partners, our caregivers can assist with personal hygiene tasks as well as a variety of other services of home care. La Mesa families who are interested in learning more about our high-quality in-home senior care can give us a call today at 619-354-2544.