Franklin is a senior living though the progression of dementia. Prior to developing the disease, his physical appearance could be described as immaculate. Franklin was known for his three-piece suits which were ironed to perfection and color coordinated with his shirt and tie. At all times was his face shaved and goatee and mustache trimmed. He finished his look with a small splash of cologne and a little mouth wash just in case he started a conversation with someone. His friends joked that he could be on the cover of a magazine. Since developing dementia, Franklin has not been the same. When he does appear in public, which is now infrequent, he generally appears disheveled. His hair is out of place and there is stubble on his face. His clothing is sometimes stained and has an unpleasant odor. Franklin is depressed about his change in appearance and hygiene and needs help returning to the man he used to be. He learns that elderly care providers can provide services to assist him with maintaining his appearance and personal hygiene.
Importance of Hygiene to Seniors
A sometimes after-thought of good health, elderly care practitioners can help seniors maintain a healthy personal hygiene regimen. Personal hygiene activities include general self-care such as:
- Washing and bathing
- Proper cleansing after using the restroom
- Dental care
- Grooming and dressing
Hygiene is important for everyone but is especially vital to members of the senior community. As a senior ages, his or her immune system is not as resilient as it may have been during younger years. This makes seniors vulnerable to germs, viruses, and bacteria that in the past would be easily defended by a strong immune system.
- Protects against spread of disease, particularly from external sources such as lice, bugs, and fecal matter
- Protects against rashes and sores that can develop from the lack of or improper washing
- Can reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth through proper oral care
- Lowers the risk for social embarrassment which can lead to dampened social activity and depression
How can seniors get help maintain their personal hygiene?
Franklin recognizes that his memory is not what it once was and that he needs help with his personal hygiene. He reached out to an elderly care practitioner who helps him to maintain better personal hygiene. The elder care specialist, Jeff, created a hygiene schedule for Franklin giving him reminders on when to perform certain tasks. He places note cards near the bathroom and kitchen sinks to remind Franklin to wash his hands when using the bathroom or cooking. For his bathing and grooming needs, Jeff makes a home visit to work with Franklin. They cover hygiene needs including:
- Washing and bathing: Jeff makes sure that Franklin is paying special attention to sensitive areas of his body to make sure they are being thoroughly cleaned.
- Facial grooming: Jeff observes Franklin’s shaving, allowing him to keep his independence, but making sure to catch areas of the face that Franklin cannot.
- Brushing: Jeff styles Franklin’s hair and takes a picture of it. He then places this picture on the mirror to remind Franklin of how to brush his hair.
- Clothing: Jeff presses Franklin’s clothing for the week and makes sure his laundry is washed. Franklin still selects what he’s wearing as this makes him feel confident and independent.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/body/index.html
Encyclopedia.com - https://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/personal-hygiene
Senior Health 365 - https://www.seniorhealth365.com/health/poor-personal-hygiene-in-the-elderly/
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDERLY CARE IN WESTCHESTER, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE LA GRANGE. CALL TODAY: 708-551-2500.