Growing older comes with challenges. Seniors may develop cognitive or physical impairments that make it difficult to keep up with daily tasks, such as personal hygiene. When an elderly loved one falls into patterns of self-neglect, it’s important for caregivers to step in and help.
What causes poor hygiene in the elderly?
Physical limitations can cause seniors to neglect to practice good personal hygiene. A lack of mobility, for instance, can prevent an aging person from getting to the bathroom in time. Arthritis in the fingers can make it difficult for the elderly to clip their nails or use a toothbrush.
Fatigue oftentimes accompanies aging. Seniors have less energy to perform personal hygiene tasks. Bathing becomes a chore due to the amount of energy and physical stamina it takes. It is not uncommon for older adults to outrightly refuse to bathe.
Like physical decline can interfere with personal hygiene, cognitive decline also has a negative impact. Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can forget to perform hygiene tasks. If they are prompted by caregivers, their cognitive impairments cause them to forget how to complete the tasks.
Feelings of isolation and the resulting depression can also cause older people to neglect self-care tasks. Many seniors are afraid of falling, which instills fear into them when they are asked to bathe. Medication side effects can also be responsible for avoiding self-care routines.
What is the importance of good hygiene?
Health and hygiene are closely linked. A hygienic body can reduce the likelihood of developing painful health conditions, such as urinary tract infections. Seniors simply feel more confident and comfortable when they bathe, wash their hands regularly, and practice good oral hygiene.
Poor personal hygiene can result in developing or spreading diseases. Medical conditions that can arise without following a regular hygiene regimen include respiratory infections (like a cold or the flu), staph infections, diarrhea, Covid-19, and other infectious diseases as well as tooth decay.
What are the effects of poor hygiene?
1. Skin Infections
A number of preventable issues can arise when seniors do not clean their bodies routinely. Skin infections, for instance, occur more often when older adults fail to bathe regularly. Bathing twice a week is sufficient for seniors who are not active. Moisturize the skin to prevent further skin problems.
2. Dental Problems
A daily brushing habit reduces the likelihood of developing oral health problems. Tooth decay is painful, and tooth loss can make eating difficult. Plus, dental problems are expensive to fix. Aging adults can prevent a host of dental issues by keeping up with tooth brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash.
Bad breath accompanies poor oral hygiene. Use mouthwash daily. Brushing and flossing twice a day removes trapped food particles and reduces gum diseases and the likelihood of future tooth decay. Caregivers should schedule dental appointments, so the senior benefits from routine cleanings.
3. Body Odor
Offensive body odor can be embarrassing. Seniors who do not bathe regularly or who wear dirty clothes can give off unpleasant odors. Caregivers should schedule baths at least twice a week and lay out clean clothes for the older adult to wear. Launder dirty clothes on a weekly basis.
Unclean hands can lead to infections, such as Covid-19, the common cold, or the flu. Caregivers should encourage their aging loved ones to wash their hands with soap and water. They should especially wash their hands after blowing their nose, using the bathroom, and upon treating open cuts.
Hand washing is also important before and after preparing meals. Clean hands prevent elderly individuals from contaminating the foods they handle. Seniors who handle raw meat can pass on bacteria, making it essential that they clean their hands; it can also prevent them from getting ill.
How do caregivers promote hygiene in seniors?
If an elderly loved one neglects personal hygiene, caregivers should find out the root cause and address it. If the senior fears falling in the bathroom, for instance, create a safe environment. Install hand rails in the shower and near the toilet; add a shower bench to reduce fatigue.
Provide the senior with hygiene aids that make it easier for them to engage in self-care tasks independently. Older adults appreciate the many products available on the market, such as long-handled razors and toenail clippers. Shower brushes are also available with longer handles.
Caregivers are urged to establish a hygiene routine. Set aside certain hours of the day for showering and brushing teeth. Make the tasks enjoyable by playing relaxing music, keeping the bathroom, towels and water warm as well as laying out clean clothes for the senior to wear.
Hiring a professional caregiver is also recommended, especially when the aging loved one feels more comfortable with a non-family member providing support with intimate hygiene tasks, like bathing and toileting. Assisting Hands Home Care can provide invaluable help with hygiene activities.
Our non-medical home health care professionals offer reliable assistance to seniors in the comfort of their home. We support seniors with everyday tasks, from personal hygiene to meal preparation and medication reminders. Caregivers also perform light housekeeping to promote a clean environment.
Seniors who utilize the compassionate elder care services from our home care agency feel more confident living at home. In fact, our in-home care options give older adults the ability to age in place, allowing them to live more independently and comfortably in a familiar environment.
Assisting Hands Home Care professionals are licensed, bonded, and insured. Our caregivers pass background checks, are trained in CPR and first aid, and know how to respond to emergencies. These important qualifications give families and their aging loved ones extra peace of mind.
When the senior in your life would feel more comfortable and confident at home with a dependable caregiver, choose Assisting Hands Home Care. We are privileged to serve the senior population in Frisco, TX | Plano, TX | Allen, TX | Little Elm, TX | Prosper, TX and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (214) 609-1340 to schedule your free in-home consult and learn about quality senior home care.