Helping Seniors With Their Personal Hygiene

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Seniors personal hygiene

It’s such a touchy subject, isn’t it? Discussing with your elderly loved one the need to maintain personal hygiene can sometimes because of his/her discomfort and embarrassment. Naturally, as we age, we lose some strength and balance and, as a result, performing seemingly easy everyday tasks can be difficult. For many elderly people, a lack of attention to one’s own personal hygiene isn’t because he/she doesn’t want to be clean. It just requires too much energy sometimes.

This is why both family members and professional caregivers are often required to assist their care recipients with their cleaning routines. Bathing, brushing teeth, and grooming are often among the tasks that elderly people need help with. However, as mentioned, concerns arise due to a lack of privacy that is generally needed for such activities. This is why, before a caregiver provides that assistance, some discussions need to take place.

The Conversation Comes First

On, Mel Grover-Schwartz highlights the fact that “personal hygiene is one of the biggest threats to elder independence, which can be why it is so unnerving for a senior to discuss.” She insists, therefore, that caregivers try to locate the root causes of their elderly care recipients’ not wanting to maintain their personal hygiene. Grover-Schwartz lists depression, memory loss, physical challenges, and sensory decline as top reasons why seniors may not clean themselves as often as they should.

“Remember: like all routines, hygiene practices are subjective, and can be informed by cultural or historical practices,” writes Grover-Schwartz, “Again, asking questions around where and how they developed their habit will help you better understand this sort of nuanced behavior in order to resolve it.”

A Focus on Safety Is Paramount

Once you’re able to locate the root cause of one’s resistance to bathing and cleaning up, it will be easier to assist that care recipient with his/her personal hygiene practices. As should be obvious, it’s important to practice safety first. Consider your care recipient’s physical and/or mental limitations when providing your help.

As Tim Bireley of Milwaukee-based, Home Helpers Home Care suggests, be sure to have such safety measures as handrails, shower chairs, or anti-slip covers in the bathtub. Bireley also highlights the importance of protecting modesty.

“Many seniors will feel embarrassed to have someone else assisting them with hygiene tasks,” he reminds us, “Help them feel more comfortable by giving them a towel to cover their body. If possible, only expose the area you are working on. This will go a long way in helping them to feel more in control. Allow them to help you clean private areas if possible.”

Privacy Doesn’t Have to Go out the Window

At Forward Day, we’re very proud of the fact that our Shower Bay portable showers help seniors maintain good personal hygiene while keeping their dignity intact. By allowing users to roll their shower wheelchairs into their Shower Bay portable showers and having doors closed behind them, they can enjoy private bathing experiences. Even when accepting the assistance of a caregiver, Shower Bay helps to foster elder independence.

If you have any questions about how our Shower Bay portable showers can help your elderly loved ones with their personal hygiene, please don’t hesitate to contact us to ask them. Give us a call at 1-877-223-8999 or email us at

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