Help for This Common Alzheimer’s Care Concern: Resistance to Personal Hygiene

Towel LifestyleOf the many challenges related to providing care for a loved one with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association reveals that the most prevalent difficulty is with personal hygiene, for a variety of reasons:

  • Reduced sense of vision and smell
  • Comfort found in familiarity (i.e., wanting to wear the same clothes over and over again)
  • The complexities of bathing, compounded by cognitive impairment and confusion
  • Fear of falling, the sounds and sensations of the water, and more

Cajoling, arguing, and reasoning are rarely effective tactics with those impacted by Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Instead, try these creative approaches if your loved one resists maintaining proper hygiene:

  • Prepare the bathroom in advance so the room will be comfortable and you won’t need to juggle gathering up supplies in conjunction with assisting the senior. Warm the room with a space heater, and place soap, shampoo, towels, washcloth, etc. within easy reach, as well as remove any throw rugs or other tripping hazards.
  • A shower chair and hand-held sprayer often make a more comfortable bathing experience for those with dementia. Face the chair away from the faucet, and use towels to cover parts of the body before and after they are cleaned to keep the senior warm and to avoid feelings of exposure.
  • Have the senior assist with bathing tasks as much as possible to promote independence. It may be as simple as offering a washcloth or the shampoo bottle for the senior to hold.
  • If hair washing is difficult for either of you, forego that task during bath time, and arrange for weekly trips to the salon.
  • Plan a special outing with the senior, such as a lunch date with a friend, and center bath time around getting ready for the event.
  • Bring in the recommendation of a medical professional, who can advise the senior about the increased risk of infection or skin problems without proper hygiene. Sometimes hearing from a trusted third party carries more weight than from a family member.
  • Engage the services of a caregiver, allowing the senior the dignity of having personal care needs tended to by a professional, rather than a family member.

At Generations at Home, each of our caregivers is adept in safe hygiene procedures for older adults, with specialized training to help those with Alzheimer’s disease feel comfortable with personal hygiene tasks, including creative approaches to safe bathing, skin, hair, and oral care, restroom assistance, and much more. Call us at 727-940-3414 or contact us online to discover effective solutions to the concerns you and your loved one are facing!

Plan for Senior Falls Now to Prevent a Future Injury

caregiver assisting senior woman with walker outside

Learn proactive steps to take now to prevent senior falls.

Falls among senior citizens are all too common and may have serious outcomes. Taking precautionary measures is crucial, such as examining the house for fall risks like area rugs along with other trip and fall hazards, inadequate lighting, and a lack of appropriate grab bars and railings. But there’s a new approach being suggested now: making a fall plan of care, which, when implemented properly, has been demonstrated to reduce fall-related hospital visits by up to 40%.

So while we certainly do not want to plan for a senior loved one to fall, we can be better equipped by helping the person take the following steps:

  • Stay aware – Avoid letting your mind wander and instead keep your full concentration on your surroundings.
  • Check vision – Frequent eye tests and regularly wearing eyeglasses if needed can ensure tripping risks are noticed and bypassed.
  • Practice stability – Exercises as straightforward as lifting one foot off the ground and remaining balanced on the other foot for 30 seconds will help.

If a fall does occur, knowing how to fall more safely can minimize the possibility of injury. In particular:

  • Prevent head injuries by intentionally turning your face away from the fall, or tucking your chin to your chest if falling backward.
  • Bend the knees and elbows to avoid the stiffness which can lead to a break to the elbow or wrist when attempting to catch your fall.
  • Roll with the fall, which distributes the impact of the fall over an increased portion of the body instead of concentrating it on a single location.
  • Attempt to land on fatty tissue, such as on your thighs or bottom, instead of on more bony surfaces such as hips, knees, and elbows.

Using the following proactive steps can go a long way towards avoiding a fall:

  • Be sure that all walking areas both outside and inside of the house are free from clutter and any potential tripping hazards, such as extension cords.
  • Keep floors, particularly in the bathroom and kitchen, dry and clean.
  • Put up grab bars around the tub and toilet.
  • Make sure handrails are in place and secure alongside all stairwells.
  • Remove and replace any worn out carpets and remove all loose rugs.

At Generations at Home in St. Petersburg, FL, our caregiving team is trained in making your home environment as safe from falls as possible, and we are knowledgeable in providing ambulation assistance and oversight when necessary to help make sure fall risk is decreased. We’re also on hand to take part in physician-sanctioned exercise programs to increase balance and flexibility, resulting in overall improved overall health. Call us at 727-940-3414 for a free in-home assessment to discover more ways we can help!