Important guidelines on personal hygiene in the elderly
Maintenance of personal hygiene is important at any stage of life, but more so as adults. Many seniors may begin to avoid bathing or grooming. Since the immune system is already slowing down as we age, such lack of essential personal hygiene could make them more susceptible to illness.
Here are a few guidelines to ensure that the elderly in your care maintain personal hygiene.
- As far as possible try to create a bathing routine and stick to it. If the older adult in your care requires assistance during bathing and you are not able to be present, some agencies offer well-trained nursing staff who is deployed to the home of the individual part time or full time. In any case, ensure that the person has a bath with warm water and a mild soap, specifically washing well under folds of skin. For those who are very ill or infirm, a bath is recommended at least every two days with gentle sponging done in the interim.
- Always ensure that the clothes one by the elderly are lightweight and made of fabric that can breathe. They need to be kept warm as well. Often Velcro strips might help in fastening garments rather than cumbersome buttons or laces that they may struggle over.
- Ensure dental hygiene too, especially in the elderly. Many of the elderly may use dentures, which must be cleaned regularly as instructed by their dentists. Since decay of gums is common as we age, gentle twice daily cleaning is essential. Also, encourage the person in your care to rinse the mouth well after any meal.
- Take the time to keep the haircut at a comfortable and easy-to-maintain length, and ensure that it is brushed well to avoid tangles. The nails must be cut regularly and clipped short. Also, over and above personal hygiene, ensure that the home is also kept clean, airy and free of dust.