416-207-3888 hello@carehop.ca

Personal Care for People Who Have Dementia

  • Talking to someone with dementia about hygiene
  • Picking out clothes for someone with dementia
  • Protect their overall health with proper oral care
  • Helping a loved one with dementia look and feel their best
  • Personal care services in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton

 

One of the most important things we do to maintain our dignity is practicing good hygiene habits. Ensuring we’re clean, adequately groomed, and appropriately dressed helps us feel comfortable and confident.

 

However, people with dementia might forget or be unable to perform the personal care they’ve done their entire lives. You might notice that they’ve been wearing the same outfit for the last few days. Perhaps they noticeably haven’t brushed their teeth lately, or their face has cuts on it from shaving.

 

It’s troubling to see someone who once took such pride in their appearance begin to neglect it. However, when it happens due to dementia, it’s likely because they forgot how often they’d worn the same clothes or didn’t remember to wash or brush their hair. 

 

The good news is that you can help! By following some simple strategies, you can help them improve their hygiene and restore their confidence while also protecting their health and well-being.

 

Talking to someone with dementia about hygiene

Bringing up the subject of someone’s poor hygiene can be difficult. The person may feel embarrassed that they’ve been unable to carry out such deeply personal but essential tasks.

 

Instead of bringing it up directly, you could try approaching it from the angle of “treating” them to something that will relax and refresh them. Take them to the hairdresser or, if the person prefers to stay home, you can book a mobile stylist who will cut and style their hair just like in the salon. You can also arrange for professional shaving or makeup services to help them look and feel their best.

 

As enjoyable as these treats are, they’re not sustainable on a day-to-day basis. In addition, the person may still need help with such daily tasks as dressing, brushing their teeth, and nail care, especially as dementia progresses.

 

It’s lovely to help someone with dementia carry out these tasks. Following these easy guidelines will make the experience pleasurable and more comfortable for both of you.

 

Picking out clothes for someone with dementia

It can be challenging for someone with dementia to pick out clothes. They might choose the wrong outfit for the season, select colours that clash, or forget to put an essential item on.

 

  • It’s important that you allow them to dress themselves for as long as they are able. You can help by:
  • Creating a checklist of clothes that make up a complete outfit 
  • Labeling cupboards and drawers so they know where to find items  
  • Putting out-of-season clothes away (leaving a sweater or two handy in summer if needed)

 

Here are more tips to make dressing easier for the person with dementia:

 

  • Minimize the amount of clothing to choose from to prevent indecision or confusion
  • Arrange clothes on the bed in the order they should be put on, for example, underwear, socks, pants, shirt, and sweater
  • Give the person one thing at a time to put on
  • If the person prefers to wear the same clothes every day, buy three or four sets of the items
  • Provide loose-fitting clothes such as cotton socks, sweatpants, and shorts with elastic waistbands, and avoid anything with tight bands
  • Only offer shoes with straps or slip-on loafers instead of shoelaces, which can be challenging to tie
  • Avoid clothes with buttons or buckles that can be hard to use

 

Protect their overall health with proper oral care

The importance of having a clean mouth goes beyond shiny teeth and fresh breath. Poor oral hygiene can lead to health complications and dangerous infections that can threaten a person’s life. Here’s how you can help someone with dementia maintain optimal oral health:

 

  • Brush your teeth together twice per day, and if needed, gently explain how to do it properly
  • Help the person clean their dentures
  • Ask them to rinse with mouthwash in the morning and rinse with water after each meal
  • If you need to brush their teeth, use a long-handled, angled, or electric toothbrush
  • Ensure they keep up with their dentist appointments

 

Helping someone with dementia look and feel their best

There’s some truth to the old saying: “When you look good, you feel good.” Helping someone with dementia stay well-groomed will go a long way to ensuring they feel like themselves and start the day on a positive note. 

 

  • Bathing and showering: You can help them safely bathe or shower by following these tips
  • Makeup: If the person has always worn makeup, you can help them apply powder and lipstick if they need assistance.
  • Shaving: Encourage a man to shave, and help as needed using an electric razor to minimize nicks and cuts.
  • Finger and toenails: Keep nails on their fingers and toes clean and trimmed for appearance and safety.
  • Haircare: It might be safer to wash their hair in the kitchen sink than under the tap in the bathtub or shower. If you have the skills, you can offer to cut their hair yourself. Otherwise, arrange for them to see a professional barber or stylist.

 

Remember to let the person do as much as they can independently as long as they can do it safely. You can still provide assistance by patiently guiding their hands or providing gentle cues that will support their ability to practice good self-care. 

 

Personal care services in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton

Helping an elderly loved one with their personal care can be a loving, bonding experience you’ll both enjoy. However, if you need help, Carehop is just a phone call away.

 

As part of our professional eldercare services, we also provide personal care services to anyone who requires support. Everyone on our team has been thoroughly screened and trained to work with elderly and vulnerable individuals.

 

Our process begins with getting to know your loved one and matching them with a support person who will foster comfort and trust. Best of all, you’ll get peace of mind from knowing that the older adult in your life is happy, well cared for, and beautifully groomed.

 

If you have any questions about our customized personal care services, please reach out to us anytime.

About the Author

Michael Lu is the founder of CareHop, specializing in providing compassionate support for individuals and families touched by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Share This