Some key takeaways from this article:
- As we age, personal hygiene becomes harder to maintain due to our physical limitations
- Hygiene maintenance leads to a higher quality of life and better time spent with your loved ones
- Implementing a regular hygiene routine consisting of moisturizing, bathing, and dental hygiene can help you feel fresh and elevate your mood
- Almost 80% of all the injuries in bathrooms for individuals over the age of 65 are due to falls in the bathroom
- Implementing bathroom safety using aids such as safety bars, grip bath mats both inside and outside of the tub, raised toilet seats, and bath chairs for inability standing in the shower can create a safer and more comfortable experience for the elders in your family
What is Personal Hygiene?
Since childhood, we’ve been taught about the importance of hygiene and how cleanliness of the body is important to our health. As we grow older, our overall hygiene declines, which can be due to a variety of reasons such as difficulties standing in front of the sink while brushing our teeth, getting in and out of the tub, or maintaining balance while standing in the shower.
As such, maintaining personal hygiene can become a chore for our seniors. When looking after a senior at home, or arranging professional care for a senior, it is important to create a routine revolving around hygiene and providing support to achieve consistency in that routine.
Maintaining personal hygiene is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. This prevents bodily oils and bacteria from building, which can help in preventing illness or infections.
What are some benefits of Personal Hygiene for seniors?
There are several benefits to maintaining personal hygiene for seniors. An important perspective is the reduction of becoming ill due to bodily fluid and oil build up on the body.
Maintaining a dental care routine for brushing and flossing can help preserve the health of teeth and avoid the potential for cavities or discomfort. If a senior has dentures, it is vital to deep clean them regularly and brush them daily to avoid build up.
Frequent dental check ups can help ensure oral health is maintained and prevent the start or spread of other dental diseases.
Dry skin becomes much more common as we get older. In order to combat dry skin, implementing a moisturizing routine for seniors can help maintain healthy skin, by reducing flakiness and protecting their skin barrier.
Creating an updated routine to help seniors get to the washroom with an accessible shower and easy access to toiletries will create a pleasant experience minimizing the risk of falls or slips. Having face wash and dental care items within arms reach of the sink can help them easily freshen up before coming downstairs for the day or simply heading back to their room.
Bathroom safety is arguably the most important aspect for seniors’ inclination to maintain their hygiene often. More than 33% of seniors require hospitalization after an accident in the bathroom. Around 80% of all injuries in the bathroom are due to slips, trips and falls for individuals over the age of 65.
Follow these tips for a safer environment in the bathroom:
- Add a raised toilet seat
- Consider adding in a walk-in and walk-out tub (can be expensive to install)
- Add a shower chair to help with stability while showering
- Add railings in strategic places in and around the shower and toilet seats, which helps reduce the risk of slips and falls
- Consider improving the lighting in the washroom and shower areas with night-lights and/or motion activated lights
- Think about implementing some kind of medical alert system in case of a fall or injury
Tips for maintaining hygiene for seniors
Creating a relaxing atmosphere is essential for seniors to enter the bathroom and maintain their hygiene. Once safety is taken into account, maintaining a calming atmosphere by having their favourite artists or podcasts playing, placing a scented plug in somewhere in the room, or adding calming decor such as small plants or paintings can add to a refreshing and relaxing experience.
Maintaining the privacy and modesty of our seniors is also very important for them to feel in control and safe at all times. Allowing them to wash or cover their private areas themselves can help cultivate a much more pleasant experience while showering or visiting the toilet. Having a towel and clean clothes ready for the senior as soon as they exit the shower can also help maintain their privacy in a vulnerable state.
Best bathroom hygiene maintenance products for seniors
There are several products that you can add to your bathroom to help make it more comfortable for your senior:
- A bath chair is an essential product which can help make your seniors showers or bathtubs more accessible, and can make it easier for caretakers to provide assistance when needed .
- Adding bathroom rails can create stability for seniors to navigate the bathroom with ease while showering, using the toilet or making their way toward the sink to freshen up.
- Adding non-slip bathtub strips can add an extra layer of protection within the tub to mitigate the potential for falls and trips.
- Adding bath mats outside of the tub with grips under the mat can help minimize opportunity for slips while exiting the shower.
- A portable bath stepping stool can also assist seniors with holding on to a railing and entering or exiting the bathtub, reducing the potential risk of falling over.
- Adding in raised toilet seats can help seniors to sit without pain and reduces the possibility of slipping if they were to shift and miss the toilet seat. Adding in railings around the toilet seat can also be beneficial for seniors to sit and stand while using the washroom.
- Implementing sinks with grab bars provide an easier grip than holding on to the vanity alone, and add an extra layer of security against slips or falls.
- A weighted shower curtain can help reduce the spillage of water outside the tub reducing the probability of a slip or a fall.
Investing in hygiene aids is important, and can help make seniors’ lives easier while taking care of their personal hygiene. Aids such as bathing wipes and extended shower brushes can make the process of maintaining both relaxation and personal hygiene a lot easier in the bathroom.
In House Care
Finally, as our lives get busier and our parents get older, our elders require more and more attention on a regular basis. Hiring a reputable caregiver can lessen the load by creating a comfortable environment for the senior(s) in the home. In-house support can also help uphold and maintain the personal hygiene of your elder with the care and respect that they deserve.