When your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, it can be difficult to cope at first. The condition can worsen over time, and your loved one may begin exhibiting symptoms which are more severe or extreme – that’s the reality of the condition, unfortunately. But it doesn’t mean that they cannot still have some dignity and a good quality of life. It’s important for them to get the proper care so their self-worth can be enhanced, even whilst dealing with the disease. One of the most important aspects of caring for someone with dementia is personal hygiene. Here’s how you can best help with personal hygiene if your loved one has dementia.

The importance of proper hygiene

If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, they may need more help with their personal hygiene over time. It is increasingly important to make sure they are clean, because if they have poor hygiene, it can be easier to develop conditions such as infections and skin issues, and besides, poor hygiene causes a lot of discomfort as well. Also, if your loved one is clean, it may help them feel better and have better self-confidence too.

The basics of hygiene

In order to keep your loved one clean, there are some things which are basic but important. One is to make sure that their hands are properly washed after they go to the toilet, and another is to make sure their private area is washed every day. Your family member’s face should also be washed daily, and they should have a shower or bath at least two times a week. Brushing their teeth is also essential, and this should be done two times a day.

Helping with bathing and washing

Most individuals consider bathing and washing private activities, so if you are helping your loved one with a bath or wash, remain sensitive to their feelings and help them keep their dignity. You can do this by making bath or wash time more comfortable and appealing. For instance, you can use good-smelling soap and shampoo or bubble bath, and you can make sure that music is played whilst they are having their bath or wash (even better, choose the music they love and know). If they are confused, give them an account of what is happening and what you are doing as you go along, and always be sensitive and aware of their moods.

Additional help

As mentioned, it helps to be fully aware of their emotional condition when you are helping them bathe or wash, as expert live in carers know and understand. For instance, some individuals may be anxious about deep water in a bath, and you may want to adapt by getting a recliner or a seat so that their anxiety can be reduced.  Other individuals may find overhead showers to be quite frightening, so you may want to make use of a handheld shower instead. If you can, remember to ask them how they would like to be helped, and let them have as much independence as they possibly can as long as they are safe.

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