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Personal Care/Hygiene | Management Strategies

  1. Keep in mind that everybody is different and what works for one person may not work for everyone else. While some people might insist on a bath or shower every day, others feel that once per week is enough.
  2. You may have an easier time persuading or reminding the person you care for to groom at an established time during the day. Creating this routine helps provide consistency and may make it easier for them to remember. If you are aware of the time of the day which they prefer to groom, try and take this into account. If the person you care for finds these personal care activities to be tiring, try to fit these activities into the time of day when their energy is at a peak. Above all else, it is important to establish an individual routine that works for the person you care for.

  3. The person you care for may be able to perform person care or hygiene tasks on their own but at a much slower pace. It is not a good idea to rush the proceedings, or try to complete the task for them. Rushing can increase their frustration as well as your own, and allowing them to participate in his or her personal care encourages independence and dignity.

  4. Some people with Alzheimer's disease lose the ability to complete the whole string of grooming activities. Perhaps they are leaving parts of it out because it is too much for them to handle at once. Try breaking down the routine into smaller segments. There is no reason why a person has to wash his or her face, brush their teeth, shave, comb their hair, put on their make-up and get dressed in one continuous activity. Putting a chair in front of the sink so that they can rest for a moment might prevent them from giving up altogether.

  5. If you notice that the person you care for is forgetting elements of his or her grooming, you can use a visual tool. For example, putting the toothpaste on the toothbrush and placing it next to the sink, or putting the electric razor out for them may be enough to stimulate use.

  6. When helping the person you are caring for with personal care or hygiene tasks, be organized. Before you begin, make sure that you will have everything you need (i.e., clothing, soap, towels, etc...). Avoid unnecessary interruptions when possible.

  7. Check mirrors/reflections, a shiny bathroom floor, etc., for anything the person you care for might think will harm them.

See Also:
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Apraxia
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Self-Awareness
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Insight (Others/Environment)
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Independence
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Motivation
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Last updated January 9, 2019
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