Hygeine and Personal Care for People with Dementia
One of the most common activities for caregivers is to help with with washing and bathing. Although helping with personal care can quickly become routine for the caregiver, it is important to remain sensitive to the fact that someone with dementia or Alzheimer's disease may view things very differently. In the more advanced stages of dementia, the person may have no memory of previously being helped with personal care. As a result they may feel anxious, embarrassed, and vulnerable.
Tips to Reduce Anxiety
It can sometimes take a while to encourage someone to wash. The caregiver can avoid needless frustrations by making sure the bathroom or wash area is ready before it needs to be used. Some tips for this:
Assisting With Personal Care
If the person is able to do things for themselves this should be encouraged. Sometimes little reminders about what comes next can help the person along. It may help to pass the soap or the towel when this is required. If things get into a muddle, a little humor can help to lift the atmosphere and reduce anxiety.
Sometimes the person may not be as diligent with their personal hygeine as you would like. Be patient. Remind the person to wash certain parts of their body if this is required and be prepared to revisit the issue if the person becomes stubborn or wants to do things later.
Source adapted from::
"Carers Advice Sheet: Washing and Bathing." Alzheimer's Society Dementia Care & Research. November 2005. Alzheimer's Society. 9 Nov 2006 http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Facts_about_dementia/factsheets.htm.