Staying fresh and practicing good hygiene is a goal for all people, but sometimes aging parents, spouses, and others may encounter a few challenges that make this goal a little more difficult to achieve. Arthritis, limits on range of motion, unsteadiness on the feet (or a fear of falling even if steady), and many other factors can have an impact on aging parents’ efforts to perform tasks such as brushing teeth, taking a shower, or trimming toenails.
Both aging parents and those who are assisting them in their care may find it worthwhile to take a look at issues that arise which impact the ease with which a person pursues hygiene goals. Often there are steps that can be taken which can help make personal care more “do-able.”
Making sure that toenails are properly trimmed helps to keep the feet looking good and also prevents foot care issues, such as ingrown toenails, from developing. Sometimes, however, it’s hard for an individual to bend over far enough to clip the nails. Fortunately, long-reach clippers, which have a much longer handle on them than typical clippers, can help many with this common challenge.
Arthritis or other factors can make it difficult for some aging parents to get a tight grip on objects. This can make brushing teeth, holding a comb or brush, and employing a razor for shaving problematic. One good solution: buy rubber grips made for various items. These fit on the end of a handle and add extra thickness, making it easier to grab hold of and hold on to an object.
Individuals with weak vision may find it difficult to distinguish between similar objects. Color coding can help in many instances. For example, choosing the same bold color (perhaps red) for Mother’s toothbrush, hairbrush, shampoo bottle, etc., can help her pick the item that belongs to her. To further distinguish – between, say, a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of conditioner – place a strip of white tape around the middle of one of them.
When balance is an issue, or when assistance is needed moving from a sitting to a standing position, handle or grip bars can make a big difference. Many seniors also benefit from a shower chair or stool, which enables them to sit while showering, thus making a fall less likely.
Today, more and more aging parents and spouses take pride in their appearance. Taking steps to make attainment of good hygiene easier can be a big help.