As Alzheimer’s progresses, poor hygiene can become an issue. People living with dementia may refuse to bathe which can have medical consequences, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs). Because Alzheimer’s is a slow decline of cognitive functions, a loved one may start to get confused about seemingly simple things, like how to wash their hair, brush their teeth, and get dressed.
These suggestions may help with everyday care:
- Communication is key
- Discussing personal hygiene care with a dementia patient can be tricky. They could become argumentative, embarrassed, and even confrontational. As a caregiver, showing patience and continual reassurance can help you overcome any communication obstacles. If they decline, drop the subject, and leave it for another day. If trying again another day still doesn’t help, you may want to consider getting professional help.
- Bathing and hygiene
- Focus on what must be done to keep your loved one healthy while maintaining their dignity. Most people that are living with dementia don’t need to bathe or shower every day if there is good hygiene after toileting and their genitals are cleaned daily. A bath or shower should be quick and efficient, but not rushed.
- People with Alzheimer’s disease often need more time to dress. It can be difficult for them to choose their clothes. They might wear the wrong clothing for the season. Allow the person to dress on his or her own for as long as possible.
- When people feel good about how they look, they often feel better. Helping people with Alzheimer’s disease brush their teeth, shave, put on makeup, and get dressed can help them feel more like themselves.
- Oral care
- Oral care is essential for good general health, and a daily routine of dental care is still important for a person living with dementia.