Dressing and Grooming 

Dressing and grooming oneself can improve our self-appearance which can positively affect our self-esteem and our overall well-being. Elderly individuals who regularly refuse to dress and groom themselves, avoid the practice, not because of their to understand the importance of good hygienic practices. Elderly individuals who refuse to change their clothing and refuse to maintain good grooming practices, do so because the task of grooming and dressing oneself becomes more complicated with age. The youth may not consider this, but there will be a point in time when you will need assistance to perform ordinary tasks such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and other tasks that you may consider to be private and ordinary.

When helping an older individual dress and groom, it is imperative to provide assistance with a positive attitude and to maintain patience throughout the process. From their point of view, they may experience discomfort by having someone else help them with such basic and private tasks. They may also be feeling embarrassed or ashamed by the presence of a family or professional caregiver. Whatever the case may be showing respect for the elderly when helping them, will make a caregivers job a lot easier and will allow the elderly person to feel safe and comfortable throughout the process. Our caregivers pride themselves on the ability to provide quality and professional assistance to our elderly loved ones.

It is crucial to remind oneself that our elderly loved ones experience a much more complicated lifestyle that is charged with mental and physical disabilities. Understanding their situation is the first step in finding out why they avoid getting dressed or why the process of getting dressed has come to pose such a burden. In many cases, caregivers or pupil assisting an elderly person will find that there are many ways in which to facilitate the process of dressing and grooming. The section below will touch on tips and considerations that may facilitate dressing and grooming for an older individual. If you are a family or professional caregiver, you may find some benefits in the following section.

Assisting an elderly person with basic daily tasks can cause a burden on individuals who maintain a busy lifestyle. In many cases, caring for an elderly person is a full-time job that requires the attention of specialized individuals who are trained to provide professional aid.  It is important to understand that elderly individuals come from different creeds, different lifestyles, different medical conditions, and other aspects that make each one of them unique. Dealing with a wide array of individuals, Mom’s Home Care health caregivers are trained to deal with adverse situations and are capable of accomplishing the task at hand. If you or a loved one is in need of a helping hand, please contact our caregivers at 323-244-4789. After we have an understanding of your basic needs and wants, we will help you determine the services that will suit you best. Our health caregivers will provide you with a peaceful mind, ensuring that your elderly loved one is properly cared for and treated with the utmost respect.

Grooming a Loved One

Helping an elderly person dress and groom themselves may allow them to experience a boost in their self-esteem. As mentioned earlier, maintaining good hygiene allows us to improve our self-appearance which can work wonders for individuals facing depression. If you are helping an individual with their grooming you will probably be helping them shave, clip their toenails, maintain healthy moisturized skin, apply hair product, and other grooming practices. Older individuals suffer from weakening diseases that prevent them from gripping or holding in place a razor blade. If unable to hold and properly use the grooming utensils, the elderly individual will most likely require assistance. The purpose of a caregiver is to facilitate these tasks and to provide assistance whenever needed. Caregivers should consider the following when grooming an elderly person. The following section will describe ways in which to properly assistant an older individual with basic grooming habits.

Shaving: Shaving is a very important task for men that wish to maintain a clean-shaven face. In some cases, man can lose their ability to properly hold a razor and shave their face due to the loss of muscle and strength. When shaving a person's face you will require a towel or tissue (to clean the hairs off the blade), shaving cream, a razor blade, and a moisturizer. Shaving a face is not complicated if you know how to properly use a razor and follow simple procedures.

  • First, the caregiver should make sure the face is washed so that the hairs soften making it easier to run the razor on the skin. The face can be washed during a shower or it can be washed with a warm wet towel.
  • Second, gently apply shaving cream to the face in a circular motion until it covers the area that will be shaved.
  • Third, you are now ready to use the blade. Make sure that the area that will be shaved is stretched and that the razor is shaving in the direction of the hair growth.
  • Fourth, clean and rinse the razor as needed.
  • Fifth, clean the individuals face with cool water so that the pores on the face may close.
  • Sixth, apply a face moisturizer.

If you find that the elderly individual is constantly moving while shaving and you are unable to safely shave their face with a razor, you may consider an electric razor. Electric razors are much easier to use and can get the job done quicker.

Clipping finger and toenails: When clipping an elderly person's finger and toenails, you will need a nail cutter and/or a brittle. Cutting nails is easy especially after you have soaked the hands and feet with water. By soaking the nail in water, the nail will be softer and easier to cut. If the nails are not long enough to be cut with a nail cutter, you may use a brittle to file the ends of the nail. When clipping nails it is also recommended to lightly push the cuticles back to the base of the fingernail. You want to make sure the cuticle isn't pushed back too far for it may cause infection and skin irritation. In addition, you will want to apply a moisturizer to the fingertips and the cuticles.

Hair products: Before applying any hair product, you may want to consider gentle hair products that are easy to wash off. Opting for lighter hair products can keep the skin from irritating and can prevent build up. Apply the hair product as needed and if you are using a spray make sure to cover the individual's eyes. In addition, caring for an individual who has dementia or other mental conditions can prove more difficult. You will need to make sure the elderly person is calm and that the environment feels welcoming.

Dressing a Loved One

Dressing a loved one can be as complicated as when helping with their grooming practices. Of course, if you are prepared and properly trained, you will be able to dress your loved one without much hassle. When dressing an elderly person there are a number things that you may consider to facilitate the task. Health caregivers have found that dressing an elderly person is facilitated when you use the right tools, when you use the right clothing and shoe type, and when you establish a dressing game plan. In some cases, dressing a loved one will require the attention of a professional who is capable of providing the appropriate assistance. The following section will describe ways in which you may facilitate the dressing process:

Button Hook: A button hook consists of a handle, hook, and is easy and safe to use. Buttons require a steady hand and the ability to push the button through the opening. While seemingly easy, this task is complicated for individuals who have weak or shaky hands. Individuals suffering from chronic tendonitis or Parkinson's disease will have trouble gripping and pushing the button into the opening. A button hook can facilitate pushing buttons through the openings in a dress shirt. A button hook can allow the elderly person to easily hook buttons without having to use much force.

Elderly shoes: Some shoes are specialized to fit the needs of elderly people. Specialized shoes will provide extra support and cushion so that the foot is well protected and balanced. In addition, shoes that are adapted for older individuals will usually be easier to put on. Specialized shoes may come without shoelaces making it easier for an elderly person to slip on and strap their shoes. Shoes for elderly men or women will benefit greatly those who are suffering from arthritis (which limits the hand capabilities), severe back pains, and other conditions that affect their ability to move and bend. These shoes also come in various styles so your loved has the option to be unique while benefiting from a shoe that is easier to slip on.

Adaptive Clothing: A great addition to slip on shoes is adaptive clothing. Adaptive clothing is clothing that is adjusted to reduce any stress caused by having to pull zippers or press buttons. Adaptive clothing is usually fitted with velcro which facilitates dressing by allowing the individual to close the gaps with ease. Adaptive clothing can help individuals suffering from strokes, arthritis, Alzheimer disease, spinal cord injuries, and other conditions that may affect movement abilities.

Adaptive clothing comes in various sizes, colors, and styles that will assure you find the right type of clothing for your loved one. Adaptive clothing will in many cases reduce the amount of assistance that a person requires.  Elderly individuals may be reluctant to receive assistance in these private matters which may be a reason why he or she is refusing to change clothes regularly. By making the switch to adaptive clothing you are allowing the elderly individual privacy which may reduce the amount of pushback you receive when offering to change their clothing. Your elderly loved one will be capable of dressing themselves.

In addition, you may want to consider having duplicate clothing. In some cases, an elderly individual will want to dress in a very specific way often repeating the same clothes. By having duplicate clothing you can assure that the elderly person will be dressed in clean clothes every time.

Organize the dressing process: Sometimes the dressing process is not as smooth as planned. Elderly individuals are facing different disabilities that complicate the easiest of tasks. To avoid prolonging the dressing process, it is recommended to lay out the clothing and clothing utensils. Laying out the clothes and items that you will use to dress the elderly person is often the best way to assure the dressing process is efficient. By laying out the clothing and clothing utensils you will be sure the items are there when you need them. Having an organized way of dressing an elderly person will allow the caregiver to complete the tasks quickly and efficiently. 

Most healthy individuals after the age of 65 have the mental capacity and motor functions to perform a multitude of tasks including dressing and grooming. However, the simple tasks of dressing and grooming become more complicated for individuals suffering from physical or mental disabilities. Our minds and bodies age with time making it more difficult to fulfill tasks that may once have posed no issue at all. An elderly individual is prone to many mental and physical conditions that arise after a certain age. Elderly individuals who are suffering from mental and physical conditions will find it more difficult to get dressed and groomed.

Unfortunately, not all of us have the time to care for our elderly individuals in our lives. Sometimes our busy lifestyle will prevent us from providing the proper attention and care to our loved ones. If you are in need of a helping hand, we are always ready (24/7) to provide grooming and dressing assistance. To learn more about our caregiving services please contact Mom's Home Care at 323-244-4789.

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