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Poor senior hygiene may signal trouble

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Wearing food-stained clothes, having messy hair, and forgetting to shower may be signs that a senior citizen needs help with daily living tasks.

            According to eldercare experts, poor personal hygiene can be the first sign that an elderly individual needs extra home help.  While seniors may deny their inability to care independently for themselves, having an open, sensitive conversation can ease embarrassment and improve care.  Caregivers should explain their concerns, and suggest ways to help, including a routine physical exam to rule out health problems such as depression, or bladder control issues.

            Discovering why the senior is neglecting hygiene may reveal a need for a stronger prescription for eyeglasses, as the senior may be unable to see stains or read the dial on the washing machine.

            “Younger individuals rarely have difficulty getting in and out of the shower or tub safely, reaching up to wash their hair, discerning which products are intended for certain areas of the body, or staying warm after bathing.  Our loved ones can tire and catch chills easily, and for those with dementia, multi-step processes can be very overwhelming,” explains AgingCare.com, an eldercare resource.

            Caregiver tips include keeping the bathing process simple and comfortable by bathing the senior while he or she is already sitting down on the toilet. Let seniors hold towels around themselves to stay warm, and create a schedule for showers and shampoos.

            Oral health requires daily maintenance, especially for seniors, according to the National Institutes of Health.  Many seniors suffer from dry mouth as a medication side effect.  This uncomfortable feeling can be relieved with a medicine adjustment, or sucking sugarless hard candy, or chewing sugarless gum. 

            Daily tooth brushing and flossing are important for seniors to minimize gum disease and maintain tooth and overall health.

 

For information about senior living communities, contact Fox Point at

(815) 322-7166, or visit http://www.seniorlifestyles.com/foxpoint.

 

 

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