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Senior Citizen Hygiene Items - keep em clean!

Updated on July 31, 2014
My gorgeous Mom (at 93 in this pic) is a joy to have with me.
My gorgeous Mom (at 93 in this pic) is a joy to have with me. | Source

The challenges of hygiene and the elderly

My 95 year old Mom says that growing old is not for the faint of heart, and she's quite right, especially when it comes to senior citizen hygiene. Just taking a shower is exhausting for her even though she doesn't really do much anymore - that's my job as her full-time caregiver now. Still, the effort of even stepping into the tub (we have a very old house) is painful and tiring. But, as we all know, cleanliness is next to Godliness - at least, that's what they tell me. So, in our quest to keep Mom clean, healthy, and smelling good, I've discovered a few tips and tricks to help me with senior citizen hygiene. Come along and perhaps learn a thing or two.

Come see more pictures of my darling mom and a nice selection of gifts at:

Give your senior citizen fair warning before shower or bath time

I can't stress enough how important it is to tell your favorite senior citizen that bath or shower time is approaching. As my Mom ages, I've become the mother and caregiver in a lot of ways as she's not as capable of making decisions as she once was. I used to make the mistake of saying "Ok, it's time for your shower" right out of the blue. This sentence was almost always met with opposition. It took me a while to figure out that I wasn't being fair and, in fact, I was being pretty bossy (which is my normal way anyhow...).

What I learned to do instead was to, first off, give her a choice. So, I might say, "Do you want your shower this morning or this afternoon?" Giving the senior a choice allows them to feel that they still have some control which is very important. Secondly, I learned to remind her that the shower was coming. So, if she chooses to shower in the afternoon, around noon I'll remind her that she'll have her shower at 2, etc. This helps my favorite senior citizen mentally prepare for a tiring event.

Careful shampooing is the way to keep a senior citizen happy

Careful shampooing is a very necessary step in ensuring the happiness of your favorite senior citizen during shower time. Water in the ears or shampoo in the eyes is no fun and you'll get more opposition next time.

If you are lucky enough to have a senior citizen nimble enough to be in the shower, put cotton balls in their ears and a washcloth over their eyes before shampooing their hair. Use a good quality shampoo and conditioner as seniors tend to shower less often so the products you use should be top quality. And, if your senior citizen friend has white hair, use a shampoo and conditioner with blueing - there's a few good ones listed to the right here. These shampoos are specifically formulated for white hair and will make the hair positively glisten.

Warning: Do not use shampoos for blond hair - that will give the white hair a yellow tinge. Make sure to get shampoo and conditioners specifically for white hair.

Shampooing a handicapped senior

Before I had to help Mom with her whole shower, she had a problem lifting her arms high enough to wash her own hair. Help was definitely needed. So, I purchased items after item to try to make it easier for me to wash just her hair. The trays shown to the right are just the thing I needed. I would just scoot Mom in a chair up to the sink, lay her head back in one of these trays and wash away. I was "mostly" successful (I suppose "mostly" depends on the point of view - Mom's or mine....).

And, finally, if your senior prefers a "dry" shampoo

If you're a caregiver for a bedridden senior citizen (or anyone else for that matter), shampoo and conditioner may not be as important but feeling refreshed is. An excellent way to refresh hair is to use a dry shampoo. Dry shampoos have been around for years and are just now becoming more popular as our population ages. The oldest dry shampoo was simply powder of any type. To use a powder, such as baby powder or cornstarch as a dry shampoo, simply sprinkle it on the hair and allow it to sit for 3 or 4 minutes. The powder will extract oils from the hair and can then be simply brushed out.

If you prefer a really good smelling dry shampoo, there are some pretty inventive things on the market now to help with basic hair hygiene such as the products to the left.

Senior Citizen skin needs lotion

A good smelling lotion will not only protect aging, thin skin but will also lend a nice aroma to your favorite loved one. Make sure though to not buy a cloying or thick smelling lotion - light and airy is the name of the game. I personally use the items to the right of this module on my Mom. I will rub a bit of lotion on her after her shower and again in 2 days just as a slight refresher.

Note: if your senior citizen wears medication patches, make sure to keep the area where you place the patches free of lotion. Otherwise, the patches will not stick - true story...

My beautiful mother. How lucky am I?
My beautiful mother. How lucky am I? | Source

Please leave me comments - the good, the bad, and the ugly are all acceptable.

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    • profile image

      Charden 19 months ago

      Good to see you love your mom and you care for her well. My mom will be 96 this july and I try to help her every other day. I do not live with her but enjoy helping her as much as I can as I am retired now. Keep up the good job!

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay

      This is such a beautiful hub. I love the photos of your mom.

      Your loving, first hand experience gives the hub a more personal feel while giving helpful advice at the same time.

      I think giving choices and forewarning for tiring experiences is great advice. Your mom is very fortunate. Keep writing these helpful senior hubs! You can build traffic with your niche writing. Best to you and your mom!

    • gottaloveit profile image

      gottaloveit 6 years ago from MD

      Caring for Mom really isn't all that difficult - tiring might be a better word. I'm so very lucky that she's remained easy to care for and a lovely woman to boot!

    • chotii profile image

      chotii 6 years ago

      just loved the way you are taking care of your mom....shez lucy she has a daughter like you....

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      Very well written and informative. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to care for an elder. Your mother is lucky she has you. Voted up

    • Kristin Halsted profile image

      Kristin Halsted 6 years ago

      Great hub with lots of excellent info! Good writing too! Voted up and I look forward to reading more of your hubs!

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 6 years ago from Southern Spain

      Great informative hub , Very helpful for a lot of people, voting you up,