What to Do When Senior Loved Ones Refuse to Take Care of Their Hygiene

If a senior loved one doesn’t exercise the most basic forms of self-care, they become more susceptible to physical and mental health problems. However, before you dismiss this neglect as simply a side effect of aging, understand that there might be a much greater underlying problem.

The Root Causes of Self-Neglect and Lack of Personal Hygiene

Not everyone likes to show vulnerability. Especially those who took care of you when you were young. In fact, they’ll be reluctant to show any need for help because their pride might not allow it.

In many cases, the reason why your elderly loved one might not be paying attention to their personal hygiene may be because:

  • They have a fear of falling because of poor balance issues
  • They may have joint pain and might be experiencing issues while standing, sitting, bending, and moving in a small space
  • They might be experiencing a fear of the sound of water or its sensation (common among older adults with Alzheimer’s and Dementia)
  • The water temperature may be too discomforting i.e. too hot or too cold
  • Taking a shower or bathing may be too exhausting for them

Alongside these reasons, there are many other common causes that include depression, memory loss, and sensory decline, among others.

If this is the case, you’ll need to be proactive with your approach so you can be sure they’re paying their health and hygiene proper attention.

Tips on Helping a Senior Loved One with Personal Hygiene Issues

  • Talk to them about it

It might be difficult, given that your loved one might become defensive. But communication during this time is important because you want to get to the root of the problem and not draw conclusions yourself. You can never be sure whether it is pain, forgetfulness, fear, or something else entirely that’s keeping them from their basic care routine.

  • Use a Little Trickery

Dealing with an elderly person who thinks you’re bossing them around or babying them can feel like a power struggle. This is where you need to be tactful. Try to designate a meet-up with a close friend or family member at an outdoor venue, somewhere that requires primping. This’ll be a great reason for them to get cleaned up.

  • Make the Bathroom User-Friendly

Lack of support or fear of injury while bathing or showering is a major issue for most seniors. But this fear can be addressed pretty easily if you just add the right bathing aids and products to the room. Sturdy handrails, automatic sensors for raising the toilet seats, clear labels on bottles so your loved one can use the right products and proper lighting can do wonders for your senior’s care.


When it’s not enough

If your senior loved one is too ill, then the above tips might not be as useful for you.

In this situation, you might want to consider having your loved one shifted to a senior living community, one that specializes in memory care or assisted living and offers 24/7 care, like AvantGarde Senior Living in Beverly Hills, CA.

This way, you’ll be happy knowing that you’ve taken the right steps in ensuring your loved one’s health and care. And they’ll have the chance to socialize without worrying about their extending themselves over basic needs!