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tips for caregivers: Grooming

Helping your loved one with grooming tasks can be an uncomfortable situation. It is important to try to allow your loved one to perform grooming tasks on their own, with your supervision, for as long as they safely can. When your loved one can no longer properly groom themselves, use these tips to help them out.

  1. Stick to a regular grooming routine. This is especially important if your loved one has dementia. Use your loved one's favorite toiletries, but make sure they're safe and simple to use: for example, cardboard nail files are less threatening than metal nail clippers.

  2. Going to the hairdresser or barber on a regular basis gives your loved one a routine to stick to, especially if it's something they've regularly done for a long time. Visiting the hairdresser routinely also prevents the need to wash their hair at home as frequently. Stick with haircuts that are easy for you and your loved one to maintain.

  3. When you do wash your loved one's hair, try using the kitchen sink with a spray hose instead of the bathtub or shower. If your loved one is bedridden, you may also consider using a no-rinse shampoo from time to time.

  4. When it comes to assisting your loved one with hair removal, it is easiest to use an electric razor. For hard to reach spots like the nose or ears, plucking normally works best.

  5. It's important to clip fingernails and toenails twice a month. Watch out for bunions, corns or severe cracking when you're tending to your loved one's feet.

  6. A little makeup can go a long way. This may seem like an unnecessary luxury for your loved one, but even a little foundation and lipstick can make your loved one feel like a new person.

    A version of this article appeared in the Private Health News.