Caregiver: Alzheimer’s progresses in different ways.
One thing that family caregivers find is that oral care declines. If your mom’s reached the stage where she forgets if she’s brushed her teeth or not, it’s time to help out.
Brushing and flossing another person’s teeth takes patience and practice. Here are the things you need to have on hand and the best steps to take when helping your mom with oral care.
Supplies to Have When You Start
If your mom still can brush her teeth, she can do it. Use an electric toothbrush to help with timing. While you supervise her, she’ll have control of the brush. If she can’t manage that much, an electric toothbrush enables you to keep your hand away from her mouth while the toothbrush head moves around.
A water flosser is another thing to consider. Use it before you brush your mom’s teeth to help loosen foods and plaque. This allows the toothpaste to get into small crevices.
After brushing and using the water flosser, a flossing pick helps remove any remaining particles between the teeth. You could use floss and your fingers, but the pick helps keep your fingers out of the mouth where you could get bitten or cause your mom to gag.
Your mom may not like the sound of the electric toothbrush. In this case, sit her on a chair and use a dry toothbrush while standing behind her. Do the best you can. It’s not the easiest task, but it’s important.
Take Baby Steps
Your mom may not cooperate. If she gets antsy and keeps trying to leave, let her. It’s better to do what you can and end things on a positive note than to try to force her.
Caregiver: Make Sure to Schedule Dentist Appointments
Your mom’s not going to remember when she needs to see her dentist. Keep track of her appointments for her. If you can’t drive her on those days, arrange transportation from a senior care agency.
Transportation services are helpful when it comes to balancing your work, your personal needs, and your mom’s many appointments. A senior care aide can pick her up, stay with her in the medical office, and drive her back home.
The caregiver can also report to you and let you know if the dentist had any comments or concerns. If you’re not close enough to stop by daily to help her with oral care, caregivers offer personal care and grooming services, too. Call a senior care agency and learn more about transportation and hygiene services.