It can be a real challenge to work with an elderly loved one who can no longer perform routine tasks related to housekeeping, meal planning and self-care. As their physical abilities decline, family caregivers have to spend more time taking care of their aging relative. In many cases, the aging adult is worried, frustrated or irritated that they cannot do things for themselves and take it out on the family caregiver, making their interactions quite challenging. One of the biggest battlegrounds often takes place in the bathroom and centers on bathing or showering and hair washing.
When family caregivers find themselves facing a stubborn senior, they may not realize that nerves and worry are often behind their behavior. Thus, a battle of wills begins, leaving both parties frustrated. If family caregivers learn to utilize certain hair-washing techniques and tips from professional home care providers, they can offer a peace treaty and make the experience better for everyone.
Here are some tips that family caregivers can take from home care providers and senior care experts on how to work with elderly relatives on washing their hair.
-Consider the environment: Many seniors are resistant to baths, showers, and hair washing because the bathroom environment is not comfortable and doesn’t make them feel safe. Family caregivers can make a few changes to the bathroom to facilitate hair washing with ease. These include putting in a shower chair, installing a hand-held shower head, and ensuring everything is on hand to make things speedy and efficient.
-Separate hair washing from bathing: There’s no reason to wash hair at the same time as a shower, prolonging the senior’s embarrassment and discomfort. Hair washing can be done in a sink, portable sink, salon sink, bedside sink or other device designed to allow people to wash their hair while fully dressed.
-Keep hair washing to a minimum: Health experts agree that seniors don’t need to wash their hair every day or even every other day. Unless the aging adult has an extremely oily scalp, most seniors only need their hair washed once or twice per week. Family caregivers should choose the same time each week, so it becomes routine, and seniors will know when it is coming. Often, seniors are more eager to wash their hair before a social event or when they are expecting visitors.
-Use dry shampoo in between washing: One of the most innovative products on the market today is dry shampoo. It’s a spray product that goes onto the hair and absorbs oil. It can lengthen the time between hair washing so seniors can still look and smell good without the frequency of soap and water.
-Hiring home care providers: Sometimes, seniors are stubborn about being dependent on a family member and no amount of technique can overcome that obstacle. Hiring home care providers to help seniors with self-care eliminates emotional elements. Home care providers can help with bathing, dressing, and grooming, and many seniors do better when dealing with non-family members.