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Helping the Alzheimer's Patient With Grooming and Personal Care

Grooming and personal care can be a challenge for the Alzheimer's caregiver. Here are some suggestions.

Each person develops particular routines of grooming and most of what we do to improve our appearance is done in private or, at least, independently. As Alzheimer's disease changes all aspects of a person's life, it also changes a person's approach to his/her appearance and habits of grooming.

As the caregiver, it's important to understand how Alzheimer's disease progresses and what parts of the brain are affected. That way, you can anticipate solutions to problems before they arise.

The Alzheimer's Society of Canada offers these suggestions in assisting the person with Alzheimer's:

Consider the person

  • Are there any medical problems, such as depression, that contribute to the patient's lack of interest?
  • Does the patient understand what to do with a washcloth, toothbrush, etc.?
  • Are memory problems keeping the person from completing the task?
  • Are decisions difficult to make? Are there too many options being offered in the decision-making process?
  • Does the person feel rushed?

Consider the environment

  • Is the room too cluttered or noisy?
  • Is there privacy?
  • Is there enough light?

Caregiver considerations

  • Are you being to fussy, invasive, or adding stress to the situation?
  • Are your instructions clear?

Here are some suggestions for specific tasks:

  1. Bathing
  2. Dressing
  3. Changing Clothes

Sources:

    • Alzheimer's Society of Canada: Information on Alzheimer's Care

 

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next: Bathing the Alzheimer's Patient

Last Updated: 26 February 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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