An individual living with Alzheimer’s may need increased assistance with his/her personal care. This includes daily grooming tasks such as caring for hair, brushing teeth, and shaving.
It is important that hair routines be kept the same as much as possible. For example, if a person is used to having their hair done by a stylist every week, this should be continued. Sometimes getting out of the house may be difficult. If this is the case, caregivers can inquire about the possibility of the stylist meeting within the home. Modeling how to comb hair and having the person with dementia copy your motion may be helpful for the individual as well.
When it comes to dental care, it is important to receive regular check-ups for a person in their early stages of dementia. This could prevent further complications from occurring later in life. Later in the disease, the individual may forget how to care for his/her teeth. It is important to give short and simple instructions like “put paste on the brush”. The “watch me” technique may also be helpful. With this method simply demonstrate how to hold the toothbrush, apply the paste, and brush the teeth. If the caregiver needs to do the brushing it is important to be gentle. If the person seems agitated, try brushing them later in the day. Ensure that dentures and retainers are cleaned frequently.
Other areas of personal care that might become difficult for the person with dementia are shaving and nail care. For shaving, the individual’s favorite creams should be provided. Electric razors could be a safer option for those with dementia. For nail care, cardboard nail files should also be considered as a safe option. These are a few suggestions for caregivers to try, but for more information regarding personal care, contact the Alzheimer’s Association at 1.800.272.3900 or visit alz.org/dayton.