5 essential hygiene routines to keep your loved ones healthy

Maintaining personal hygiene is an essential part of our well-being and necessary for personal, social, health and psychological reasons. Poor hygiene can cause discomfort, skin complaints and infections, and can lower self-esteem.

As people get older or develop health conditions, they may lose their sense of smell, forget to wash or simply neglect their personal hygiene.

Personal care is not just about grooming, it involves bathing, oral hygiene, regular washing of hands and ensuring that clothing, bed linen and towels are all clean and fresh.

Keeping clean and reducing the risks of bacterial or viral infections can really benefit a person’s health.

1. Grooming

Keeping up appearances can really boost your self-esteem.  It’s good practice to keep your hair washed and styled; not only does this help someone set a positive impression, but being coiffured can make them feel great!  For men, a clean shave or a trim of the beard is just as important.

Trembling hands can cause food to spill, and you can end up wearing more dinner than you’ve eaten!  Accidents may also happen, but when they do, it’s important get into a fresh change of clothing as soon as possible. Wearing dirty clothes creates a negative impression and can become a breeding ground for bugs, so ensure your loved one changes and washes clothing regularly.

Dirt and bacteria love finger and toenails so keep them clean and clipped (diabetics should have this done by a professional) and they will remain fungus free.

2. Bathing

As many older people live a sedentary lifestyle, they may not need to shower or bathe daily, just two or three times a week would be fine, using a mild soap and a gentle shampoo.

Bathing is one task that your loved one may avoid due to the fear of slipping and falling, but with the aid of adaptations, if necessary, it is a crucial part of their routine.

 5 essential hygiene routines to keep your loved ones healthy 

3. Oral Hygiene 

Oral health is important as it doesn’t just affect the mouth. Experts believe that gum diseases have the potential to cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes and respiratory disease.

If your loved one still has their own teeth, brushing twice a day is a must. Denture wearers should rinse them after eating and brush the dentures daily before soaking them at night. A good mouth wash is also recommended.  

No matter your age, regular visits to the dentist for check-ups are essential to ensure that teeth and gums are in good health. 

4. Hand washing

Washing hands with soap and warm water after going to the toilet, and before mealtimes is a must!

 5 essential hygiene routines to keep your loved ones healthy

5. Wash bedding and towels regularly

Nothing beats the feeling of slipping between clean sheets at the end of the day, but the thought of battling with the duvet cover may be putting your loved one off changing the bedsheets.

Bedding and towels should be washed and changed regularly to prevent a build-up of bacteria, especially if you are sick or suffering from an infection.

 5 essential hygiene routines to keep your loved ones healthy 

Help is at hand

Everyone’s grooming and personal care needs will vary depending on their overall health and mobility, but some may struggle to do this for themselves and need a little help.

You may not feel comfortable providing personal hygiene to your loved ones, and they may not feel dignified receiving assistance from those closest to them. When situations like this occur, it may be best to bring in a Care Professional trained to provide expert care to older people. 

Good personal hygiene is an essential ingredient of our mental and physical wellbeing

If necessary, by helping your loved one with this, you are making a positive impact on their lives, helping them to live well at home.