Close shave: how to stay on top of your older loved one’s personal hygiene  

For some men, daily shaving is a vital part of a personal hygiene routine and having a clean-shaven face provides a sense of dignity and masculinity.

But as our loved ones grow older, they may have poor eyesight, lose their dexterity or health conditions, and shaving can become a difficult thing to do. 

Shaving is complicated by certain physical health conditions that are more likely to arise in older people.

  • Diabetes increases the chances of skin infection.
  • Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis affects the ability to coordinate fine movements during shaving and there is greater chance of skin injury.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia where the memory and judgement is impaired and hygiene is over-looked.

Aging causes our skin to thin, lose its firmness and may become dry. From the age of forty, men have faster hair growth on the bearded area of their face which can mean shaving more frequently.  This increases the risks associated with age-related skin problems due to shaving such as:

  • Uneven hair removal
  • Nicks and cuts in the skin
  • Infections of the skin or hair follicles – bacterial or fungal
  • Skin damage and scarring.

Close shave: how to stay on top of your older loved one’s personal hygiene 

Shaving in older age 

Grooming is linked with self-image and independence but if your loved one is no longer able to shave themselves, or starts cutting himself with a razor, it may be time to take over this intimate routine to help them maintain good hygiene

Being clean shaven may especially help those suffering from an illness to feel more dignified, more ‘themselves’ and in the eyes of others, perceived to be better cared for.

But assisting with this habit of a lifetime is not straight forward. Older people tend to have thinner, drier, skin that is more sensitive to nicks and cuts and prone to irritation. Together with the variety of razors available, methods and preferences, lotions and potions – shaving can be a complicated process and you may want to call in the experts, or lean on one of our Care Professionals who have plenty of home care experience to support shaving older men.

 Close shave how to stay on top of your older loved one’s personal hygiene 

How to perform a close shave

It takes steady, skilled hands to perform a close shave, and it can be both stressful and distressing.  If your loved one is under medication for blood thinners, it’s best to use an electric razor because it’s less likely to cause accidental nicks and cuts which can result in non-stop bleeding. 

Remember dad will have been shaving for years so if you’re not confident to pick up a razor you should take him to a barber shop or have a mobile barber call at home.

It’s worth noting that shaving isn’t only for men. As women age, shaving body hair might still be important to them. But it’s common for women’s body hair to get thinner as they get older, so they may not feel the need to shave their legs or under their arms.

Shaving facial hair should not be overlooked. It can help your loved one feel clean and well-groomed. It also might help their raise self-esteem by connecting them to a daily routine. If you’re unable to stop by regularly yourself, consider one of our personal care services to help keep everything in good shape.