Before you go charging in with the Dettol and a loofah, it’s a good idea to have a look at some other reasons why they may be having problems with their personal hygiene.
Did you know that the musty, grassy or greasy odour associated with older people, often described as ‘old person smell’, is actually a chemical compound called Nonenal that people develop as they age?
This scent is often mistakenly attributed to poor hygiene, but because it is a fatty acid and not water-soluble, Nonenal, unlike sweat, won’t wash off easily with soap and water, and is not the result of poor washing habits.
“I treated mum to an afternoon tea, encouraging her to make an effort to get washed and dressed to the nines.”
There may be other reasons why our once squeaky-clean parents have let their personal hygiene standards slip. Here are some common signs that highlight areas you can go on to address:
By discovering if your loved one has any type of health issue, anxiety, or financial concern, you can gently start the conversation and see how you can help.
Be tactful and patient, making sure that they know that you are trying to help them maintain their independence, and are not interfering.
Once you both have this understanding, you can suggest ways to help. There are many aids and adaptations available to make life easier around the home and if your loved one needs assistance with their personal hygiene, Home Instead has a range of services to support them live their best life at home.
Discover how our personal care can help.