Caregivers caring for Alzheimer’s disease personal care as private activity
For most of us (Caregivers), personal care is a very personal and private activity. For those with Alzheimer’s disease, it is an activity they eventually will not be able to manage on their own. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, bathing and grooming are often the most difficult personal care activity caregivers will face. Because it is such a private and intimate experience, people with dementia may perceive assistance as unpleasant or threatening. They may feel afraid. There are ways, however, to reduce their fears and anxieties while helping to make the experience a pleasant time for both the person with Alzheimer’s disease and their care partner.
Monitoring the person’s lifelong grooming habits such as showering in the morning or before going to bed may be beneficial. Preparation is also important. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends gathering supplies for bathing in advance. That way the focus remains simply on bathing. It is also important to make the bathroom safe. Install grab bars, non-slip mats and a tub chair to minimize the risk of falls. Be aware of temperature control and never leave a person with Alzheimer’s disease alone in the bathroom.
When people feel good about how they look, they feel better. Helping people with Alzheimer’s perform grooming tasks like brushing their teeth, shaving or putting on makeup helps them feel more like themselves. The Alzheimer’s Association encourages caregivers to perform grooming tasks alongside the person they are assisting.
Go step-by-step: pick up the toothpaste, take the top off, put the toothpaste on the toothbrush, then brush. Comb hair and encourage the person with Alzheimer’s disease to copy motions. To protect dignity and to help the person with Alzheimer’s disease feel more in control, allow him or her to do as much as possible on his or her own.
About the Author: Bridges by EPOCH is the evolution of EPOCH Senior Living’s renowned memory care program BRIDGES. Recognizing that a free-standing community devoted entirely to caring for those with memory challenges can provide more focused care, an enhanced lifestyle and a more fulfilling environment, Bridges by EPOCH is the realization of EPOCH’s commitment to improving the lives of all those touched by Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. EOEA Certification Application Pending. With nearly 20 years of experience in the senior living industry, Alicia is committed to making a difference in the lives of seniors. Prior to joining the Bridges by EPOCH team, Alicia held various positions at senior living communities in Florida and Massachusetts, including Executive Director of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care and Memory Care Program Director at Emeritus Senior Living. Through her extensive experience, Alicia gained valuable knowledge and expertise that will allow her to truly make a difference in the lives of residents at Bridges by EPOCH at Hingham. Additionally, Alicia is certified by the National Institute on Aging as a Memory Impairment Specialist and is certified in both Massachusetts and Florida as a State Certified Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia Trainer. Alicia is excited to be part of an organization that is as dedicated to providing high quality, individualized care to seniors as she is. Alicia currently lives in South Shore with her husband and two daughters.