Caring for your loved one: Bathing and grooming
By Walgreens Sep 23, 2022 • 5 min
Becoming a caregiver can be a major life change for both you and your loved one. One area both caregivers and care recipients sometimes struggle with is bathing, shaving and performing other personal duties. These tasks were once something your loved one did independently but now needs help with. It can be a challenge to get used to handling personal care for someone else, but helping your loved one feel clean and well-groomed can help maintain their sense of well-being.
Here are a few quick tips to help you feel confident helping your loved one look and feel good.
If your loved one can still bathe independently in the bathroom, encourage them to do so. You can make it easier, and safer, by installing nonslip devices in the bathroom, like a bathmat, grab bar or tub bench. Help your loved one slowly get into the tub. Stay in the room while they bathe to ensure safety and to be on hand to help wash places that aren’t easy to reach.
If they can’t wash independently, wash your loved one’s hands, feet, face and private area daily, keeping areas you’re not actively washing covered with a warm towel to maintain dignity. This bathing can be done in the bathroom or on the bed, depending on how well they can get around.
Your loved one probably will not need a whole-body wash daily, and you can extend the time between full-body bathing with products like dry shampoo. Extending time between full-body washes can take stress off both you and your loved one. Just make sure you give them a full bath or shower two or three times a week.
If your loved one shaved prior to needing assistance, it’s important to keep up this ritual to maintain dignity and wellness. Ensure they are seated comfortably, liberally apply shave gel or cream to ensure sensitive skin isn’t cut or irritated, and then shave your loved one with a razor designed for caregivers. Your razor should have a safety comb and an easy-to-grip handle. After shaving, apply aftershave or lotion to your loved one’s skin.
Try an electric razor and an aftershave.
Some medicines, lack of movement and age can all make your loved one’s skin especially sensitive and dry. That’s why it’s important to choose skin care products designed with sensitive and dry skin in mind. Look for products that are moisturizing and free of potentially irritating ingredients like alcohol, alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) fragrances, and are labeled as “sensitive” or “gentle.”
Taking on your loved one’s bathing and grooming can be a challenge, both physically and emotionally. But it’s worth the effort. They will look and feel better, giving their sense of well-being—and your own—a boost.
Remember, it’s important to take time out to care for yourself when you’re caring for someone else. Take a look at a few simple self-care strategies to help you feel your best for your loved one.
Published September 2022.