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How Can Poor Hygiene Affect Seniors and How to Overcome Its Challenges


Observing good hygiene is important for everyone at any age. Being clean and looking presentable doesn’t only make a good impact on the people you meet but it also keeps your body healthy. For example, good hygiene keeps harmful bacteria at bay, avoiding skin issues such as infections or unknown rashes. Cleaning oneself doesn’t only benefit you physically but mentally as well; having a routine to follow every day can be a good mental exercise however having trouble maintaining one can tell you about a person’s mental health. However, as we age, maintaining good hygiene can get quite difficult—especially for seniors.

Effects of Poor Hygiene


Poor hygiene can be showering infrequently, wearing dirty clothes and garments, not paying extra attention in washing the feet or delicate areas, not observing oral care, and not airing one’s shoes. It can negatively affect a person’s health and wellness.


Bad Breath


Halitosis or commonly known as bad breath is an effect of not brushing the teeth, flossing, or not consistently observing good oral care. Food particles can get stuck in the teeth, giving bacteria food. Once they digest, they produce a strong and unpleasant odor associated with halitosis.


It Affects Your Appearance


Poor hygiene can affect how people perceive others. Research shows that people decide if a person is trustworthy, powerful, and promiscuous based on their appearance. Poorly presenting oneself can make others perceive you incorrectly.


Negatively Affecting Social and Professional Life


Body odor and getting illness such as coughs due to poor hygiene can make it hard for a person to make connections, and relationships, and to function in any social environment. This can lead to lower self-esteem and confidence oneself.


Negative Impact on the Mental Health


Poor hygiene affects a person’s social and professional life- they could experience isolation leading to poor mental health. They could develop depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues due to loneliness. However, poor hygiene can also be a sign that a person is going through a rough patch mentally (a sign of depression).


How Do We Help?


Seniors have a hard time keeping up a good routine of maintaining good hygiene due to a variety of reasons. It can be caused by injuries, diseases, or age-related decline but these shouldn’t stop them from taking good care of themselves. As a caregiver, you will need to assist with lots of patience and compassion. Here are some tips to aid your client or aging loved one.


Make a Routine


Consistently keeping up good hygiene is a good way to create a routine. Make things easier for your client or senior loved one by preparing everything beforehand such as keeping the water at a temperature that they like, and laying out their clothes so they can wear them immediately and comfortably. Remember to never make it seem like doing this routine is a chore. Never rush things and let your client or loved one take their time.


Use Assistive Devices


Using assistive devices and hygiene aids can provide support to seniors in taking care of themselves. This can make personal grooming easier without taking away their independence.


Don’t Forget to Moisturize


Aging skin tends to become thin and dry. This makes the skin brittle and susceptible to bruises and tears that take longer to heal as we age. Using moisturizing gels, lotions, and such can provide moisture and hydration to the skin. This can aid in avoiding skin issues such as itching. It’s important to avoid using scented products to avoid skin and nasal irritations.


Never Forget Dental Care


Dental care is often overlooked when taking care of seniors. Some may not have their natural teeth but gum health is still important. If they can, always remind and assist them with brushing their teeth (if assistance is needed). If your client or senior loved one uses dentures, ensure that it is cleaned and soaked every night. Don’t forget to clean their gums after removing their dentures as well.


Create a Safe Environment


Ensure your client or elderly loved one’s safety by installing safety equipment in places such as the bathroom and bedroom. Install good lighting, grab bars, non-skid surfaces, shower benches, etc. This can help prevent accidents and injuries.


Keep in mind that seniors are individuals that have unique personalities and that could affect the process of helping them but always remember to do these tips with a lot of patience and compassion.


Are you interested in assisting and caring for senior citizens in their homes? Unified Pledge provides in-home senior care that any senior can benefit from. Unified Pledge is a leading provider of in-home senior care solutions in Palm Beach County and Broward County. We offer free, no-obligation in-home consultations, cost estimates, and insurance policy benefit reviews.


We also provide other types of home care services such as in-home nurse care, long-term care, and physical therapy.


Give us a call so we can help you create a custom home care solution for yourself or your loved one.

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