Founder at Group Homes Australia Tamar Krebs shares 5 personal care tips for supporting your loved one living with dementia.
Personal care can be one of the most stressful tasks that needs to be done everyday when caring for someone living with dementia. The challenge is that we look at it as a task. Taking a few steps back and seeing the whole person allows us to have insight into the types of strategies we can use.
It’s important to stay away from a one sized fits all approach. Simply having a shower may not be the goal, it may be to ensure your loved one is clean, their dignity is still in tact and that they were not agitated by the experience.
Here are a few tips for supporting your loved one with personal care tasks as their primary carer:
(1) Time of day
If your loved one does not like showering at a certain time of day, ask them when they would prefer to shower. This can help you to understand when they would like to shower as well as help your loved one exercise choice in their life.
(2) Create a routine before their shower
Whether this is having a cup of tea, laying out clothing, brushing teeth or something more specific to them, a routine can help your loved one get into right mindset for personal care.
(3) Positive touch
The experience of showering can be one of positive touch. Being gentle and patient can go a long way. Try to think about it as a role, rather than the many tasks of personal care.
(4) Turn a shower into an intimate experience
If you are caring for your husband/wife/partner, you can step into the shower with your loved one to help them feel more comfortable with the experience.
(5) Look for other ways to achieve cleanliness
If having a shower becomes too confronting or a combative experience, look for other ways to achieve cleanliness, for example, a hot soapy cloth or clean clothes.