Poor Hygiene in an Elderly Loved One: Should You Be Alarmed?

elderly couple are brushing their teethIf you noticed a decline in an elderly loved one’s personal hygiene, don’t automatically assume that they have a memory or mobility issue. While illnesses and memory lapses can contribute to the problem, it is also important to take note of their past hygiene habits. If your parent, for instance, is a daily bather and suddenly refuses to wash up or change their clothes, there might be something wrong.

Lafayette senior home health care service providers note that if an elderly parent who used to have good hygiene habits suddenly skips showering altogether and starts to go around with dirty or smelly clothes, it is best to take note of the following things:

Is your loved one anxious or depressed?

If an elderly loved one feels depressed, anxious, or isolated, they may lose interest in how they look or smell. If this is the case, you need to encourage your parent to see a doctor to deal with their anxiety or depression. The right treatment can bring back your loved one’s interest in many things, including personal hygiene.

Do they have memory problems?

Those with memory problems can let several days go by without showering or taking a bath. Note, however, that it can be a cause for alarm if you loved one is scared of or feels threatened when taking a bath. If the elderly has a dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is important to read up on what you can do to help your loved one. You can also consider hiring a caregiver or senior home health care aide.

Is your loved one experiencing a problem with their senses?

As senses tend to change with age, many older adults experience a diminished sense of sight, smell, taste, and hearing. This why some may smell a little unpleasant while others seem to apply too much perfume. If you notice such changes in your loved one, be sure to voice out your concerns in a nice way. You can also get them a caregiver, especially if bathing and grooming take a lot of their effort.

You surely want your loved one to stay clean and healthy, but you don’t have to let hygiene be a driving force in your relationship. Also, don’t hesitate to hire some in-home assistance for bathing and any other tasks your loved one needs help with.