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Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

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Tips for Easier Personal Care With Alzheimer’s

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Easier Bathing

Your loved one might not need a complete bath every day. A sponge bath may be enough. But you can follow these tips when she does need a regular one.

  • Always check the temperature of the water in the bath or shower.
  • If you give her a bath in the tub, consider using a bath chair with handrails. Also, place rubber mats in the tub so she doesn’t slip.
  • Keep the bathroom warm and well-lit.
  • Remove or secure throw rugs to prevent falls.
  • If your loved one is too heavy for you to move easily, or if she can’t move herself, you might need special equipment. Ask your doctor for advice on how to safely bathe her.

Hair Care and Shaving

  • You can try to wash your loved one's hair in the sink, which might help if he prefers baths to showers. You can also try using a dry shampoo.
  • A visit to the salon or barbershop might be fun if he's able to take the trip there with you.
  • Use an electric razor for shaving to lower the risk of cuts, especially if he's taking blood-thinning medicines.

Dental Care

  • Brush her teeth daily. If she wears dentures, clean them every day. Make sure the dentures fit properly, and check gums for sores or red areas.
  • If she won’t open her mouth, brush just the outsides of her teeth. Ask your dentist for advice on how to give good dental care.
  • If she brushes her own teeth, you can help by putting the toothpaste on the brush.

Using the Toilet

  • Install safety features that make it easier for her to go, such as grab bars and raised toilet seats.
  • A bedside commode or urinal might help if she has trouble getting to the bathroom, especially at night.
  • Schedule routine bathroom visits to avoid accidents.
  • Tell the doctor if your loved one loses bowel or bladder control. Medication might help for these problems.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on June 28, 2014
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