Caregiver Tips: Hair Care for Seniors


Having clean, freshly cut and freshly styled hair can completely change a person’s energy level, outlook on life and their mood. A hair cut is a way to relax and to feel and look good about yourself. However, as people age, washing and caring for their own hair may become extremely challenging. Seniors, who find it difficult to stand in the shower or to get into and out of a bath tub may find it taxing to wash, dry and style their hair each day. They often need assistance to complete their hair care routine, which a caregiver can give them. If you are a caregiver for an elderly loved one, then helping them with their hair may be a part of their everyday routine. If you are struggling to get their hair just right, or to care for any aspect of their hair, then consider the following tips. These tips can help your loved one feel less stressed during their hair care routine and can make their overall routine easier for you.

Determine if your elderly loved one is still able to care for their own hair

The first tip is to determine if your loved one is still able to do their own hair. If your loved one can still do their own hair, then they may wish to continue to do their own hair on a daily or weekly basis. However, if they tire easily whenever they try to fix their own hair, then they may wish that you help them with the task. Your loved one may not be able to do their own hair anymore either, and may need you to help them with cleaning it, drying it and fixing it each day or week. To figure out what category your loved one falls into it is best to sit down with them when you first begin caring for them and ask them everything they may need help with, or simply observe them and see if they have issues doing their own hair. If they ask for you to help them or if they appear to need help, then offer to learn how to fix their hair.

Determine what hair style your loved one enjoys and works best for them

If your loved one has had the same hairstyle for many years, then it is likely they may not want their hair to change. However, if the style is complex and too complicated for you to learn to do properly, then a simpler, easier hair style may be best for you and them. Simpler hair styles can make your job a lot easier, and can also reduce the stress that your loved ones may feel while you are caring for them. Longer hair styles are not very practical as people age, since hair tends to become very thin and brittle in their old age. If your loved one has a longer hair style, it might be time for a change. Offer to take them to the hair salon to get their hair cut short so that it can be more manageable. If your loved one is a male, then a short or shaved style may work best for them. Short styles on both men and women are easier to clean, dry and style. Plus, if your loved one does get a new, shorter hairdo then they may be able to fix their own hair more easily and only need your help every once in a while.

Determine how often your loved one needs their hair washed

Seniors tend to not need to wash their hair as often as younger generations. They tend to have lower activity rates, perspire less, and have dryer hair. All of these variables contribute to the length of time that your loved one can wait between washes. Many seniors may only need to wash their hair once per week and style once per week. This is especially true for women who have styles that last them for many days. If your loved one has short hair and is not able to shower on their own, then it may be possible for you to wash their hair with a washcloth as they sit down. Simply use rinse-free hair shampoos that you can spray and comb into your loved one’s hair. This type of shampoo can clean their hair without using any water and can leave their hair smelling fresh, clean and oil free.

Look for alternatives for times which you cannot provide the hair care your loved one needs

If you are unable to help your loved one with their hair each day, then search for alternatives for the times when you are unable to help. Friends, family members, community volunteers and home care providers may all be able to come to your loved one’s home to help them with everyday tasks such as hair care.

Providing hair care for your elderly loved ones may be something that you never thought you would have to do. However, if you have become a caregiver for your loved one, then hair care is part of the caregiving experience. For men, providing hair care is usually easy. Simply cut and style their hair on a regular basis to keep them happy. Women can be a bit trickier. Many elderly women have hair styles that they have kept for years. If you are caring for your elderly mother, grandmother or aunt, then it may be necessary to take them to the hair stylist each week or month. If you are unable to take care of their hair on a daily basis, then do not be afraid to take them to the hair dresser to ask for their help. Hair dressers can style your loved one’s hair and, with a little maintenance, you can often keep their hair styled for up to a week. If you are unable to take your loved one to the hair stylist’s office each week, then suggest a new hair style that you are able to maintain. Your loved one may feel adventurous enough to have a new hairdo and love someone else doing their hair for them. In the end, if doing your loved ones hair becomes too stressful, then either ask for help from your family or friends, or try to get your loved one weekly appointments at a hair salon. You may even be able to find a few hair dressers who are willing to make a house call to do your loved one’s hair.

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