Assisting A Dependent Person With Their Hygiene Needs.
Most people will have to look after another person at some time in their life; it may be a baby or small child, a sick friend or relative or even an elderly family member and making sure that their hygiene needs are fully met can be quite challenging both physically and emotionally.
Looking After a Small Child Or Infant.
For many parents this comes naturally and they automatically adjust to having someone so dependent in their lives. Even so this does not suggest that their methods are right, wrong or better than anyone else’s. A small baby will not need bathing very often as long as they have a wash down every day at least however many babies enjoy being bathed and parents like to use this time as part of the bonding process as very small babies sleep for long periods during the day and night. It is vital that you support their tiny body whilst they are in the bath and make sure they are cleaned using a very mild soap (sometimes warm water is enough). Take care to clean around their navel, in all the creases and around the nappy area. A lot of babies dribble milk when are laid down which can accumulate behind the ears and in the neck crease which can become quite sore if they are not cleansed regularly. Just as important as washing is making sure the child is dried properly using a soft non-abrasive towel. Sores and infections can develop very easily in the creases, between the toes and around the groin area if they are not dried properly.
Caring For a Sick Person.
There aren’t many people who haven’t been ill for at least a day in their life and during these periods of sickness sometimes hygiene becomes neglected whilst the person recovers. This isn’t really a problem as long as basic needs are met such as clean teeth, clean face, hands and groin and toilet needs are met. However, for those who are ill for a long time some assistance may be needed. It is not uncommon for those who are ill to be unable to run a bath, get themselves in and out of the bath or even reach up for a towel or down to wash their feet. If you feel comfortable enough with the person to be able to offer some help and support if needed and you feel they would be receptive to your gesture then why not ask them; they may have been waiting for someone to offer all along. Sometimes a simple gesture such as doing some shopping for toiletries (especially for women who are menstruating) can help considerably. If you are looking after someone who is solely dependent and you feel you cannot cope with the demand any longer, please do speak to your GP or practice nurse who will be able to advise you if you are entitled to any help or who you can contact about arranging a private carer.
Supporting an Elderly Relative.
The elderly are often the one part of society that get neglected especially when matters of hygiene are concerned. Not only may they need assistance getting to and from the bathroom but they may be unable to wash and dry their clothes properly, do the shopping, dress themselves, clean the house or otherwise. This can lead to a steep and fast decline of their health and well-being and also to their mental health also. If you are looking after an elderly person is there any way their home or environment can be adapted top make things easier such as fitting a shower or bath downstairs or even making sure they have a washbowl they can move or carry with water in? Don’t forget to maintain their dental health and wash and cut their nails too if they are unable. There are many small actions that can be carried out that can make a huge difference to an elderly person and make their life more pleasant.
Although it can sometimes feel like a thankless task, looking after a dependent is a duty most of us will have to face often more than once in our life.