As a family caregiver, are you overlooking anything that your mom cannot do on her own? You help her with her care needs, but you could be forgetting some of the personal care tasks that family members often don’t think about.
You can’t imagine not being able to brush and floss your teeth properly. It’s often one of the first things to happen when arthritis worsens. Your mom cannot properly hold a toothbrush. Flossing her teeth is impossible. But, she doesn’t tell you that she can’t do it.
Consider purchasing items that make it easier for her. An electric toothbrush with a long neck and wide, rounded handle is easier to hold when arthritis impacts the grip. A water flosser may be easier for her to manage as the water shoots between the teeth and doesn’t require her to manipulate the string between her teeth.
If she doesn’t like the idea of a water flosser, look into floss picks instead. They have the dental floss already attached and the long pick doesn’t require her to reach into the back of her mouth. If she doesn’t want disposable picks, she can get a flosser that is reusable, but she has to load the floss herself.
You see your mom’s hands all day, so you know they’re trim. She wears socks, so you haven’t seen her toenails in years. Are they in good shape or is she failing to trim them?
If your mom’s flexibility isn’t the same as when she was younger, she may not be trimming her toenails. As they grow out, they’ll curl. They may be brittle and cracked.
Toenails that aren’t properly trimmed can lead to ingrown toenails. They’re incredibly painful and can lead to an infection. Plus, the pain can make it hard for your mom to walk around.
Trim your mom’s toenails straight across. Aim to cut them just short enough that they do not extend past the end of the toe.
Dry skin is common as you age. Collagen production declines, and your mom’s skin gets dry and develops that crepe-like appearance. After showering, she should apply moisturizer. Ideally, apply it when her skin is still wet.
Use a skin cream that doesn’t contain heavy fragrances or chemical ingredients. Look for a paraben-free, sulfate-free option that contains coconut oil, shea butter, or almond oil to provide the moisture her skin needs.
Does your mom want you to provide personal care or does it bother her? Hire professional personal care at home aides to help her with her hygiene and grooming care needs. She’ll be more at ease, and you’ll know she’s getting the best possible care.
Do you have additional questions? Call a home care agency and ask a personal care at home specialist about prices, services, and anything else you want to know.