Keep It Clean

There are many reasons that family members become concerned that an elderly loved one is not doing well.  One issue that is a cause for concern is bathing or rather the lack thereof.  A parent not bathing is a topic that many families are reluctant to discuss as they may be uncomfortable bringing it up. But be assured that this is an issue that many people face.  It is common…but there may be multiple root causes.  It is important to understand why they are reluctant.  Only when you understand that the underlying reasons can you better approach and address successfully.  Let’s look at some of the more common reasons.

 

  1. Fear of Falling

The bathroom can be a very dangerous place. If you have every slipped in the shower, you can relate. Now you pair the environment with physical issues like foot problems, balance issues, arthritis and more…and you have a recipe for disaster and fear.

 

  1. Depression

Often elderly have issues with depression that can zap their get up and go. When you lack motivation, bathing and concerns for your grooming often go by the wayside.

 

  1. Cognitive Issues

Another reason that is very common are memory issues. If your parent has dementia or other cognitive decline, keeping up with a bathing schedule can be extremely difficult.  Realizing that you haven’t taken a bath is not something they may be able to keep up with easily.

 

While it may be a difficult subject to approach, you must develop a plan. For some simply adding grab bars or safety equipment may help. Some may be able to follow a chart.  But if it is a depression or memory issue, it may be time to consider getting help.  As always discuss your concerns with a doctor.  A physician may want to consider medications to help with depression.  It may be time to enlist the help of a caregiver or look into an assisted living community where your loved one can have daily assistance with their activities of daily life like bathing and grooming.  But don’t avoid the topic because it is messy and uncomfortable.  The health benefits of cleanliness are far too important to ignore.

Healthy Aging Tips To Good Oral Health

oral-health

As kids, the trip to the Dentist was one where we were concerned about cavities.  As we age, cavities are less a problem. As we get older, our body matures and so does out mouth, and the changes affect not just the teeth, but the gums and the bone that support our teeth.

Research shows that poor oral health can make chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease worse.  Oral health is often made worse in that senior adults often take medications that lead to dry mouth.

Below are 10 tips to help improve oral health for senior adults:

  1. Stay hydrated, water is best for this and avoid liquids with caffeine especially soda.
  2. Tap water is best: tap water in most areas has fluoride which also helps oral health.
  3. Choose high protein snacks as they help neutralize the acids found in plaque.
  4. Avoid sugars and candy, especially late in the day.
  5. Brush your teeth right before bed and avoid rinsing the toothpaste from your mouth. The toothpaste residue helps fight cavities as we sleep.
  6. If you have partial or full dentures, keep them clean.
  7. Flossing is important to good gum health. If you have problems with flossing, consider a waterpik.
  8. Consider adding a night time mouthwash to your bedtime routine. Choose one with fluoride.
  9. Visit your dentist at least twice per year.
  10. Make sure your dentist has a list of your medications; especially those which cause a dry mouth and make sure you tell your dentist about any pain or problems with flossing.

Following these simple tips can help us keep the teeth we have and prevent problems in the future.  Best of all, we will have a great smile!