Personal Hygiene

Mayor's Office of Employee Assistance
Personal Hygiene

Maintaining personal hygiene enhances an individual’s physical and emotional well-being. Helping your elder to smell fresh and look their best can be a great morale booster for both your elder and you. More importantly, it keeps them healthy.

Good Hygiene…

  • Helps keep the skin intact and thus fights infection and prevents injuries

  • Removes substances from the skin in which bacteria could grow, thereby reducing the risk of infection

  • Keeps the mouth and gums healthy, which makes eating easier and promotes good nutrition

  • Makes the person more comfortable and relaxed

  • Boosts the person’s morale


    Keeping a person’s hair clean is difficult if they are confined to a bed or unable to get to a shower or sink. But you can do it with the aide of a shampoo trough that you can make or buy from a home care supply store.

    When shampooing in bed:

  • Gather all the necessary equipment

  • Place absorbent towels and a waterproof sheet over a pillow

  • Put a shampoo basin or an inflatable sink on top of this

  • Make sure the person’s head and shoulders are at the edge of the bed

  • Use pitchers of warm water to rinse

  • Be careful not to bend the elder’s head back or it may cut off the blood supply.


  • Raise the head of the bed. Or, if a doctor doesn’t recommend this, turn the person on his/her side.

  • Tuck a towel under the chin.

  • Use a soft toothbrush.

  • Brushing movement should be away from the gums.


  • To removing the upper palate: Grasp the inner and outer surfaces on both sides of the plate. Insert your forefingers over the upper edge of the plate and press until the seal breaks between the denture and the gums. Pull the plate forward to remove.

  • To removing the lower plate: Grasp the inner and outer surfaces with the thumb and forefinger. Turn slightly and pull the denture up and out.

  • To clean dentures: Put a towel in a basin half-filled with warm water. Use a stiff brush and scrub dentures carefully with toothpaste and rinse.

  • To insert dentures: Wet dentures with cool water. Apply even, gentle pressure on both sides of the upper palate to work it into place in the person’s mouth. Insert lower dentures last.

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