The importance of self care in the elderly.

In order for our elderly loved ones to maintain their dignity and feelings of self-worth as they age, it is important to help them foster a good personal self care regime.


When we think of self care, we tend to think of grooming, but there are many factors involved. Grooming is certainly one aspect, but there is also bathing, hygiene (including oral hygiene), toileting/continence care and dressing.

When you are unhappy with your appearance, it can significantly impact how you feel and present yourself. Being well groomed and maintaining good personal hygiene, is one way we can support the elderly and promote positive feelings of self.

Requiring assistance to maintain one’s grooming and personal hygiene can be embarrassing and debilitating for an elderly person, so it’s important to foster feelings of trust and respect. As humans we all value our dignity, so we need to promote that by being calm, gentle and relaxed when we approach self care.

Each individual’s grooming and self care needs will vary depending on their overall health and mobility. It’s essential to assess the level of help required and then discuss with the person involved. Good communication is imperative, especially when discussing something that is typically private. Ask the person how they would like to receive help and provided they are safe to do so, let them be as independent as they can.

Some practical tips for assisting your elderly loved one:


  • Ensure the room is warm and floor is not slippery or wet
  • Check water temperature – not too hot or cold
  • Make sure the soap, washer and towel are within easy reach
  • Be gentle – an elderly person’s skin is fragile and can tear/mark easily
  • Ask your loved one if they would like their hair washed. They may not appreciate their freshly set hair being ruined!
  • Apply a good moisturiser to skin from top to toe to prevent dryness



  • Provide some clothing choices so the elderly person can maintain some independence
  • Lay clothes out so it’s clear what needs to be put on first – underclothes etc
  • Choose clothes that are easy to dress in – i.e. fewer buttons and complex fastenings


  • If required, make sure the correct continence aids are available
  • Speak to a continence advisor if you require guidance with this
  • Limited mobility will impact toileting habits, so it’s important to be aware of individual needs 

Oral Hygiene


  • Keep up regular dental appointments
  • Ensure brushing and flossing habits are maintained, whether natural teeth or dentures
  • Wash and massage gums daily with a soft cloth
  • Leave dentures out while sleeping overnight to rest mouth and gums and to prevent possible choking 



  • Make appointments for a regular haircut or other hair maintenance – colour, perm, wash and/or blow wave
  • Provide assistance to shave if necessary or make appointments for the same
  • Provide opportunities for beauty therapy appointments where required – maintain manicure/pedicure, gentle facials, hand or foot massage.

At Homestyle we understand and appreciate the importance of helping our residents to look and feel their best. At many of our homes the residents enjoy regular appointments at our on-site hair salon  providing services such as cut and/or colour, blow wave/set and beard trims. Our Lifestyle Co-ordinators facilitate beauty therapy sessions, where our residents enjoy hand massages and nail care/treatments. Sensory hand/arm massages, using beautiful essential oils, are also offered to our residents.

If you would like to visit one of our Homestyle residences or would like further information please click here.


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