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Home > Health Library > Caregiving: Washing and Styling Hair
Having clean hair that is styled in a way that your loved one likes can help your loved one feel fresh and well-groomed. It may help the person feel good about how he or she looks and feel ready to see visitors.
If the person you care for is able to leave the home, ask if he or she would like to go to the salon or barber shop. It's part of the person's routine, and it can be a chance to see and meet other people. If the person can't go out but can pay for a stylist, think about asking if the stylist will come to the home.
You might want to ask the stylist or barber to show you some basic skills for cutting and styling hair. Then you can do the styling yourself if you want to.
If you can't get professional help, try to find a simple style that pleases your loved one and is easy for you to maintain. In some cases, a short hair style may look best and be easier to care for.
Try to wash the person's hair as often as he or she wants, or at least twice a week. You can use a no-rinse shampoo or a dry shampoo when you can't use water.
When washing your loved one's hair, let the person do as much of the washing and combing as possible. You will need to do this task if he or she can't move well or can't lift his or her arms.
You may be able to shampoo the hair when you help the person take a shower. You can buy a hair-washing tray at a medical supply store to help you wash hair at the sink.
If you are washing the person's hair in bed, you can place a waterproof sheet on top of the bed sheets and blanket to keep the bedding dry. You might want to use a hair-washing basin. Some of them are inflatable.
If your loved one has dementia
Some people who have dementia don't like the feeling of water on their head or face. Try to keep water off of the person's face. If the person doesn't want his or her hair washed with water, use a dry shampoo or a no-rinse shampoo.
Gather your supplies. Depending on where you will wash the person's hair, you may need:
In a chair at a sink
In a bed
Current as of:
March 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineGayle E. Stauffer, RN - Registered Nurse
Current as of: March 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Gayle E. Stauffer, RN - Registered Nurse
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