Essential personal hygiene habits for seniors

As people age, many changes occur in the body, making their daily activities more challenging. They may be more forgetful or have physical conditions that keep them from being as active as before. Some of these conditions are normal as we get older, while others can be caused by neglecting to take better care of ourselves and our home environment. For seniors, a healthy lifestyle involves eating food that promotes good health, getting enough rest, and staying active. Another essential factor is one’s hygiene.

Personal hygiene is vital for the elderly to boost their self-esteem and make them feel good about themselves. After all, it is easy to fall into depression when you are unhappy about your appearance, especially when you age. You still want people to be around you and treat you with respect and dignity. Knowing you are clean and well-groomed helps reduce insecurities and improves your self-confidence.

Good personal hygiene reduces the risks of developing skin problems, dental issues, body odour, and other health conditions. Seniors who suffer from incontinence can avoid embarrassing situations and discomfort by wearing incontinence pads that provide protection even for those with more active lifestyles.

Here are some good personal hygiene habits for the elderly:


It’s not hard to neglect or forget hygienic practices if there isn’t a scheduled routine, especially for those of age. For this reason, it makes sense to start by establishing an everyday routine. And an effective way of doing so is by having a checklist that you can mark once you’ve completed a task. It may sound strange, if not a bit extreme, but you’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it can make when you have a daily schedule you can follow.

Safety measures

It’s easy for accidents to occur for the elderly when the proper measures for safety aren’t taken. For example, slippery floors are a common cause of slips and falls in bathroom areas. If you want to avoid this from happening, make sure you start implementing suitable safety measures. Begin by raising the toilet seat a few inches if it’s too low. A few non-slip mats placed strategically on the floor can also prevent slips. Having grab bars installed can also help those with mobility restrictions move a little better.

Clothing and linens

Dexterity or mobility problems can make it a challenge to change clothes. However, they must be replaced every 48 hours at the very least, even for those who don’t bathe daily. It is therefore a good idea to consider investing in clothing that is relatively easy to change into and remove, like those with Velcro. It’s also essential that you change your towels, bedding, and other kinds of linen regularly. After all, dirty linen can become a hive for mould growth and bacteria, and you could get sick if you don’t do it.

Washing hands

Our hands are the part of our bodies that we all use for most physical actions and activities, whether it’s reading a book or eating. While many acknowledge how important it is to wash after using the bathroom or before eating, you must also make it a habit to clean them with hand sanitiser, alcohol, or soap every so often. Doing so will ensure that they’re always clean and keep you from falling ill due to germs and other kinds of bacteria.

Food hygiene

The human body might be able to withstand many things, but it can also get seriously ill from diseases that are food-borne, especially for the elderly. Food hygiene essentially refers to the proper preparation, handling, and storage of food and beverages to ensure that they are safe for consumption and prevent food poisoning from occurring. For starters, you must always separate different types of food from each other and ensure that they’re at the optimal temperature. You must also wash fruits and vegetables before storing or eating them.

Living space

Cleaning isn’t fun—there are no two ways around it. However, it is essential. After all, not only can a cluttered and disorganised living space keep you distracted and increase your stress levels. But it can also be a potential health hazard. On the other hand, a tidy and neat home will make it more aesthetically pleasing, extend your belongings’ lives, make it safer, and promote better well-being. So make sure that you include cleaning as a part of your daily routine. The simple act of tidying up can go a long way in helping you remain healthy.

Ears and nose

Whenever you go outside, the chances are that you’ll breathe in pollutants and, more often than not, some will get stuck inside your nasal cavities. For this reason, it’s a good idea not to forget to clean up your ears and nose using warm water. This is especially important for those who have allergies of any kind. They’re easy to forget but keeping them clean will go a long way in helping you stay healthy.


Places where many people gather can make you more susceptible to illness and disease. After all, germs and bacteria can spread much more easily when there are more people in an area, especially in poorly-ventilated places. And for those of age and whose immunity isn’t as strong as it used to, it’s easy to get sick. If possible, steer clear of getting in close proximity with those who you aren’t familiar with or who may be sick. Doing so will help you minimise the risks of falling ill.


If you want to make your grooming much easier to do, it’s worth considering a more low-maintenance hairstyle. For women, braided or short hairstyles are ideal because they can prevent frequent tangling. On the other hand, men can opt for a buzz cut or something similar. However, because this is often associated with self-esteem and appearance, make sure you choose one that you like.

Oral hygiene

Everyone knows how painful toothaches can be. When your teeth hurt, your entire body is affected. For the elderly, tooth decay is expected, making it even more important to practise proper oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day is a must for those who have maintained their teeth. It is also best to floss regularly to remove leftover food particles between the teeth. For dentures and implants, dentists can give specific recommendations on how to take care of them. Regular visits to the dentist help avoid dental problems, preferably once every six months, even when there are no issues.

Bathing and skincare

It is natural for our skin to get dry and sensitive as we get older. As a result, it is easy for seniors to develop skin problems, including abrasions and wounds, which can be painful and cause discomfort. Thus, it is necessary to keep the skin moisturised by bathing with gentle soap and following it up with a hypoallergenic lotion specific to the skin type. When bathing, avoid scrubbing too much as it can cause the skin to get irritated and even deplete moisture. Bathing regularly and applying lotion to the skin are personal hygiene habits that keep seniors smelling fresh and with healthy skin.

Nail maintenance

Like any other part of the body, the nails are also prone to infections, whether bacterial or fungal. Therefore, seniors must make it a habit to keep their nails well-trimmed, filed, and clean. When washing the hands and feet, it would also help to use a soft brush for the nails to remove dirt that can collect underneath the nails. Toenails must also be regularly clipped, and the feet soaped and washed to keep them clean and reduce the risk of infections.

Personal hygiene is crucial for seniors who are more prone to developing health problems. Practicing these habits improve their quality of life and make them feel much healthier and happier.

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