Family Caregiver's Guide to Washing Hair
As seniors grow more dependent on family caregivers for their daily living needs, they may feel nervous, embarrassed or irritated. Some tasks like washing and bathing may become a battleground between family caregivers and their aging relatives. The good news is that there are several techniques that caregivers can implement that make washing hair a better experience for both. 

If washing hair has become a struggle for family caregivers, they may need to take some time to figure out what’s going on. Common examples include a fear of falling in the shower, or embarrassment at being undressed. Still others resent needing help at all. If they can discover the reason their elderly loved one doesn’t want to wash their hair, they may be able to come up with a solution. 

Here are some tips that will help family caregivers and elderly relatives accomplish the task of washing hair on a regular basis:
  • Making baths or showers a regular part of an elderly person’s week will help them know when to expect it. 
  • Schedule the hair washing for a time when the elderly person is relaxed and in a good mood.
  • Many seniors may be more open to hair washing before a social event or a visit from family or friends.
  • Install a handheld shower head for easier hair washing and rinsing.
  • Consider a bedside sink or other portable sink for hair washing while fully dressed
  • Create a relaxing atmosphere with a warm bathroom, soft music and nice-smelling products.
  • Get everything ready before starting, like towels, shampoo, comb and more. 
  • Ensure the water temperature is pleasant and not too hot or too cold.
  • Let them do as much as they can, like pouring the shampoo, to encourage independence.
  • Explain what step is next before doing it.
  • Don’t leave the elderly person alone during the hair washing.
  • Separate bathing and hair washing, and just wash hair once per week.
  • Use dry shampoo powders or foam shampoos during the week to keep hair clean between washes.
  • Bring in a home care aide to wash their hair because many seniors respond better to outsiders than family members. 
  • Call a mobile salon service to pamper the aging relative with hair care, a pedicure and manicure.  
  • Always be sensitive, speedy and respect the aging adult’s dignity. 
  • Be encouraging and positive, even if they are irritable or frustrated.
Washing hair means much more to an elderly person than just looking good or feeling stylish. It also prevents poor health via skin infections and sores. As long as family caregivers are getting their elderly relatives showered and bathed a few times per week, they can focus on washing their hair once every week or so. If the elderly adult is resistant to washing their hair, family caregivers can get help from home care assistants and others to get the job done. 


If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services in Mount Olympus, UT, contact the caring staff at Interim Healthcare. Call today 801-401-3515.

Author: Michael and Marlena Hawkins, Owners, Interim HealthCare, Salt Lake City, UT 

Interim HealthCare of Salt Lake City has been in business since February 2014, providing in-home personal care and support services that help our elderly and/or disabled neighbors live enriched, safe and independent lives. Our goal is to provide customized care and support services that make it possible for our clients to remain in the comfort of their own homes rather than relocate to an assisted living facility. Interim HealthCare is family owned by Michael and Marlana Hawkins, and is a Veteran Owned Small Business.

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