Tips for Nurses: Hygiene for Elderly

One of the many issues an aging person faces is their hygiene. Since their body is getting weak physically and mentally, a family or caregiver nurses aid is essential for maintaining their hygiene.


There are three main aspects of an elders hygiene that needs focus. These are bathing, oral health, and diaper change.



Bathing is an important part of every person's hygiene, especially for the aging person. With the help of a nurse or a caregiver, this should not be a problem for the elderly.


The nurse or the caregiver should prepare first the things needed in one place before they start bathing the elderly. This will save them time and makes it fast.


The temperature of the water to be used should also be tested using the back of the hand. It shouldn’t be too cold or too warm for the elderly.  


Prepare at bay a large warm blanket to prevent chills. It should immediately cover the body to dry them off before changing into comfortable clothes.


The time after the bath is considered as a dangerous time for the aging people since it is when chances of falling and slipping are higher. The nurse or caregiver should be extra careful in supporting the elders when walking out of the bathroom.



The elderlies are no exception when it comes to oral health. Old people with cognitive limitations should be encouraged to continue dental care. They should be assisted by a nurse or a caregiver when brushing their teeth, two to three times a day.


An electric or battery-operated toothbrush can be used by the elderly. For those with removable prostheses, it should be removed, checked and cleaned before bed then returned to the mouth in the morning.



Since most elderly are having a hard time to urinate and defecate, wearing an adult diaper is helpful for them. To change their diaper, the nurse or caregiver should wash and dry their hands first. They should also put on a pair of gloves.


While the person is lying on their back, they should unfasten the straps, adhesive tape, or Velcro of the diaper. Then they should tuck the farthest side of the person’s hip. With one hand on the person’s hip and the other on their shoulder, the person is rolled away from the carer. The adult diaper is then rolled toward the carer and should be inward to prevent contaminating the bedsheet with urine or stool. The soiled diaper is put in the appropriate garbage bag.


Then, the diaper area is cleaned with moistened wipes, skin cleanser, or disposable cloths, from front to back. The nurse or caregiver should also check for redness, a sign of pressure sore. Afterwards, one side of the new adult diaper is rolled and tucked under the old person’s side while the rest of the diaper is flattened and positioned on the bed. The person is rolled toward the carer onto the diaper and the rolled upside of the diaper is pulled out. Remove wrinkles and fasten the diaper as directed. Next, the gloves are removed and thrown in a garbage bag. The nurse or caregiver should not forget to wash their hands and cover the old person with a clean sheet or blanket.


Hygiene is an important aspect of health across the lifespan. Thus, assisting the elderly in their hygiene needs will promote their health and prevent illness.


 Published at: 11/07/2017