Personal care and hygiene consist of the routine your loved one follows to look and feel his or her best. In home care, the most common types of personal care include:

  • Getting up and getting dressed in the morning and getting ready for bed at night
  • Brushing teeth (2-3 times per day)
  • Shaving
  • Applying Makeup
  • Keeping hands clean throughout the day
  • Going to the bathroom or putting on/changing briefs/adult diapers
  • Showering or bathing (3 times per week)

Caring for fingernails and toenails as needed (if your loved one is diabetic, let a podiatrist handle the nail care).

Before your loved one leaves any of the Calgary, AB hospitals, talk to the nursing staff or the physical therapy staff to get an idea of his/her level of independence with personal care. If you don’t think you can manage your loved one’s care by yourself, speak up before he/she is discharged from one of the Calgary, Alberta hospitals. They can help you plan for additional home care, most commonly provided by Alberta Health Services home care. This home care is typically provided by a certified health care aide, which will provide non-medical care. You may also look into private home care as an option for additional support. For patients who require additional support or who lack a safe home environment, Calgary’s Kerby Centre Seniors Guide has a list of Calgary, AB nursing facilities, assisted living facilities or a rehabilitation centre which may be a good alternative.

Preparing the Bathroom

The bathroom is the room in the house where people handle most of their physical care. If your loved one is still relatively independent, you can help him/her by making sure the bathroom is as user-friendly as possible.

Some suggestions for enhancing your bathroom include placing grab bars inside the tub or the shower and on the wall next to the toilet. A discharged patient should never use the towel rack to pull themselves up or to support his or her weight. The towel rack is not installed to bear the weight of a person and it may pull away from the wall, causing your loved one to lose his balance and fall. Grab bars, on the other hand, are designed specifically to withstand a certain amount of weight and pressure, and individuals can safely rely on them. There are many specialty companies in Calgary, Alberta who can assist with installation for home safety.

Getting up and down from a low toilet seat can be difficult for someone who is weak or who suffers from joint pain due to arthritis. It may help to purchase a toilet riser. A toilet riser is like a bedside commode without the bucket to catch waste material. It goes over the toilet, providing individuals a seat several inches higher than the average toilet. If your loved one has trouble making it to the bathroom on time, you may also want to purchase a plastic urinal or handheld plastic container used to catch urine. A urinal can be used in any room in the house.

Once you are satisfied that your loved one will be safe using the toilet, turn your attention to bathing and showering. A non-slip mat in and beside the tub may make the process of getting clean easier and less anxiety-provoking for your loved one. Even people who are in the best of health sometimes slip and fall on slick floors, and if a person is unsteady on his or her feet, the chances of a fall are significantly increased.

Another thing you can do to make the bathroom safer is to purchase a tub bench. A tub bench is a bench about the height of an average chair. It enables individuals to sit while showering. Even if your loved one is unsure that he is strong enough to shower standing up, it doesn’t hurt to have the bench available in case of emergencies. People who are discharged from one of the Calgary hospitals after a significant illness or injury are often weaker than they realize. Having a tub bench in place allows an individual the freedom to shower while standing if he or she pleases while giving him or her a safe place to rest if they become tired or lose strength in their legs.

If your loved one requires stand-by assistance, you or a caregiver (which Home Care Assistance Calgary, Alberta can provide) need to be present to provide physical assistance and coaching when necessary. Always allow the patient to do as much as possible for themselves but be ready to lend a helping hand if they can step out of the tub on their own.

Remember you don’t have to be a hero and do everything alone. Keep the lines of communication open with your family and if you need extra help, ask for it. Otherwise, you are at the risk of becoming ill or injured yourself. If you or a loved one is needing additional support with personal care, we are experts in this area. Please call our local home care office to find out more on how we can assist your loved one with a professional, certified and caring health care aide in Calgary, Ab.

For more information on our services, contact Home Care Assistance Calgary at 403-301-3777.

Chuck Terlesky

Home Care Assistance Calgary

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