Caregiving at Home


Thinking About Home Care




Caring For Yourself


Setting Up Your Home, Safety and Body Mechanics


Preventing Infection in the Home


Normal and Abnormal Signs of Aging


Meeting Special Needs and Conditions


Death, Dying and Hospice Care


Providing Personal Care


Transfers and Ambulation


Basic Healthcare Skills


Healthy Eating and Hydration


Emergency Care



Chapter 9 – Providing Personal Care

Chapter 9 of Caregiving at Home focuses on assisting with or providing personal care for your loved one, while still helping him maintain independence and dignity. This chapter tells you how to approach your loved one to talk about personal care and describes things to observe for, such as the condition of the skin, mobility, and flexibility. "Providing Personal Care" explains how pressure sores occur, where they are most likely to occur, and how to prevent them.

Bathing promotes good health, helps your loved one to relax, and provides an opportunity for increasing circulation and moving the extremities of a bed-bound person. "Providing Personal Care" shows you how to provide any needed assistance with bathing. Guidelines for using assistive devices in bathing will help you to meet any special needs that your loved one has and make bathing safer.

This chapter includes personal care procedures --the same ones that are used by frontline healthcare workers as they care for their clients. They are presented in a detailed, step-by-step format with full-color photos to guide you. The bathing procedures included in Chapter 9 are:

  • Helping a person transfer to the bathtub
  • Helping a person who can walk to take a shower or tub bath
  • Assisting with a bed bath
  • Shampooing hair
  • Giving a back rub after the bath

Good grooming is very important to a person’s self-esteem. "Providing Personal Care" discusses how to maintain your loved one’s dignity with grooming procedures such as:

  • Combing or brushing hair
  • Providing fingernail care
  • Providing foot care
  • Helping someone shave
  • Assisting with oral care
  • Performing oral care on an unconscious person
  • Flossing teeth
  • Assisting with denture care
  • Reinserting dentures

Your loved one may also need assistance with toileting. The toileting procedures in Chapter 9 will allow you to provide the needed help while giving your loved one as much privacy as possible:

  • Assisting in using a bedpan
  • Assisting in using a urinal
  • Assisting with use of the toilet or a portable commode

Many older adults have problems getting enough sleep and rest. Chapter 9 lists some of the things to observe for if your loved one complains of lack of sleep. It also tells you when bed linens need to be changed and why careful bedmaking and frequent changes of bedding are so important. The chapter includes guidelines for bedmaking, along with step-by-step procedures for making both an occupied and an unoccupied bed.

Assisting with personal care can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Your loved one may be distressed that he needs help with tasks that he has been doing for himself for a lifetime. By explaining the proper procedures for personal care and emphasizing privacy and dignity, Caregiving at Home can help make personal care easier for both you and your loved one.