Good Care Group | Personal care needs of the elderly

Personal care needs of the elderly

As we age, many people need help with the daily tasks of maintaining personal hygiene. Personal care includes daily tasks of bathing, continence care (toileting), skin routines and getting dressed. Good personal hygiene is important for health and well-being. It also helps build self-esteem and confidence. Poor personal hygiene can cause uncomfortable infections and skin complaints.

At The Good Care Group our expertly trained carers can provide sensitive and respectful home care services. Care is focused on ensuring dignity and independence, in the familiar surroundings of your loved one’s own home.  Our highly personalised care plan will capture all their needs and particular preferences.

This could include how, when and where they would like the care and support they need. The care plan covers all their daily routines and how they wish to live their life. There really is nowhere better to receive care and support than in your own home. A familiar team of carers will get to know you and your personal care needs.

Here we explore the personal care definition and what does personal care mean. We aim to help you and your family plan what is needed, and whether a live-in care service will meet your care needs.

What is personal care?

The personal care definition is a very broad term used to describe several areas of care and support that are personal and sensitive. In general terms it refers to the tasks of grooming, toileting and personal hygiene.

When it becomes clear that either your loved one or parents are struggling with their own personal care, it can be an unsettling time for families. Reduced independence, mobility issues and living with specialist conditions, like dementia all impact a person’s ability to complete these tasks.

Personal care can be difficult for family members to carry out. Intimate and intrusive clinical tasks can be a challenge to family members who are not necessarily experienced in these routines. It can cause embarrassment for those who need help with personal care, and their family members.  Therefore, many families choose to have a professional carer who is trained in personal care services to carry out these private tasks.

Specific personal care tasks include:

  • Washing and bathing
  • Dressing
  • Skincare – including make-up
  • Grooming – hair and shaving
  • Oral care
  • Toileting
  • Continence care

Whilst many older people may be resistant to receiving this type of care, the benefits far outweigh any reservations. Poor hygiene can cause discomfort, infections, skin issues and will impact a person’s self-esteem and confidence here are several risks associated with inadequate personal care for elderly people, including:

  • Skin infections
  • Roundworm, threadworm and hookworm
  • Body odour
  • Head lice
  • Scabies
  • Colds and flu
  • Pneumonia

A professional carer is trained to provide care and support that is tailored to an individual’s needs, routines and preferences. Carers understand likes and dislikes and provide help with personal care in a sensitive and dignified way. They will ensure routines are maintained so that risks of poor hygiene are avoided.

What personal care does my loved one need?

The personal care required will depend on a person’s level of independence and capacity to complete daily tasks on their own. Some will just require supervision and should be encouraged to complete tasks as independently as possible. Support given should be guided by them. Others will need more hands-on assistance to enable care tasks to be completed safely. It is important that the person’s preferences and emotional state is considered. This will help reduce anxiety and enable tasks to be completed safely, calmly and with ease.

Our comprehensive care planning process will carefully and sensitively determine care needs. This starts with a thorough assessment of a person’s ability to complete daily personal care tasks by our expert care manager. The assessment will highlight the support needed, whilst identifying choices and preferences. Any equipment needed to make tasks easier to complete will be included. Recommendations may be made for home adaptations.

Following an assessment of you or your loved one’s needs, we will produce a care plan that will guide our carer in providing care services. These will include all existing routines, preferences and choices, for example what shampoo to use or when they wish to get dressed.


“Lee was sensitive and kind in his approach to my mother’s personal care. He was her companion, keeping her interested, stimulated and happy. When she lost weight he altered her clothes so she could feel good about her appearance.”

A Scott

Personal care needs of the elderly

There are several personal care needs elderly people have. The Good Care Group can support all home and personal care needs, including nursing personal care. Here we provide tips on how family carers can help with the personal care needs of their loved ones.

Bathing, showering and oral care

Our live-in carer will support your loved one to maintain a frequent bathing and/or showering routine to maintain good personal hygiene. Carers can help them to shower, if that is their preference, whilst providing all the physical support needed.

Our carer will also support them to maintain excellent daily oral hygiene, including help with denture care. They will facilitate regular visits to the dental practice or visits from the dentist at home.

Carers will encourage a positive attitude to personal hygiene whilst ensuring all their choices are respected.

There are some simple steps you can take if you are providing personal care to your loved one:

  • Make bathing/showering a relaxing activity
  • Respect their preference to either bath or shower
  • Use their favourite bathing products
  • Use music to create a relaxing environment
  • Explain the process of personal care so they know what is happening. This is very important for those living with dementia
  • Use a towel to cover private areas when possible
  • Ensure they are properly dry to avoid skin problems

Toileting and continence care

Our carers are trained to be sensitive and compassionate when supporting people to visit the toilet. If they wear continence pads, our carers will vigilantly monitor the changing of these. They will provide gentle encouragement and support that means a healthy routine is maintained. This will eliminate any possible infection and sores. If they are in bed and need a bed pan or to use a commode our carer is on hand to support any time of the day or night.

Tips for helping your loved one with continence care:

  • Change any wet pads or soiled clothes in good time to avoid discomfort
  • Recognise how limited mobility impacts their ability to get to the bathroom in time
  • Contact your local continence advisor for help and suppor

Foot care

Our carer will ensure their nails and feet are tip top! They will monitor your loved ones needs to ensure their nails are well maintained. They will care for your feet including providing relaxing foot massage and moisturising. If they are diabetic or need more specialist care, our professional carer will organise this in partnership with a local chiropodist.

How to help your loved one with foot care:

  • Make sure they regularly visit a local chiropodist, or have one visit them at home
  • Give regular pedicures to keep nails trimmed and foot skin in good condition
  • Moisturise feet regularly to minimise hard skin

Grooming and dressing

We know how important it is for self-esteem for your loved one to maintain their personal appearance. Not being well groomed can have a very negative impact on a person’s mood and well-being.

Our professional carer will ensure their hair is clean and styled to their personal preference. They will take them to the hairdresser or organise to visit at home for treatments and cutting. Carers will support with their make-up routine and will help you to apply. They will help with shaving, just as they always have.

Whether specialist creams need to be applied regularly or simply like to have a daily refresh our carer will help with applying of creams and lotions. This will help skin moisture and reduce dryness.

Our professional carer will respect your loved ones daily routine in terms of when and where they wish to get dressed and undressed. They will help decide what to wear and support with the clothes they wish to wear.

Steps you can take to support your loved one with grooming:

  • Make sure their hair is always clean, hair length is well maintained to their preference and hair is brushed regularly
  • Ensure they have their favourite body lotions, and these are applied as they wish!
  • Paint their nails if they wish
  • Always allow them to get dressed as they wish
  • Provide positive encouragement to maintain a good routine

Safety and personal care

It is important that safety is considered when providing personal care services. Many people are living with mobility or frailty concerns, that impact how home personal care is provided. Our professional carers are highly trained in moving and handling. This always ensures safe mobilisation and movement around the home.

During personal care there are additional safety measures that need to be taken in the bathroom, including:

  • Ensuring the floor is not wet and slippery
  • Making sure the bathroom is warm
  • Ensuring the water temperature is not too hot and not too cold
  • Making sure that any aids are safely fitted, for example a bath hoist
  • If you are using any equipment, make sure you follow instructions and use safely

Dementia & Alzheimer’s personal care needs

Personal care tasks can be a source of anxiety and confusion for people living with dementia. As dementia progresses completing personal care can become challenging for you and your loved one.

It is important that you respect their wishes, so they feel in control of the situation. Allowing sufficient time to complete tasks, like washing and dressing is very important. If they feel rushed this will only increase levels of anxiety. Any care task should be completed calmly and with dignity. Creating a calming and relaxing environment will help stimulate positive behaviour. Make the experience positive by focusing on what they can do, not what they cannot. Respecting their privacy and avoiding embarrassment is critical to providing personal care for someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

All our professional carers complete our marketing leading dementia training programme. This means they are equipped with the skills to help support those living with dementia, including meeting their personal care needs. They provide gentle encouragement and support that aims to build trust. This means the person is more receptive to care tasks being completed. Their approach is both sensitive and dignified, whilst building self-esteem. Care is focused on a person being encouraged to continue to do what they can, with support for tasks they cannot.

Why not get in touch with our friendly team near you to see how we can help you with personal care needs of elderly? Call 03330 605 255 – we are here 24 hours a day.

Personal care services

There are several ways in which live-in care can be provided to those who need home personal care:

24-hour live-in care is suitable for someone living with specialist or advancing care needs. It gives them comfort that they have around the clock care. Care is provided from a team of two highly trained carers, who are guided by a personalised plan of care.

Nurse-led live-in care is care provided by competent and trained carers. They are equipped to deliver some clinical tasks usually offered by a nurse. The specialist care package is overseen by clinical experts. They will closely monitor and supervise the service, so you only receive the highest quality clinical care.

Complex live-in care is suitable for those who are living with medical or specialist conditions, such as dementia or motor neurone disease. There is no need to go into a care home to receive this type of care safely and improve your independence.

Companionship care is care at home that is focused on providing a perfectly matched care team. They will give all the company and companionship needed. This stops feelings of loneliness and isolation commonly experienced by older people. Our carer will facilitate socialisation and support with hobbies to maintain independence. If you need to go away on holiday, they will support you to do this.

Convalescent care is for people who are recovering from surgery, an accident or illness. If you need support with post-operative recovery, they help you to meet your goals.

Respite care can provide a family carer with a much-needed break from caring for a loved one. For a minimum of two weeks, it can also be used as an opportunity to see how live-in care works. You can then decide if it is right for you and your family.

End-of-life care/palliative care helps people with life-limiting conditions to live comfortably at home with choice and dignity. It means people can be cared for using a specialise end-of-life care pathway. This can avoid the need to move into a hospice or receive long- term care in a hospital.

Whats included in our live-in personal care services

Our carers will support your loved one to live well in their own home. They will help with all day-to-day tasks so you can have an improved quality of life:

  • Companionship
  • Specialist care of conditions - for example dementia and Parkinson’s
  • Expert nurse-led care
  • Managing and administering medications
  • Safe mobility and movement in and out of the home
  • Planning and cooking meals
  • Facilitating social arrangements and activities
  • Household domestic tasks – for example laundry and cleaning
  • Pet care

Arranging personal support for a loved one

If you realise help with personal care is needed, you will need to decide whether to receive that care at home or move into a residential care home. There are many benefits to receiving care at home if you need support with daily living.

One-to-one care cannot be achieved in a care home. Personal care will be carried out by a number of different carers depending on who is on shift on a particular day. With live-in care provided by a dedicated care team who will understand and respect all identified care needs. We take the time to match carefully a suitable carer who will best meet those specific needs. You are not given the choice in a care home.

There are many reasons why our clients choose us for personal care needs for the elderly:

Expertly trained carers

All our carers are trained in how to provide care focused on dignity and independence. They adapt to their clients existing routines, while finding new ways to positively improve their health, well-being, and overall enjoyment. Our leading training programme means carers understand how to support personal care for those living with specialist conditions, like dementia and Parkinson’s or for those who require clinical nurse-led care.

A perfectly matched care team

When receiving care at home, we know how important it is to get the care team right. We will meet with you and your family to understand not just the personal care needs, but more importantly lifestyle choices and preferences. This understanding allows us to match a live-in care team who has the expertise to meet not only the care and support needs, but also shares common interests and values adding enjoyment and fulfilment to how you live your life at home. Our carers are focused on enhancing overall quality of life.

Continuity of care

With our home personal care services, your loved one will receive care on a one-to-one basis from a team of the same carers. Given the sensitive nature of this type of care it gives reassurance that the same care team, who have really got to understand their needs and preferences, will be there to support your loved one.

Support with specialist conditions

When providing personal care to someone living with dementia, we are aware of the anxiety and upset this may cause. Our carers are adaptable and flexible providing the discreet gentle encouragement so your loved one is comfortable. They are trained to work positively with dementia to reduce stress and anxiety. They promote a calm environment, whilst proactively building self-esteem.

Improving health outcomes

Our carers are vigilant in monitoring and identifying early signs of pressures sores. They have reduced their rate of occurrence by 75% for our clients compared to an average care home or hospital setting. Every care plan will consider the risk of pressure sores and other medical conditions. Our carer will proactively and effectively manage this for you to ensure your optimum health and comfort.

Highest rated service by care regulators in England and Scotland

The Good Care Group is the only dedicated live-in care provider in England to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) across all five categories – safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. In Scotland our service has been inspected by the Care Inspectorate (CI), receiving the highest rating of a 6 (Excellent) for Quality of Care and Support and 5 (Very Good) for Staffing and Management and Leadership. We know this provides families with peace of mind that their loved one is receiving the best possible care.

A fully managed and regulated care service

Unlike introduction agencies, who are not regulated by CQC or the CI, all our live-in carers are directly employed and managed by us. We ensure they are supervised by an experienced manager and supported by clinical experts – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  By employing are carers they are engaged in our high-quality approach to delivering care at home and decide to stay with us longer than many carers who work for an introduction agency. This means you get continuity of care and support, without constantly changing carers – peace of mind for everyone.

Call our helpful and friendly team

If you would like to find out how we can help you and your family with your personal care needs, call our home care team today. We can help you understand the options available to you.

0203 728 7577

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