5 Oral Hygiene Tips when Caring for Seniors with Dementia

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Socialization, physical activities, and daily hygiene can be difficult for seniors with degenerative neurological disorders, requiring them to rely on family caregivers more. What seems like a simple task could be challenging due to aggression, fear, and other symptoms associated with dementia. Continue reading to find oral hygiene tips you can follow when caring for an elderly parent with dementia. 

1. Use Prompts

Memory aids are excellent tools for helping seniors with dementia conduct various activities, including oral hygiene practices. Before it’s time for your loved one’s grooming routine, send him or her an email or text as a reminder. You could also post notes on the bathroom mirror reminding your loved one to brush his or her teeth, floss, and rinse with mouthwash. The prompts will stand out and provide some consistency when it comes to essential duties and regular routines like oral hygiene. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care service families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

2. Choose the Best Time

Older adults with dementia generally function better at specific times of the day, particularly during the early morning and afternoon hours. They’re more alert, less aggressive, and better able to process new information at these times. Therefore, you should schedule oral hygiene activities during the hours when your loved one is at his or her best to make the tasks easier and lower the risk of agitation and aggression. 

3. Remind Your Parent to Remove Dentures

If your parent has dentures, he or she should remove them prior to brushing, as this can make it less stressful when cleaning the dentures and the mouth. A reminder to remove dentures may seem like an unnecessary tip, but it’s crucial for an aging adult with dementia, especially if your loved one is in the later stages of the disorder and forgets basic steps and actions. 

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional in-home care. Tucson families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

4. Brush Together

Instead of taking over and brushing for your loved one with dementia, encourage him or her to brush independently, and only assist when necessary. To ease the situation and prevent your loved one from skipping toothbrushing and other oral hygiene practices, it would be beneficial to do these steps together. While watching you brush or floss, your loved one can remember the basic actions and have more confidence when cleaning his or her teeth and mouth. To increase your parent’s self-esteem, try not to stare at him or her. Instead, allow your loved one to copy you and go at his or her preferred pace. 

5. Incorporate Fun Distractions

Brushing may be one of your parent’s least favorite activities. Keep in mind that aggression in seniors with dementia is common, which is why you should do everything possible to make the task more enjoyable and less tedious. When it’s time to brush, it may help to play a song or television show your loved one enjoys. Hearing the sounds could provide a sense of familiarity and calm your loved one down long enough to finish brushing without hesitance. 

Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Tucson families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. If you need professional care for your loved one, Home Care Assistance is just a phone call away. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (520) 276-6555.


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