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How to Teach Personal Hygiene to Adults

author image Julie Boehlke
Julie Boehlke is a seasoned copywriter and content creator based in the Great Lakes state. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Boehlke has more than 10 years of professional writing experience on topics such as health and wellness, green living, gardening, genealogy, finances, relationships, world travel, golf, outdoors and interior decorating. She has also worked in geriatrics and hospice care.
How to Teach Personal Hygiene to Adults
It is important for all adults to practice good hygiene. Photo Credit Pinnacle Pictures/Photodisc/Getty Images

Personal hygiene is something that keeps us clean, healthy and promotes a positive self-image. Most parents teach their kids personal hygiene techniques when they are young in order to be able to care for themselves as they age. There are some cases where adults do not practice good hygiene or are not able to care for themselves. In these cases another adult or professional needs to step in and help.

Step 1

Assess the situation. If you suspect that someone is not caring for themselves try to understand the reason why. If you suspect substance abuse or a form of mental illness, you will have to address it differently than if they were simply letting themselves go or did not feel they were dirty or had body odor. In some cases people are stricken with poverty leaving them with no water or money to wash their clothes. Some adults may be elderly and unable to care for themselves, therefore an agency on aging can provide them with regular hygiene care. Someone who is physically unable to provide their own personal hygiene will also need direct care assistance.

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Step 2

Speak with them about their hygiene problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that levels of personal cleanliness in society are often associated with being healthy. Explain to the adult that in order to be healthy, being fresh and clean is an important part of his overall health and well being. Expect for them to be self-conscious about their hygiene and possibly defensive also. Some people who have hygiene issues may not feel they have body odor or greasy hair, for example.

Step 3

Request that he visit his primary care physician. This assures he is in good health apart from his hygiene. There are some medical conditions that can lead to poor hygiene such as irritable bowel syndrome, yeast infection, overproductive sweat glands and urinary incontinence. These issues will need to be treated before hygiene practices can be effective. His physician may also check to see if he has a mental disorder that is impairing his ability to care for himself properly.

Step 4

Explain to her the tools needed for necessary care. This includes the basic tools such as a comb, lotion, razor, nail clipper, nail file, tooth brush, toothpaste, sanitary napkins and deodorant. Reiterate that showering or bathing is recommended daily. Washing off all parts of the body, especially areas where the sweat glands are the most productive such as the armpits, groin, scalp and genital areas. Tell them to use shampoo, soap and a clean wash cloth with each use. Emphasize to the person that she should always wear clean clothes and wash their hands frequently throughout the day. Remind her that taking care of herself prevents many hygiene-related conditions such as pinworms and bad breath.

Step 5

Ask him to get help. If he is facing a substance abuse problem that is preventing him from taking care of himself, he may need rehabilitation services, explains the National Institute on Drug Abuse. If he is focused on drug or alcohol abuse he may not take the time to shower or groom himself regularly. Getting help for his addiction through inpatient care or outpatient sober living will give him a clear head and make it easier for him to focus on caring for himself.

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