Some older adults can’t bathe using a tub or shower because they have limited mobility or have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and stubbornly resist bathing.
When someone isn’t able to get into the shower or bath, it can seem impossible to keep their hair and scalp clean and fresh. No-rinse shampoos, dry shampoo, or wiping with wet cloths are helpful, but just aren’t as good as a thorough hair washing with water. A real wash with water and regular shampoo will make your older adult feel more comfortable and keep their scalp healthier.
Check out this 3-minute video tutorial and an inexpensive product that helps you wash someone’s hair in bed without getting water everywhere.
How to wash hair in bed without a mess
Watch the video about for a step-by-step process of washing your older adult’s hair in bed. Watching how it’s done in the video makes it easier to know how to do it yourself without getting water everywhere.
Here, we’ve summarized the supplies you’ll need and the steps to take.
What you’ll need:
- Shampoo basin for hair washing in bed (see suggestions below)
- Garbage bags and/or a few towels to line the bed and keep it dry
- Mild shampoo
- Bucket of warm water
- Cup for scooping water
- Empty bucket to drain dirty water
12 steps to washing hair in bed:
- Lay out all your supplies so you know you have everything you’ll need
- Line the bed to keep it from getting wet
- Fill one bucket with warm water
- Gently place the person’s head into the inflatable basin
- Make sure the basin is set up to drain into the empty bucket
- Scoop warm water from the full bucket to wet their hair
- Use a small amount of shampoo to wash their hair – using too much will make it difficult to rinse out
- Scoop warm water to rinse hair completely
- If hair is very dirty, shampoo and rinse again
- When hair is clean, gently remove their head from the basin
- Wrap their head in a dry towel to keep them warm and comfortable
- Make sure the basin is fully drained – you might need to tip it over into the bathtub
For extra comfort, consider:
- Plugging ears with cotton balls to keep water from getting in
- Lining the neck opening with a small towel to protect from any hard or scratchy plastic seams
- Giving them a washcloth to hold on their face if they’re concerned that you might get water in their eyes
- Using a soothing lavender-scented shampoo for a relaxing experience
3 hair washing shampoo basin product suggestions:
- $16 Duro Med DMI Portable Inflatable Shampoo Bowl
- $16 DMI Portable Inflatable Shampoo Bowl
- $20 DMI Portable Shampoo Bowl
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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