Nothing is easy when you are dealing with dementia. Hair care is one of the many things that can become more difficult as things progress. Don't give up. Getting hair cleaned and well-groomed will make any person with special needs, including Alzheimer’s disease both look and feel better. This will also make their caregiver feel better too.
There are a few things to remember when it comes to hair care and dementia or Alzheimer's. Many times it is fear that will take hold and no explaining, bribing or talking will change anyone's mind. Don't take it personally. It is all part of the disease. You will need to have a bit of humour. Don't take everything too seriously. Joke, smile and go with the flow. Don't worry about what others think. Keep the person's happiness in mind, and keep hair as clean and neat as possible.
Choose a hairstyle that is easy to care for. Keep it simple. Simple and easy hair will take less time and less stress on everyone.
Water and room temperature plays a large role in comfort. Some days, those with dementia or Alzheimer's may like to have their hair washed and other days, not so much. Check the temperature of both by using your inner arm, foot or other body part not including your hands. Hands often get accustomed to hot temperatures and you may not feel the correct temperature.
Encourage the person to comb their own hair. If needed, give patient step-by-stop instructions, or a cue like placing a comb in the hands. You can even start combing your own hair. Be gentle.
Use a non-stinging baby shampoo. If washing hair is difficult, try a dry shampoo. Be careful
Try a scalp massage when having hair washed. For many, it can be very soothing.
Make your stylist aware if the client has Alzheimer's or Dementia. If the person is insecure, you many want to stay in the room with them or ask your stylist to make a home visit.
Don't force. Once in awhile, let it go. If the person is just not having it that day, perhaps just be happy with partial results.
Create a calm setting and mood by playing the client's favourite music, talking about their favourite topic or have a familiar book or magazine present.
Tracy Stryker of Salon Allegra has training and education in special needs, as well has hair-styling. By having this extensive training, she is willing and ready to help all who walk through her doors.
Tracy says, “At Salon Allegra we strive in making our clients feel very familiar and we have created a relaxed setting.”