A senior man shaving in the bathroom, his elderly wife is holding him around the waistThe later stages of life come with many complex emotions.

For your elderly parents or loved ones, these might include overall disinterest, particularly in personal hygiene.

In dealing with such matters, it seems best to try and inspire your loved one. Here are 3 ways to do so:

1. Set a routine. In order to fight against disinterest, set a schedule. Work with your caregiver (if you have one) and elderly parents to set a schedule that works for everyone. Showering everyday might not be necessary, while soaking dentures and brushing teeth are. Be not afraid of individualizing these plans, and setting your own standards. Getting dressed up every afternoon might make your mother really happy, lipstick and all, while your father wants to don slacks and read the newspaper. Make it comfortable enough to accomplish, but stringent enough maintain your (and their) standards.

2. Get out of the house. Many elderly persons are often kept inside, outside of the activities that propel many young lives. This often leads to a lack of purpose. “Why shower or get dressed if I’m not leaving the house?” In order to preempt this question, have your aide or caregiver, maybe yourself, build a schedule that includes activities in New York City which are outside.  For example, the MoMA has amazing exhibits during the summer and the Lincoln Center has awesome performances.  While it is easy to find reasons why these sorts of activities aren’t possible (accessibility; their strength level etc.), please remember that t these aren’t always viable. They need encouragement to care-give it.

Get the family involved. Getting out of bed and dressed in the afternoon might seem pointless to your elderly parents if no one is coming over. Get the grand kids over for a weekly visit to boost their mood and prompt them into action. Social visits are also another option. Though some friends might have passed on, there are ways to involve your elderly parents in community activities. Check your local library and other community institutions for opportunities.
The later stages of life are filled with their own kind of joy. We just have to remind our elderly parents of this.

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