Personal hygiene plays a major role in how others view a person. It is important for all of us to wear clean clothing, keep our hair clean and healthy and bathe regularly. Because people with disabilities are often seen by others as “different,” it is even more important to have good personal hygiene. Dirty clothing and sloppy appearances get in the way of meeting new people and making friends. When dressed in clean, well-fitting and stylish clothing, we are more likely to be seen in a positive manner.
It is possible that you will support some people who need reminders or guidance to maintain their personal appearance. Depending on needs, your assistance could range from physically bathing to helping someone shop for attractive shirts that are appropriate for his new job. Some may need reminders to bathe themselves, shampoo their hair, shave, brush their teeth, or use the toilet. Others may need you to do many hygiene tasks for them, such as changing a disposable brief or putting on deodorant.
Good hygiene, especially dental care, is also important for health reasons. Lack of attention to bathing or to routine care of teeth and gums can lead to serious medical conditions. Some of the people you support may not understand this or may not like doing these activities. It will be your role to find creative ways to encourage participation in necessary bathing, shampooing, and other personal hygiene activities if needed.
You should expect the personal hygiene of people you support to be kept at a level equal to your own, your child, or your spouse. It is no less important!