If your aging loved one has not received proper hygiene care, such as oral or physical hygiene, in a nursing home facility, this could indicate a larger problem with their care. Signs of poor hygiene in a nursing facility could indicate elder abuse or neglect.
If you notice that a loved one living in a nursing home or receiving home health care shows the signs of poor hygiene, the situation warrants further investigation. It could mean a loved one is not receiving the level of care that they need. It is important to follow up with all health care providers to ensure that they address the signs of poor hygiene as quickly as possible.
Signs of Poor Hygiene
Many signs can indicate that someone has poor hygiene. While some of these could indicate a temporary problem, such as bad breath after a meal, a person displaying several of these signs for an extended time period likely has poor hygiene. Some of these signs include:
- Unbrushed or greasy hair
- Body odor
- Soiled clothes, bedsheets, or diapers
- Bad breath
- Tooth decay
- Skin issues
- Dirty nails
The Aging Health
journal also notes that frequent infections can be a sign of poor hygiene. If you know someone in a nursing home or memory care facility that is exhibiting these signs or does not seem to be getting the personal hygiene care they need, this could be a sign of neglect or elder abuse. Often, a person’s external appearance can provide some indication of their level of care.
Poor Hygiene and Mental Health
Researchers and medical professionals have long recognized the impact of mental health on hygiene. Patients that exhibit signs of poor hygiene could be suffering from a mental illness as a result of a disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Depression can also cause someone to experience a period of poor hygiene. They may not care much about their appearance or investing the effort required to keep up with their hygiene needs. Loved ones that notice any sign of poor hygiene should investigate the situation further. Some easy modifications to their routine could help address any hygiene concerns.
Impacts of Poor Hygiene
Poor hygiene can have negative, long-term health impacts on a person’s life that reach far beyond one’s body odor making others uncomfortable. Some of the more serious outcomes of poor hygiene include:
- Frequent infections and illnesses: While seniors are more likely to suffer from infections and illnesses due to multiple diseases and weakened immune responses, a string of infections could be a sign of poor hygiene. If the bacteria on their hands or in their living environment continue to enter the body, more infections could occur as a result.
- Periodontal or gum disease: Poor dental hygiene can cause significant inflammation and damage to gums. Gum disease could develop as a result, which could even cause teeth to loosen from their sockets, and gums to bleed. The New York Times has noted that poor dental hygiene in nursing homes is an all-too-frequent occurrence.
- Poor self-esteem: People with poor personal hygiene often have a reduced sense of self-worth or self-esteem. Being socially impacted or isolated as a result of hygiene issues can make this worse.
These are just a few ways in which poor hygiene can contribute to more severe conditions, especially when such poor hygiene is allowed to continue for an extended time period. One day of skipping a shower and developing a body odor will not likely lead to an increased risk of frequent infections. However, not brushing your teeth for weeks at a time will increase your risk of gum disease.
If you notice any signs of poor hygiene in a loved one living in a nursing facility, it is crucial to address these issues with their caregivers before your loved one experiences any long-term impacts of their poor hygiene.
Recourse for Poor Hygiene in Skilled Nursing Facilities
If your loved one experiences poor hygiene while receiving nursing home care, it could be a sign of neglect or abuse by the nursing home and its staff. If you have questions about the possibility of nursing home abuse or neglect, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336. We can answer questions you might have and set up a free consultation to address your concerns.