“I first came to work in dementia hairdressing almost by accident …”
I’m a professional specialist hairdresser to clients living with dementia and physical health limitations. My work is my passion and this is how it all began …
I hadn’t set out to be a hairdresser working with dementia patients. Some years earlier my Grandmother was admitted into a local care home following a fall and breaking her hip. I used to visit her regularly and after Gran being there a few months, the matron of the home asked me if I knew of any hairdressers as the current one was moving to Devon.
I hesitated at first, before admitting to her that I was actually a hairdresser and maybe I could come in and do my Grandmother and a few of the other residents hair. I say hesitated because, I wasn’t really sure if cutting old folks hair was really my thing. I can remember my uneasiness of walking into the room and seeing little old ladies wandering around with white tight set hair and thinking, apart from Grannies hair, I’m not sure I can do this.
Fortunately, I soon realised that it was a privilege to be interacting with these wonderful characters with so many stories to tell, and how much it meant to them having their hair done. I discovered this was a whole new side of hairdressing, and I wanted to be part of it and learn everything I could working as a hairdresser to elderly residents. I have my Granny Beatie to thank for setting me on this path and I’ve never looked back.
I just loved the fact I could do more than just make my clients look good, I could give them back their dignity and sense of normality. I would be able to transport them back to a world they had lived in, even if it was just for that one hour or so during their Set or Blowdry, or to give a little bit of barbering to the gentleman. They would reminisce, sing, laugh, smile or just find peace and calmness amongst the rollers and aroma of the setting lotion. To me, seeing the difference I could make in this ‘Little Salon of Oasis’ was all the reward I needed. My hairdressing journey in dementia was born.
“To me, seeing the difference I could make in this ‘Little Salon of Oasis’ was all the reward I needed …”
“It’s the little things in life that are important, that are detrimental to supporting individuals and their specific needs …”
“With every challenge there is always a solution …”
My blog is here to cover not just hair, care and well being, and the many of the topics associated with dementia, but to give my readers a glimpse of the high and lows of working with the elderly and dementia clients and how to overcome the challenges that come with this.
Karen Woodger, Founder of Hair, Care & Dementia