There are a few important factors to consider when shampooing a client living with dementia.

Going to the hairdresser can be an enjoyable treat for anyone – you’re pampered, primped and made to look and feel good. But for someone with dementia, it can be all that, plus a source of sensory cues, memory triggers and much-needed support.

  • Ensure the room is warm and calm
  • Tranquil background music and a pleasant fragrant aroma filling the room can make a difference
  • It’s essential to prepare everything and be organised before the client is seated at the basin
  • Gown your client, have lots of dry towels on hand, use cotton wool in ears if necessary
  • Make a point of getting the water to the correct temperature

Select the correct hair products and be respectful if the client has their own preferences for a certain product, if necessary opt for simplicity and safety. Baby shampoo can be an excellent choice if your client becomes fidgety and anxious, as this shampoo won’t sting the eyes.

Individuals can go from loving a hair wash to hating it, so it’s crucial to talk and reassure your client through the whole process step by step.

Most people love having their hair washed and head massaged, but for others it can be distressing. If this is the case, balance the advantages of clean hair, against the disadvantages of creating stress and tension. At all times be respectful, there are always alternative solutions.

Most importantly remember every client is an individual, some days will be good hair days, other days will be more challenging. It can take time to understand what works best for each person.

With Every Challenge There Is Always A Solution

Karen Woodger – Hair, Care & Dementia