Mom is one of many afflicted with Alzheimer’s who adamantly refuse to shower or bathe. We deal with that problem okay by facilitating a “sponge bath” whenever she changes her clothes. Up until recent months, we handled hair washing by taking her to the beauty salon every other week or so. Sadly, her mobility is slipping away almost as quickly as her memory, resulting in her not getting out of the house much anymore.
We now wash her hair at home. Hair washing is sometimes planned into our day. Other days – like today – it’s impromptu. I was delightfully surprised that Mom allowed me to wash her hair tonight (a task generally better accomplished in the morning).
About once a week, with the help of an inflatable shampoo basin purchased on Amazon.com and a hot-air curling brush, I have been turning our kitchen into a little makeshift hair salon. (Click these links for the inflatable shampoo basin I used and a similar hot air curing brush.)
Portable reclining salon chairs are available on the web too, but Mom’s wheeled walker fits the bill just fine. It has a seat and a curved, slightly angled back on it. I cushion the back of the walker with a fat towel, then manipulate the walker so that mom is seated with the back of her chair snugged up to the sink. With a towel over her shoulders and the shampoo basin fitted around her neck, I have her tip her head back as best she can. The shampoo basin is long enough that it compensates for the imperfect nature of our set-up. As long as the end of the inflatable basin sits in the sink, we’ll get the job done.
For a spa touch of luxury, I cover mom with a beach towel pre-warmed a bit in the dryer. Also on hand in the sink area are a washcloth for catching drips or splashes to the ears or face, a shampoo with conditioner (to make things simpler), and a thirsty bath towel. Momma sighs with contentment as I lather up her silver hair, telling me how good it feels when I gently massage her scalp, then rinse away the bubbles with warm water.
After a quick towel-drying, I wheel mom over to the kitchen table where I have set up a mini home styling salon. This station includes the hot-air brush, a bottle of styling gel, and her antique hand-mirror. I usually have Mom transfer to her favorite chair which I have placed facing a window overlooking the backyard gardens. Mom’s legs weren’t working well enough for her to transfer to her comfy chair tonight, so she stayed seated in the walker for the rest of her spa treatment. From her vantage point, she enjoyed making commentary about the flowers, birds, and little critters she sees outside her window to the world. Today she enjoyed watching a baby bunny munching clover growing between the cracks of the stone pathway and her favorite “red birds” as they stopped to feast on seed at the feeder not 3 feet away from her.
I am of the opinion that few things in life are more relaxing and soothing than having someone brush your hair. As I manipulated the brush through sections of her hair, creating gentle waves of silky curls, I could see Mom relax.
Momma picked up her hand mirror at the end of her salon visit to take a peek at her hair, then gave me a big smile and a thank you. It’s a blessing seeing Momma peering into her mirror and feeling pretty.