August 18, 2019 5 min read 1 Comment
Nothing makes one more confident than starting the day with a nice shave.
But when one grows old, shaving can become a difficult thing to do. When men lose their dexterity due to old age or poor health, it can be a distressing situation since they’re more likely to hurt themselves.
Grooming issues are just one of the many concerns that elderly people deal with. And yet it’s also a very important issue because it is intimately tied with an elderly patient’s self-image. Being able to shave by himself is a marker of his independence. If he’s no longer able to do that, it may make him feel depressed.
When this happens, the task of shaving will fall to the immediate family kin or to the caregiver but, more often than not, it becomes an awkward experience because shaving is such an intimate routine that borders on the personal.
Here at Naked Armor, we’d like to help out so we’re highlighting the many ways one can make the shaving experience pleasant for both the elderly and the caregiver.
It’s not often highlighted but elderly women also need shaving, every now and then. As women age, they usually grow excess hair on the upper lip and chin. While these can be removed with tweezers, sometimes, it’s more convenient to have these areas shaven.
Some things to note though. Because shaving is an intimate act of grooming, always allow the person to do the shaving if they are able to. If you wish to help, you can prepare the things that they will use for shaving. You can also hold up the hand mirror for them.
The male shaving routine is a lifetime of habit. So before you shave your elderly dad, ask him if he wants to be shaved in a certain way.
Their preferences may vary; some guys want to be shaving along the neck first and then work towards their face. Others start with sideburns and work downwards.
The choice of razor is also very important. If the person is under medication for blood thinners, it’s best to use an electric razor because it’s less likely to cause accidental nicks and cuts which can result to non-stop bleeding. If he isn’t taking blood thinners and can shave unassisted, we recommend a safety razor for his needs. It will provide a closer shave but because it has a safety guard, it reduces the risk of cuts and nicks.
The elderly can be quite touchy when it comes to being assisted while shaving. The general rule is when your loved one starts cutting himself with a razor, it may be time to take over the shaving.
If he insists on using a straight razor, on account of having used one all his life, then we recommend taking him to a barber shop for a straight razor shave. Only skilled hands should handle a straight razor. The caregiver should never attempt to shave him with a straight razor, even if he has the skills to back it up.
First, you have to make sure that the room has lots of light so that you and the person can see well. It can help to have him sit in a chair or sit up in bed. But if he is invalid, he can be shaven while lying down.
Collect the supplies that you need. You will need a mirror, a safety razor (or an electric shaver, as the need may be), some shaving cream, a clean towel, and a basin of warm water.
Step 1. Before beginning, put a towel under his chin to catch stray drops of water. Wash the face with warm water to soften the hair. Alternatively, you can use a wet cloth to wash the stubble.
Step 2. Apply shaving cream. Creams are easier to apply since they don’t require too much lathering like a shave soap.
Step 3. Use a safety razor. It gives a clean and close shave without the heightened risk of being cut by a straight razor.
Step 4. Shave along the direction of the hair growth. If you shave against the grain, it can cause ingrown hairs and irritate the skin. Use short and slow strokes.
Step 5. Use the safety razor’s weight to shave the hair off. The skin of elderly people is thin and very sensitive so use gentle strokes. Always ask the person how it feels. And adjust accordingly.
Step 6. Be careful around the Adam’s apple, mouth, nose, and chin. Bear in mind that people lose weight when they reach old age, therefore their face may have more angles than usual.
Step 7. Rinse the blade after every few strokes.
Step 8. Use a warm, moist face cloth to remove leftover lather. Dry the skin with a clean cloth.
Step 9. An aftershave is optional as the astringent’s sting may be too much for their skin. But if he’s accustomed to having some aftershave splash, we recommend natural-based aftershaves. As an alternative, you can apply some essential oils like virgin coconut oil or jojoba to restore and keep moisture in the skin.
However you shave your old man, it’s good to be aware of a few basic safety tips that you can use to make sure that the whole experience is safe for him.
Tip 1: If he’s using an electric shaver, make sure it is in good condition and its cord is not torn or cracked.
Tip 2: Don’t use a wet washcloth when using an electric shaver.
Tip 3: Check the razor blade to make sure it is clean, rust-free, and sharp. Apply a dab of alcohol on the blade if necessary before starting.
Tip 4: Do not share his razor with anyone.
Tip 5: When using an extra lamp close to bed for shaving, do not direct the light onto the man’s eyes.
Ultimately, shaving the elderly need not be physically and emotionally draining for the both of you. When done properly, the shaving experience can help further your bond with your dad. Remember your childhood when he first taught you how to shave? Near the twilight of his life, shaving him will be like coming in full circle. It will be a poignant and cherished experience for both of you when it is done right.
Here at Naked Armor, we have a fine selection of safety razors that’s going to make every shaving experience a comfortable and luxurious one. Visit our website to check it out.
The Naked Armor Reader
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