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Hair washing advice

(29 Posts)
MarionHalcombe Mon 06-Apr-20 23:16:44

My mum is 93 with very fast growing, thick hair. She has a perm about 3 or 4 times a year and it 'shampoo'd and set ' every week.
Due to arthritis and a broken collar bone that didn't set correctly she can't wash it herself and has a mobile hairdresser visit the house. She lives alone and a carer goes in daily to cook her a meal.

The week before the lockdown she was due a cut and perm but her hairdresser had a bad cold and cancelled. So she now hasn't had her hair washed in a month.

I've dropped off some dry shampoo but her hair is too long, too straight and unmanageable for her. I've seen her from the garden and told her it looks fine. I lied.

This may seem trivial, but it's driving her mad and upsetting her quite a bit. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?


Chestnut Mon 06-Apr-20 23:30:40

If this is really a problem and must be done then I would speak to the hairdresser and see if she can visit, observing very strict rules of hygiene and using protective clothing. You could provide these items. The hairdresser should wear an overall (even a clean man's shirt would do, untouched straight from the wash), a shower cap to completely cover her hair and a face mask. She doesn't need rubber gloves if she washes her hands thoroughly before starting and doesn't touch her face. I don't think a perm would be a good idea as it's too lengthy, just give her an extra short cut. Explain to your mum that is all that can be done and as she won't be going out no-one will see her!
Keep the visit as short as possible. If the hairdresser behaves as if she's in an operating theatre I can't think your mum will be at any risk having her hair cut.

Babyshark Tue 07-Apr-20 03:24:13

Chestnut about what about the poor hairdresser? It’s frustrating but there is absolutely no justification for anyone specifically visiting to do her hair. How does she have a wash, does she have carers that could be paid for an extra half hour as if they are going in anyway there’s no additional risk to anyone?

Otherwise as annoying as it is, it’s a case of something she’s going to have to put up with.

I can assure my hair Is now birds nest chic because it’s so coarse and needs regular professional conditioning. But nothing I can do so it’s in a bun on top of my head and that’s where it stays. Could someone who visits anyway spend a minute doing that so it’s out of her way?

Sussexborn Tue 07-Apr-20 03:44:40

Google washing hair for bed ridden person. There are a number of different options available.

mumofmadboys Tue 07-Apr-20 06:05:07

Could you go and wash it yourself? Wearing a mask. If it is a quality of life issue for your Mum and is upsetting her, I would do it.

NotAGran55 Tue 07-Apr-20 06:30:42

If it was my mum I would do it for her. There are probably hair cutting tutorials on YouTube. Risk versus quality of her life ? No contest .

Ginny42 Tue 07-Apr-20 06:40:28

A headband to keep it away from falling over her face perhaps? They are in fashion with the young ones this year and you could get some pretty ones and mail them to her?

SallyB392 Tue 07-Apr-20 07:59:39

For some, appearance, can have a massive effect on the individuals mental health. If this is really important to this lady, could you take the appropriate actions to keep your mum and yourself safe and do it for her? If not it would be worth while contacting your mum's local volunteer group for help.

Riverwalk Tue 07-Apr-20 08:31:47

Could the carer be paid extra to wash your mum's hair? As she is visiting anyway, so no increase in risk.

If not I think you should go and wash it - assuming you're not a hairdresser I wouldn't attempt a cut as a bad cut might upset her! And as suggested maybe take hairbands so your mum can at least keep it under some control.

These washcaps are used in the Community and are very good. You warm it in the microwave; there is gel that gets released when you massage it in. There is no need to rinse and the hair get wet so there is a feeling of being clean, unlike the dry shampoos.


aggie Tue 07-Apr-20 08:41:53

My son has long hair , he always had problems with his scalp , even when he had very short hair
For some reason he couldn’t wash his hair , I forget what happened , but he felt that his hair and scalp didn’t get any worse , after some time he found that the scalp was healed ! His hair is soft and feels (and smells) ok ! So he has not washed his hair since
As long as it is brushed, rather than combed , he feels fine , and he doesn’t smell
So tell the lady it will get better !

Pikachu Tue 07-Apr-20 09:02:03

Can you not help her yourself?

Babyshark Tue 07-Apr-20 09:20:27

The issue is that the number of people who believe that their circumstances are exceptional will lead to a tightening of this lockdown because it won’t work.

Say you and your mum are willing to take the risk because of her age and her quality of life. If she is infected and becomes ill, it’s them the paramedics, the nurses, hospital staff and drs that are then exposed to this illness via a person who otherwise would have been safely at home through your actions.

From a family of frontline key workers I genuinely beg that all of you who bend the rules, feel that quality of life is an exception to the rules or just that you are willing to take the risk. It’s not just your risk, you are making a decision for dozens of other families.

I can imagine the responses I might get to this but it keeps me up at night that because of our jobs everyday I risk becoming ill and worse bringing it home to my children, one of whom is vulnerable to this bastard of a disease. I won’t forgive myself if I don’t try to encourage as many people as possible to follow the rules.

That being said I’m not unsympathetic to your mum op, I’m really not and mental health and comfort are important, just that for a few weeks they are not the most important.

Alexa Tue 07-Apr-20 10:06:54

Chestnut's advice is as good as possible and does for carers too. Carers should make their own isolation gowns like what Chestnut recommended. All the carers need do is cut the hair evenly as possible same length all over. It would be nice to do it before the shower so to wash away loose hairs.

The isolation gown, a cover all shirt or whatever, should not be removed from the client's house except if necessary for a hot wash and then it should be returned in a clean unused plastic bag.

notanan2 Tue 07-Apr-20 10:29:04

That counts as a valid "care" visit

Dry shampoo doesnt clean hair and should only be used once between washes so the residue is washed out

Without proper hair washing she could get abscesses/sores on her scalp, especially if she has been dry shampooing it.

There have been warnings about the RISKS of people not getting help with hygiene because if fears about corona virus, and hygiene assistance SHOULD continue!

notanan2 Tue 07-Apr-20 10:31:24

The issue is that the number of people who believe that their circumstances are exceptional

Having care needs met is not an exception to the rules, it is WITHIN the rules for good reason.

If she gets sores from not having a proper hair wash for months, that puts pressure on health services and means she would need regular nurse visits. Vs a once or twice a month hair wash visit.

notanan2 Tue 07-Apr-20 10:33:44

P.s. people who do "no shampoo" methods still rince their hair under running water. They just dont "wash" it with soap.

aggie Tue 07-Apr-20 10:36:40

What notanan2said , but I doubt the lady could manage that herself , but the carer could do that if it is in their remit to shower the lady

notanan2 Tue 07-Apr-20 10:40:36

Yes I didnt mean she could do it herself I was just replying to the citations of the "no poo" method where people say they dont "wash" their hair and their scalps are healthy.

That method includes rinsing the hair and scalp, and scalp massage too (where you use youd fingers as if you were shampooing) to keep the oils from blocking pores. It isnt just doing nothing.

Eglantine21 Tue 07-Apr-20 10:44:46

If a carer is already going in then and helping with showering then to pay a bit extra for a hair wash would not put anyone at extra risk.

But to introduce a third person, a hairdresser, surely can’t be wise. This is how a chain of infection begins, isn’t it.

Hairdresser to Mum, mum to carer, carer to other clients.
Or carer to mum (already a risk factor), mum to hairdresser, hairdresser to home.

So many chances to spread CV.

Babyshark Tue 07-Apr-20 10:50:44

Notanan2 my comment was to posters suggesting to op she do it herself or get a hairdresser to do it. They are completely misguided in their thinking this can be done safely but as I said in my first post, a carer already going into the home could do a basic wash in order to meet her basic needs. I’m not in anyway saying this lady does not need her basic needs met. My issue is with the just go in, wear overalls, it will be fine. It’s just not true.

Hetty58 Tue 07-Apr-20 10:55:39

This is really handy for the bed bound so might suit your mum:

wildswan16 Tue 07-Apr-20 11:22:38

OK, I am presuming her carer is just there for meals etc, and not for "personal" care like showering.

Does she usually shower by herself? If so, buy some baby shampoo and she should be able to rub it in (one-handed if necessary) while in the shower, then just shower it off. If she baths, then do the same in the bath. The carer might be persuaded to chop the ends off for her.

Buy her some pretty scarves to wear over it for the time being.

SalsaQueen Tue 07-Apr-20 16:18:41

Could you shampoo it?

rosenoir Tue 07-Apr-20 16:30:43

The caps that others have suggested are very good.

MarionHalcombe Tue 07-Apr-20 17:37:15

Thanks everyone.

The reason we are only seeing her from the garden is that in a household of 4, 3 are NHS workers and the other is in retail so it's too much of a risk to get closer than that.

The person who makes her meal is an 18 year old boy, he's lovely and she thinks the world of him but he couldn't wash her hair, they are very stretched and no.more time can be given.

The caps look fabulous but there's no one to do it for her.

Thanks for all your answers, I think I wanted the impossible just to make her feel a bit better but I will suggest headscarves to her. Thanks again.