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How to Teach Personal Hygiene to Adults

By Meredith Jameson ; Updated April 17, 2017

Although personal hygiene is most commonly a skill taught to children and teenagers, adults occasionally need to be taught how to take care of themselves as well. Some adults may suffer from various disabilities or disorders that have prevented them from learning about personal hygiene in the past and others may simply need to be reminded. There are a few ways to teach adults about personal hygiene.

  1. Talk to the adults about the basic elements of hygiene that help prevent germ transmission, such as washing the hands after using the bathroom and covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing. Remind them that good basic hygiene will help keep them from getting sick and help keep others from getting sick as well.

  2. Discuss the importance of washing the body and hair in order to look and feel clean and professional. In addition, talk about how they feel when others are unclean. They may not want to stand close to that person. They may not want to interact with someone who has body odor. Helping them look at it from another perspective can be a useful incentive.

  3. Talk about the science behind personal hygiene. Different body smells are caused by natural chemicals, such as pheromones, and bacteria that is left on the skin that can create bad smells. In addition, the body can be flushing out harmful agents, such as alcohol or tobacco, causing an unpleasant odor.

  4. Remind adults of bodily functions that pertain to adulthood requiring extra care, such as menstruation. In addition, talk about the fact that sexually active adults can easily transfer bacteria and infections to their partner, so personal hygiene is also part of being a loving partner to someone else.

  5. Have the adults make a list of why hygiene is important and examples of good hygiene. Ask them to start a personal hygiene checklist that they can use daily.

  6. Help the adults create a daily list of important basic hygiene steps that everyone should take, such as taking a shower, washing the body, washing the hair, brushing teeth, washing hands after using the toilet and wiping themselves properly after using the toilet. Hang it in a visible place and discuss it frequently.

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