Washing Hair for Elderly & Disabled Loved Ones

Washing Hair for Elderly & Disabled Loved Ones


As a member of a huge family, there comes a time when caring for a loved one is absolutely necessary.  Whether it is an older family member who is bedridden, someone in a nursing home or even a young person who has just had surgery and cannot jump into the shower, many of us are or will be caregivers at some point.  Washing their hair may seem like an unimportant task when there are so many other health care issues to be concerned with regarding your loved ones but I speak from experience when I say having clean, cared for hair matters!  When my grandmother lived with me, she asked to have her hair washed and braided regularly and often the itching associated with a dirty scalp irritated her.  Also, sometimes people are unable to voice their needs.  Rest assured caretakers, there are options to washing hair for elderly or disabled family and friends.

washing hair for elderly disabled - longing 4 length

Shampoo Tray: This tray is contoured to fit and support the neck similar to a traditional salon shampoo bowl but can be used with a chair or wheelchair while the person sits upright.  Leaning backwards is often uncomfortable and sometimes even painful, so being able to sit up is a huge advantage, plus it has raised edges to prevent water from spilling.

Inflatable Wash Basin:  For patients who are bedridden or unable to sit in a chair for any length of time, this inflatable basin is perfect to wash your disabled loved one’s hair right in the bed.  It features a headrest to cushion their neck and a drain hose and stopper.

Shampoo Caps:  There are times when your disabled family member or friend has a wound or injury such that using water at all is not an option.  For those patients, these shampoo caps are the perfect option – they require no water or rinsing.  Simply cover the person’s head with the cap, massage for a few minutes to clean and deodorize their hair.  May even be microwaved for a warm shampoo experience.

These are three very economical options for shampooing hair for your elderly or disabled loved one.  All three are hospital and nursing home suitable and require no set-up equipment and very little storage space.

If you have experience as a caretaker or health care provider and have any additional advice on washing hair for elderly women (and men), please leave your comments below.

I’m sure your experiences will help someone.

  • Lydz@Crowning Glory

    Thanks for this very thoughtful post. I had a family member that I helped look after when she was temporarily bedridden and no one thought about taking care of her hair now I know better.

    • You are very welcome, yes many aren’t aware of the options!

  • Aine

    Thanks for this. Very useful information. Never know when you’ll need it.

  • Sylvie B

    Washing hair of a person sitting in a wheelchair is easy. Roll a bath towel up and place around the shoulders of the person. Prepare a basin (or more) of warm water next to the person and use a flannel. Wet the flannel then rub into the hair until it is wet. Use a small amount of shampoo on wet hands and work into a lather. With the flannel, rub the hair to remove the shampoo, frequently rinsing the flannel. Change the water in the basin and repeat. Continue with fresh water until the flannel is no longer picking up any shampoo. Blow dry. Job done.