3. Practical advice and tips for carers > Daily living activities

Daily living activities

1) Video tips for washing one handed

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In this film you will see some tips for washing with one hand.

A hand sized sponge is usually easier to use one handed as it is easier to squeeze most of the water out.
An alternative for someone who has a weak grip could be a towelling face cloth sewn down one side and made into a wash mitt. The person could use one to wash and another to help  them dry.

If there is space in the bathroom, most people after a stroke will be safer sitting down to wash at the sink. A chair with arms can be useful when standing up. As the person’s balance improves they can attempt part or the entire task standing up.
Liquid soap in a pump action dispenser or shower gel is useful to put into the water rather than using a slippery bar of soap.
Encourage the person to wash as thoroughly as they can. If they have difficulty washing under the affected armpit, they may need your help to support the arm as they wash under it.

Have a towel ready near by and encourage the person to dry thoroughly.

An electric shaver is safer and easier than attempting a wet shave one handed.

Tips for washing one handed

  • Sit down to wash.
  • Use a hand sized sponge or wash mitt.
  • Use a mirror. (to check face and body when washing , shaving or applying make up.)
  • Use a hand towel rather than than a bath towel.
  • Check the water temperature (use the unaffected hand to make sure the water is not too hot).
  • Use liquid soap or shower gel. (a bar of soap is more difficult to hold on to.)
  • Help to support the affected arm (carers can help support the arm so the person can wash the arm pit.)
  • Items for washing should be within reach.
  • Wash the unaffected arm and back. (carers may need to help wash the areas of the body which the person cannot reach with their affected arm.)
  • Use large handled brush for better grip.
  • Check washing technique with an Occupational Therapist. ( they may show you washing and dressing methods they have used with the person.)