The hairdressing experience for people with dementia

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Personal grooming and hair care can help enhance a person with dementia’s identity and self-expression. It can also help boost their self-confidence and provide some normality in a world that they might often find confusing.

A recent study by Manchester and Stirling Universities found that the hairdressing experience can have a positive effect on people with dementia. It revealed that shampoos, lotions and hairsprays are useful sensory cues and can help with reminiscence.

The study also found that hairdressers can become an unofficial therapist for a person with dementia, especially if they see them on a regular basis. This relationship is great for a person with dementia who might be feeling lonely and needs to socialise.

Richard Ward, a senior lecturer in dementia studies at Stirling University, said: “We need to re-think our understanding of appearance and the part it plays in the lives of people with dementia. It enhances the identities, self-expression and social participation of people in all stages of the dementia journey.”

Visiting a hair salon can trigger memories in a person with dementia and remind them of their younger days of getting their hair done. It’s also a great way for them to feel pampered and that they’ve been made a fuss of and they’ll have the opportunity to chat to other customers who might be getting their hair done at the same time.

If it’s not possible to visit a hair salon, then having a mobile hairdresser visit your loved-one with dementia can also help with socialisation and keeping their self-confidence levels up.