Soutenir l'autonomie des aînés et leur maintien à domicile : stratégies novatrices pour faciliter l'hygiène corporelle

 

Manon Guay

Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement du CSSS-IUGS

 

Domaine : Vieillissement

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 1

Concours 2016-2017

Bathing is so essential to independent living that, for the community-dwelling elderly, it often makes the difference between being able to continue to live at home or not. One elder in seven will require assistance in order to get out of the bathtub at least once in his/her life. When the need for assistance persists, there is a greater risk of institutionalization. Of all our daily activities, personal hygiene is the main cause of loss of autonomy as we age. Indeed, bathing takes up the largest part of formal and informal care hours provided at home. Also, the bathroom is the room in the house where the most falls occur for the elderly and injuries for the caregivers. Not surprisingly therefore, the need to adapt their bathroom is the top reason most people consult a community occupational therapist. Because availability of specialized resources and tools is not keeping pace with rising demand, some Quebecers wait months, sometimes even years, for assistive technologies adapted to their needs such as a bath seat.

Being able to carry out one's own personal hygiene, at one's own convenience, is fundamental to health and human dignity. The first aim of my research program is to understand the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics associated with the difficulties that elders, including the very-old, experience when performing personal hygiene. My second aim is to develop new strategies that will broaden the range of interventions and tools available to both facilitate elderly hygiene, in order to promote independent living at home (regardless of diagnosis) and to support caregivers, be they relatives or healthcare workers.