Every morning Gran combs her long white locks with intensity as she looks on in the mirror. She prides herself on her naturally curly hair, so much so, that she reminds me of the Peanuts character who is concerned Pigpen’s dirt will take the curl out her naturally curly hair.
I’ll interrupt her brushing routine daily because I some time to get ready too. “You don’t need to brush your hair so much. You’re going to be bald like your mother.”
She ignores me and goes right on combing. “You got any hairspray?”
“No. You don’t need hairspray.”
“Honey, if I spray it, it’ll stay in place all day,” she replies, getting in my face.
“It needs to be washed,” I retort. She goes back to combing.
Finally, she answers me. “It don’t need washed. Look at your hair! Do you ever comb it!?”
“Well, I can’t get in the bathroom to do so.”
“Maybe if you’d look in a mirror, you could see and do it properly.”
I’m not an expert on Alzheimer’s/dementia, but I still say one of the first signs of someone with the disease is they don’t want to wash their hair. “It’s too cold” —“I’ll do it later”—“I just washed it.” Whatever the excuse is, their refusal to wash their hair is a sign of something more troublesome. Now, I went through a crunchy, hippy, hiker phase and have also tried to join the no poo movement, but those were just phases. Dementia isn’t contagious….at least, I’m 85% positive it isn’t.
So how can you get your loved one to wash their hair? My first suggestion is to make it part of their routine by scheduling weekly hair appointments. If they are stubborn, yet agile, like my grandmother and storm out of the Great Clips, or wherever it is you have taken them, you can try to do it yourself. Just cast your self-esteem aside and prepare to get at least elbow deep into this project. Trust me, I have washed my dogs with less fuss.
And do hens really get mad when they’re wet? I’m not sure. But grannies sure do.