Personal care

We all want to look good and feel good. People living with dementia gradually need more and more help to look after their own personal care.

Person tying their shoelaces.

Some days, routines can be accomplished with little or no effort. Other days, every task may seem like a challenge. On those days, you may choose to do only the essentials. Just do what is possible. It is important to remember that you are doing the best you can.

Additional resources

Canadian Virtual Hospice offers caregiving demonstration videos on a number of personal care issues.


Most adults consider bathing a highly private, personal activity. The person living with dementia needs help at a time when they feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. At the same time, bathing can be a relaxing and enjoyable activity. Balancing the need for independence and privacy with the need for help is a delicate one.

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Senior man undertaking his bathing routine,

Dental care

Proper oral care is important to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Good dental health contributes to a person’s overall self-esteem, dignity, and socialization. Poor dental health will affect a person’s ability and willingness to eat.

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Senior woman brushing her teeth.


When a person with dementia has difficulty getting dressed, it’s important to allow them to make their own decisions for as long as possible, and to carry out the activity as independently as possible

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Senior man picking out a shirt to wear.

Toileting and incontinence

Dementia can affect many aspects of a person's daily routine, including control over urination or defecation (incontinence). For a lot of us, this can be a touchy or awkward subject because it can be difficult to accept help in this intimate area of our lives, particularly from someone we’re close to.

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Senior holding the handrail in a bathroom.