I want Mom (96 with dementia) to keep the hair style she's worn most of her life and that involves getting a permanent wave a couple times a year. (When she looks in the mirror and her hair doesn't look right, it's distressing for her.)

Trouble is, the last time we went to the hairdresser, the place got flooded because we couldn't get her head close enough to the sink. No way the stylist is going to attempt that again.

What to do? Has anyone solved this problem? Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

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Oh Lordy the hair drama! There is a reason the good Lord invented the Paula
Young wig catalog. Seriously. A wig that looks right can be a huge convenience and self-image saver if it's fitted correctly.

I don't think it would be a crime to ask mom if she has thought about updating her style to make it easier for her to do by herself. The shampoo can happen during her normal bath/shower time and she never needs to get over a sink again.

My mom spent a great portion of the 1950s-2000s having perms, sleeping on brush rollers with the pink stick, wrapping her bouffant in toilet paper and sleeping in a silk cap on a silk pillow case to preserve the coif. It was part of her identity. She completely missed the easy care blow & go styles by Vidal Sassoon in the 1970s. I remember the jars of Dippity Do (green) and how upset she was when they stopped making it. If it wasn't teased, it wasn't right.

But, she had shoulder surgery twice, never did the exercises, and ended up with two frozen shoulders. It was either go to the beauty school every day or make a change. No, her "modern" hair was not her ideal, but she could blow it dry and brush it out by herself. It took 25 years off her to have short hair, but she was not having it. It was perfectly silver and in great shape, and it made her look really hip!
No ma'am.

The preferred runner up style now is a chin length bob she keeps under control with bobby pins put in at weird angles. It looks ridiculous but that's what she wants, so that's what she gets. $50 a pop for wash, set, and cut at the nursing home beauty shop. But, we can't take her out anymore, so that's the price we pay.
Helpful Answer (1)

I used to wash my granny's hair with her laying on the bed on her side. She couldn't lay on her back because of the hump. Her head hung off the edge of the bed a little, shoulder supported, with a bucket below and I used a coffee cup to dip the water. I used an old shower curtain to be sure the water went into the bucket sort of like they are talking about with the garbage bag above. I wasn't trying to perm her hair but just wash and rinse it and she used that semi-permanent color - Fanciful? - afterward.

I have to wash mom's in the shower only for that same reason you have. All bent over. She gets drenched at the salon, but all they do now is cut her hair and I wash it at home. I could cut it, but she prefers them to do it, I'm too slow.

If you could do it at home, I guess you could do this: Roll it up and put the solution on and then when it comes time to rinse, just put her in the shower with a curtain or cape or garbage bag over her clothes. Then I'm sure you'd have to change her afterward anyway, but just to keep her a little dry during the process.

I had another thought. Call the nursing home or Assisted Living near you and see if you can bring her in. I'm sure they would be able to accommodate the physical limitations. Or at least they should. Well, anyway, good luck.
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If you want to take her to the hairdresser, perhaps a large trashcan size plastic bag or heavy duty bag from her neck draped into the wash basin? I need to take my mom...I guess its for me, I never see my mom with gray hair, but this will be a challenge. Im thinking about that too. Maybe some large sponges to place between her back, neck, and basin to fill in the gap...... Bath tub pillow rests?..I'' try in a couple weeks, I will post the result on the discussions good or bad or whatever. It gets her out of the house too.
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I think an actual perm might be difficult; and don't you worry about the chemicals on her skin? (not criticising, just surprised) But what you might well be able to find is a lovely self-employed hair stylist who will come to your mother's home and set her hair nicely for her. In terms of washing, the no-rinse shampoo caps work much, much better than I'd expected them to and leave the hair nicely conditioned; or you can get inflatable plastic basins for use with the person lying flat in bed (Google hair washing for bed bound patients and they'll come up) which work ok but involve an awful lot of lugging water around.

Quite right, to facilitate your mother's taking pride in her appearance, not to mention her anxiety if she notices change. Applause to you.
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