Bad hygiene can be an uncomfortable topic to bring up with a loved one. It’s not the easiest conversation to have, however it’s important to do so in order to ensure the health and well being of the people around them. Whether it’s a family member or a partner, here are some tips on how to start this delicate conversation.
Before beginning, first take some time to consider why their hygiene is off track. Is this a new problem, or have you noticed a gradual decline? Has something changed in your loved one’s life such as a new job or a disagreement with family or a partner that could have caused the problem? Knowing the underlying cause of the problem might make it easier to approach the conversation.
Once you’ve gathered your thoughts, it’s time to talk with your loved one. Start the conversation by focusing on the issue at hand—how their hygiene has changed—rather than attacking the person. Yes, you may need to bring up that their hair isn’t washed every day, or they haven’t changed clothes in two weeks, however, avoid framing it as a criticism. Open the conversation by expressing concern over the issue. Tell your loved one that you care about them and you want to help make sure they’re healthy.
It’s also important to be patient and understanding. Your loved one may be embarrassed to discuss the topic and likely has already been self-conscious about their hygiene habits. Your gentle approach and compassionate words can help to create an open dialogue about the issue.
Once an open conversation has started, work together with your loved one to come up with concrete solutions. Offer to help out with whatever steps are needed, from going to buy new clothes, gently reminding them to wash daily, or even helping to clean the house if it’s become unsanitary. It's key to rely on your special connection to help your loved one overcome their bad hygiene. Respect, patience and compassion will go a long way in helping them back to good health.
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