How can I find someone to cut my father's hair at home?

4 answers | Last updated: Oct 08, 2016
Laffanyway asked...

How do I find a hair stylist or barber to cut my very frail father's hair at home?

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

If I want to find someone to cut hair in an elder's home, I ask barbers or hair stylists (in the neighborhood)if they are willing to do it. Most charge more than the price of a hair cut to make up for the extra time. Over the years I found several kind hair dressers who like to work on frail, older people.If you don't want to do the research yourself, you could ask assisted living or nursing home facilities in the neighborhood if they know of someone. And finally, I have seen sons and daughters of frail parents get out the scissors and trim a frail parent's hair.

Community Answers

Galowa answered...

Dear Laffanyway,

I loved your response on a previous thread, (85 yo Grandma wandering around and not eating,) and it was NOT "too long." Thanks for being here and contributing.

Assuming your dad is going to be with you for a while, I suggest buying a good quality hair cutting kit and learning to cut his hair yourself. There are several reasons for doing this.

First, older "gentlemen" like a fresh cut every four to six weeks. After awhile the cost of "at home service" plus "tip" will begin to mount (and YOU will likely never be fully satisfied with the barber's "post-cut clean-up....") Finding someone (whose efforts satisfy your dad - and you,) who is willing to commit to either coming regularly (OR coming on an as-needed basis) will take time and effort. In fact, organizing these home service visits will end up taking MORE time and effort than learning to cut his hair yourself.

A haircut is a give and take process leading to a sense of "Us" or team, much like that which most mothers and daughters share early on. You and your dad can laugh together as you learn - and he instructs - a rare treat for a man in his circumstance.

A haircut is also performed with intermittent eye contact, so it will give this "loner" a chance to appreciate what you are giving him (of yourself,) while allowing him to gradually confront his own embarrassment at his dependence on your providing him with "personal" services.

So, your provision of this haircutting service could prove to be a valuable inroad toward developing trust around physical intimacy with your father, something which both you and he will need LOTS of as the degree of intimate care he requires from you increases. It is particularly embarrassing, I believe, for a man to receive certain types of assistance from a daughter, regardless of the closeness of the relationship.

The important thing is that when his needs really hit the nitty gritty, the groundwork will have been laid for an experience SHARED - one in which you can learn and laugh together, reminding each other "THIS is no HAIRCUT... but if we could get through that WE can get through ANYTHING!"

All good wishes to you and yours!



;- )


Laffanyway answered...

Galowa, Thanks for sharing your experience. I have been avoiding for the last month, as my father has declined rapidly in health and is now receiving at-home hospice services (started yesterday). When I read your comments about developing trust and intimacy prior to it getting to the real nitty-gritty, all I can say is amen! We never got to that place, and when he needed me to perform the most personal of care duties, Oh, did he resist! When the hospice coordinator came here and told him it was me or a hospice residence, he finally deferred to my care, but not without great discomfort for both of us. Initially, I went in; and armed with the tools of my new trade I anounced with a smile: " O.K.; I'm the nursing aide, you're the patient, and we don't know each other from Adam. When we're done, it never happened, and we're Dad and daughter again. Let's go!." He smiled and surrendered. This is not much easier now (on a dignity level) but he is so frail and barely conscious that personal care is akin to torture as far as I can see. Never the less, it has to be done for health and comfort regardless of the discomfort involved in the actual personal care activity. Hopefully others can benefit from the countless numbers of bewildered and exhausted cargivers who been there before them and got real support at this site.

Galowa answered...

Dearest Laffanyway,

GREAT handling on the "nitty-gritty" front. A++++!

Now that your father is in this ever-so-frail state, cleanliness becomes one of the true fundamentals of his comfort, and GROOMING becomes one of the last vestiges of a sense of order, identity and self-respect... (And providing it is the ultimate act of love...)

But now that you've done the "nitty-gritties," you can REALLY laugh (if only to yourself) at the ease of giving him a daily shave, shampoo, sponge bath, and trim. Don't forget a little bit of his favorite after-shave or cologne. And keep a picture of him as a younger man near his bed - as well as one of your mom at her most vital and beautiful...

In loving support,