View Full Version : Protective Hairstyles for resident with Huntington's

April 22nd, 2014, 03:35 PM
So I work in a care home, and there is a resident with Huntingdon's chorea. This causes (among other things) uncontrollable movements. This lady has longish (shoulder length) hair. In her younger days, she was very stylish and conscious of her appearance. Her hair meant a lot to her, and still does. When the hairdresser tried to approach her just to cut her fringe she started crying and lashing out. So I'm trying to help her keep her long hair. Unfortunately, due to her movements, she grinds her hair constantly against the back of her chair and bed. This is causing horrible tangles which are likely to end up matted and have to be cut out (this is why most of the residents with this condition have pixie cuts). So I'm going to try detangling with coconut oil and a tangle teezer or a wide-tooth comb and then to braid it. Is this a good idea? How do I convince the other staff to do this on a daily basis? I'm not sure why it's so important to me, but I really feel like this lady has so little that means anything to her left in her life that I'd like her to be able to keep her hair, as it's obviously so precious.

April 22nd, 2014, 03:44 PM
Hmm...Double french braids are probably the best option. Not sure how you would convince others on that point though! Would the home allow satin pillowcases? It would not solve the tangling problem, but it would at least help a little.

As a person with loved ones in care homes, it is so very heartwarming to hear that you are taking an interest in this woman's hair. The little things really do matter.

April 22nd, 2014, 03:48 PM
I think it's worth a shot. I don't know how well of a detangler just coconut oil is going to be, though.

April 22nd, 2014, 05:29 PM
Covers for the back of her chair and double braids is what I come up with.

April 22nd, 2014, 06:30 PM
You are a lovely person for being so caring and respecting this woman and not letting her be stripped of what she wants just because of the unfortunate effects happening to her. I think you should give this a go, maybe detangle with conditioner? I know this might cause a few extra hairs to fall out but it will be better to lose a few extra hairs and have no tangles that could lead to matting,maybe do a pre coconut oil. Also find a really super easy updo that anyone could do that wouldn't require too much effort so they can attend to everyone in the home equally. Maybe just a simple bun on the top of the head for rushed days? Good luck!

April 22nd, 2014, 06:39 PM
It's important to you because you care about the humanity and dignity of this woman... you're valuing something that you know is important to her when she is not in a position to do it herself. That's amazing.

I echo the buns on top of her head. If they are higher up, they are less likely to get in the way of her chorea and can still look cute. I also imagine many of the other staff members can manage some version of a bun... but if not, a simple sock bun can give a classic look and is quick/easy to do for the muggles. It may even inspire them to do similarly for other residents...

April 22nd, 2014, 08:42 PM
I would also maybe suggest a crown braid if possible. They stay well. With buns I would worry about the pins hurting her during the uncontrollable movements. You could also try side buns if you found a good gentle way to hold them. There's also always elizabethan hair taping, it's a little finicky to do but it's very comfortable and lasts for ages

April 23rd, 2014, 08:51 AM
I second the Elizabethan hair taping, no pins needed that could hurt her. Maybe she could wear a silk scarf over a braid or bun? That would be easy to put on, minimize damage from fiction and be easy to redo.

April 23rd, 2014, 09:13 AM
I think a simple braid would help a lot and might be the least time-consuming option, since you're not dealing with super-long hair. That's definitely where I'd start.

April 23rd, 2014, 09:20 AM
Bless you for caring enough to help this woman retain something that is precious to her. :blossom:

April 23rd, 2014, 09:51 AM
Thanks guys :)
I'll ask about satin pillowcases (never even thought about it), give it a go with the detangling with conditioner and coconut oil, and speak to the nurses about the option of braiding her hair or doing simple buns on top of her head to see how it goes.
I'm sure they'll be at least one female staff member on everyday who can cope with a braid. I think if I try it and can prove it works then other people will be more likely to take it on board. Unfortunately it's more of a time issue than is ideal.

But thanks for the encouragement - it is the right thing to do, I feel.

April 24th, 2014, 02:50 AM
@}-`-]-,-'- preifat -'-,-{-`-{@

April 24th, 2014, 03:07 AM
Tying it up in a silk scarf could be a good option for others when you're not around. It's so great that you're trying to help her. When a disease affects someone's hair it takes so much more of an emotional toll, so you are really doing a great thing! :love:

April 24th, 2014, 08:31 AM
Thank you for caring. That's a star in your crown. A topknot may work if the hair is long enough: a Scrunchee bun. Different colors for different outfits?

April 24th, 2014, 10:33 AM
SkyChild, I am so thankful that there are people like you who work as caregivers. The world needs all the kind-hearted, compassionate souls it can get.

I think the double French braids (leaving a parting at the back) would work well with the head movements you describe.

Wishing you lots of luck with helping this lady keep her hair. Huntingdon's is a cruel, cruel disease.

Paranda Belle
April 24th, 2014, 01:12 PM
As someone who has a 90 something grandmother with dementia and long hair, I'm really glad there are careers like you who are willing to go beyond the standard needs of residents. Alot of the time I end up doing my grandmother's hair because the careers don't know how. I agree with the braid/simple buns to keep it out the way.

Another thing to think about is washing - or lack of it. For most people with shorter hair daily shampooing is the norm and it's not the best way to keep longer hair in condition. We have to gently remind my grandmother's careers that a daily shower does not always have to include a daily shampoo. But a shampoo should always be followed by conditioner.