For want of a cut
When I first came here, there was no beauty salon. A cosmetologist came in once a month and only stayed long enough to cut the hair of residents who needed it most. When she came in on Saturdays, I used to watch her doing haircuts through the TV room's observation window.
When a new activity assistant was hired, she coincidently was a licensed cosmetologist and could do haircuts more often. Because haircuts were regularly scheduled, most of the residents looked well-tended. However, there are a few men who prefer their hair long and do not have it cut. Although most female residents will allow a haircut, there are also a few holdouts.
When the cosmetologist/activity assistant left 18 months ago, some residents would not let the activity director cut their hair. One male resident usually goes out for a haircut but since he can be difficult, he does not get to go very often. When he does, he is very pleased with his hair.
A twentysomething female resident came here with long hair. In the more than two years she has been here, it has not been cut, and it is halfway down her back. Her hair is wavy and thick, but I wonder if she might want it shortened and thinned out some. An older, female resident with almost white hair wore it in a cute, cheek-length bob when she came. Now it is below her shoulders. As warmer weather approaches, I would think a cut and thinning would spruce up her look and make her hair easier to care for.
One 67-year-old male resident has not had a haircut in more than a year. When an aide tried to use trimmers to cut it, he yelled and got physical. She tried again, but he acted up. She has not tried since. With his confused memory, he tells staff that his doctor, several miles away, will cut it. It is a shame that he will not cooperate. While his hair is sparse on top, the back is below his collar. He may want a male barber to cut his hair, or maybe he just wants to know a professional is doing it.
There is a beauty school nearby, and haircuts are less than $10. Since residents enjoy outings, I would think a bus full of them could be taken there to have their hair cut. If the school was contacted beforehand, and the residents went at a non-busy time, they might even be able to get their hair cut without much of a wait.
Since my mother was a hairdresser, I am conscious of how my hair looks. It makes me sad when I see these residents going without haircuts. I guess there is no way to get them a free professional cut. Cosmetologists do not usually go to a nursing home unless the facility has salon amenities like a shampoo bowl and other tools of their trade.
Perhaps there is a way to convince some of the residents to forgo a few snack purchases, to pay for a haircut. I know when I get a haircut, or other salon service, it always lifts my spirits.
Kathleen Mears is a long-time blogger who has been a nursing home resident for 21 years. She is an incomplete quadriplegic and uses a power wheelchair to get around. Her computer is her “window on the world.” This blog shares her thoughts and view of life as a nursing home resident as well as ideas of how it might be improved in the future.