Shaving Dad


Shaving Dad

(Editor’s Note: I’ve partnered with Gillette to share my experiences using Gillette TREO. The perspectives and viewpoints I offer are my own.)

For decades, my 88-year-old dad followed the same schedule: up at 6:30 a.m., down the stairs to put on the tea kettle, back up the stairs to shave and get dressed.

I never saw my father unshaven until recently when he arrived at family functions with a visible stubble. Shaving, it seems, feels like work to him now; he just doesn’t have the energy to shave every day. What to do about this, I worried.

When the team at Gillette TREO approached me, I let out a sigh of relief. I had an opener for a conversation with my dad about shaving. When I asked him if he would help me test the TREO razor – a razor designed with family caregivers like me in mind – he readily agreed and shared he happily would not shave for a few days. Before our test, he had an appointment with his kidney doctor. When the doctor asked him how he would spend the rest of his day, he answered, "My daughter is going to shave me."

Gillette developed a shaving system specifically for caregivers that takes the mess out of shaving; the single-blade razor includes non-foaming shave gel built right into the handle. Because the gel applies clear, I could see my work in progress and where I may have missed a spot. The water-based gel also doubles as an aftershave which means my dad didn’t have to wash his face after the shave, a convenient benefit when shaving away from a sink or shower.
With everything built right into the razor, getting ready for the shave simply meant my dad warmed his face with a washcloth and then we began. My mom watched while I wiped gel on his face, waited about 30 seconds and began to shave. The razor fits in the palm of your hand and includes a divot for your finger to rest on as it moves, ensuring you hold it at the right angle for a more comfortable shave. I shaved as my dad gave guidance: "Go back to this area."

I worried about nicking my dad, who has skin cancer scars on several areas of his face. He also has scars on one side of his face from surgery in 2015 to remove a blocked carotid artery. In addition, his weight loss over the years means his hallows make a consistent shaving motion a challenge.

My fears turned out to be unwarranted. The safety comb on the single blade of the razor provides an extra layer of protection against nicks and cuts. I completed the shave without a nick which feels a bit like a miracle to me. My dad has a very light beard, so his stubble is really only visible in person. We did remove the stubble safely for which I still feel grateful a day later. At one point I even said out loud, "I'm just worried about a nick that leads to a lot of blood."

My dad, after the shave, is pictured below. I took the picture immediately after the shave -- you'll note the lack of a mess.

The simplicity of the TREO razor is important for a few reasons. Having the supplies needed in one product is so helpful during the rush of hectic caregiving days. The simplicity also takes out the vulnerability of the experience.

Taking on a task that our carees once did is just tough -- we feel sad for yet another loss and worry that we somehow will upset our caree. We hate the idea of making our caree feel less than, that they no longer can do something that was once so easy for them to do.

Being able to just start shaving without drama and mess gave me comfort. When we need to take over the shaving, we can just do it. And that matters.


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Thank you so much, Becca! It's a nerve-wracking task for sure.