Getting dressed is a very personal activity, that most adults have done independently for as long as they can remember. In addition to the very act of dressing, the clothes that we chose say a lot about who we are and how we’re feeling today. So for someone with dementia, this can be a particularly troubling daily activity to accept help with. If you are assisting someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s to dress, the following tips may help you:
- Let them pick. If possible, give them the choice of what to wear today. For someone with dementia, too many options can be overwhelming and confusing, so give them a selection of options from what they like to wear.
- Lay out clothing. To encourage independence, lay their clothes out for them in a logical order – starting from underwear and working up to sweaters or jackets. Make sure that clothes are right side out, and zippers or buttons are already undone.
- Label the closet. It can be helpful to organise clothes under labels, such as shirts or socks, and label the drawers or areas that they are kept in. Labels that have pictures and text are often more quickly recognised than text alone.
- Have a comfortable room. If the rooms is too cold, getting dressed may be uncomfortable. Also ensure there is suitable support for balance, such as a chair, and that their privacy is observed with blinds and doors closed.
- Help with shopping. If you are helping someone with dementia to buy clothes, encourage choices that are easy to put on as well as maintain, and remind them of the current weather conditions for which they need to dress.