4 Easy Ways to Help the person with Alzheimer’s Dementia Get Dressed

4 Easy Ways to help the person with dementia get dressed

  • Don’t Rush them. Keep things calm. The less stress the better.

If you’re in a hurry and issue a long list of things the person with dementia must do to get dressed; change your shirt, put on clean socks, be certain to get your best shoes, etc.

You can forget it! They will sit on the side of the bed and do nothing. The person with dementia will have forgotten the instructions by the time you’re finished speaking.

Or, if you give a general order without specifics: “You need to get dressed this morning we’re going to the doctor,” the person with  middle stage Alzheimer’s dementia  may have no idea what you want him to do.

  • Use short, simple sentences and allow the person time to respond.

Speak slowly and suggest one article of clothing at a time. A task that seems simple to you can be quite complicated for the person with dementia. If the person’s response seems slow, do not rush to take over the task and dress him yourself. This will only embarrass a loved one or the person you are trying to help and serve to make him feel like a child. Allow the person time to think about your words and then respond.

  • Offer assistance if it appears they do not remember how to complete the task.

It is not unusual for someone with  middle stage Alzheimer’s to forget how to fasten a button, close a zipper, etc. If their response to your order is a look of confusion, you might expect that they’ve forgotten how to complete the task. Don’t insist that they remember, “You remember how to do it, you did it before……..” In all likelihood they don’t remember. And saying they Should remember only serves to make the patient feel inadequate and agitated.

  • Purchase easy to manage clothing.

Velcro closures are better than shoe strings, snaps, buttons, and even zippers. You can substitute velcro for almost any fastener. Purchase clothing that closes in the front, buy  pull-on pants and shirts. Purchase slip-on shoes or those with velcro closures. Trying to tie a shoe can be a daunting task for someone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

Remember that Alzheimer’s and Dementia is a progressive disease; they may be able to button their shirt today, but not tomorrow. Try to be kind and generous with your time. I remember that it isn’t always easy to be even tempered.

Helping my mom get dressed was one of the most frustrating things I did all day. And, I must admit–I allowed her to wear the same clothing for a couple days more than once. Sometimes you have to “choose your battles.” If Mom and I were both out of patience–changing clothes could wait for another day.

Be good to your patient–and be good to yourself, too
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Comments

  1. says

    The thoughtful suggestions contained in this post are exactly the type of information caregivers need to have. As the numbers of Alzheimer’s-dementia patients increase many more people will benefit from primary caregiver education which contains useful information.

  2. Jacki DeNicolo McKay says

    I so agree with this topic! As Caregiver for my 91 year old Father, I have learned so much these past 6 years since his diagnosis. Three years ago I first heard the words “Pick your battles”. This was the best statement! Another one was “if it’s not hurting him or anyone else, let it be”…with regard to him wanting to wear his pajama top rather than a shirt. Or putting a second pair of underwear over the ones already on.

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