Wednesday Workshop – Tips on Helping Your Loved One Get Dressed
Hello and welcome to Wednesday Workshop. If you are caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s you already know that getting dressed is one of their biggest daily challenges.
During the early stages of the disease, people can still dress themselves but they can be overwhelmed by the choices they have to make. It is important to enable people with dementia to make their own choices for as long as they can and, if they do need assistance, to offer it tactfully and sensitively.
Give the person choice
- Wherever possible, ask the person what they would like to put on. Someone with dementia needs the dignity of having choice in what they wear, but too many options can be confusing, so it may be best to make suggestions one at a time.
- If the person has lots of clothes, put the things they wear most frequently somewhere accessible. This will make it easier for the person to choose.
- Lay out clothes in the order the person will put them on (starting with underwear and ending with a cardigan or jumper). Remind them sensitively which garment comes next or hand them the next item that they need.
- Make sure that items are not inside out and that buttons, zips and fasteners are all undone.
- If the person is confused, give instructions in very short steps, such as, ‘Now put your arm through the sleeve’. It may help to use actions to demonstrate these instructions.
- If mistakes are made – for example, by putting something on the wrong way round – be tactful, or find a way for you both to laugh about it.
- Place labels on drawers where particular items of clothing are kept, or store whole outfits together. If using labels, a combination of pictures and words may be understood better than words alone.
Allow enough time
If you are helping someone with dementia to dress, allow plenty of time so that neither of you feels rushed. They may take longer to process information than they used to and this will affect their ability to make choices. If you can make dressing an enjoyable activity, the person will feel more relaxed and confident.
- Try to use the time to chat about what you are doing and anything else that might be of interest.
- If the person resists your efforts to help, try leaving them for a while. They may be more willing to co-operate if you try again a little later.
To learn more or to speak with us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
Feel free to call us at (877) 760-9199 or email us below. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week.