Tips for Dressing your Parent with Dementia

Tips for Dressing your Parent with Dementia

Caregiving for a parent or loved one with dementia can be challenging, especially as the condition is progressive and fluid. It is important for caregivers to establish a routine so that your patient is not confronted with new and unexpected situations which can cause conflict and stress for both parties. This is never a quick process, so make sure to leave time to avoid feeling rushed and impatient.

Clothing should be both comfortable but presentable. It is depressing for all parties if their elderly loved one is in pajamas or unchanged clothing for long periods of time. Visual cures are helpful. Work-like clothes may signal to the person that its time to go to work, so you may want to select outfits that signal relaxation and ease. Pajamas or nightclothes will help signal that it’s time to go to sleep and may help ameliorate twighlighting.

Practical Tips

  • Decide on clothing ahead of time and lay it out so that a visual plan exists. This is a good time to use the toilet, which is more difficult once dressed.
  • Make sure that the room is warm enough, and that curtains and doors are closed if your parent is sensitive to privacy.
  • A sturdy chair with arms is a safer choice than sitting on the side of a bed, and your parent may be able to help by lifting her body to enable access.
  • Be gentle and follow your parent’s lead. Most elderly dementia patients work hard to remain as dignified and independent as possible, so in the beginning you may just be coaching gently from the sidelines, but this will change over time and you will need to be increasingly involved.
  • Chose easy to put on outfits and consider adaptive clothing- including Reboundwear with zippers for accessibility, elastic waistbands. Regular clothing will become a wrestling match with time.

Dementia patients respond well to routine and repetition so they do not have to
process novel and unexpected information. It is sometimes preferable to purchase multiple versions of an outfit that they like, so that you know they are clean, but they feel secure and cozy in a predictable and familiar choice.
Reboundwear was created for just such situations. It is cozy, high quality, washable and attractive. Your parent will feel presentable and you will have an easier time making sure they are clean and ready for each day.

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