5 Strategies to Help Someone With Dementia Dress Independently

Simplifying the dressing process is an easy way to help someone with dementia continue to do the task solo. Try these strategies:

  1. Lay out clothes in the order they should be put on: underwear on the top of the pile, then pants and shirt, then sweater, then socks last. Why: Sequencing clothes helps jog someone's rote memory into getting things on in the right way.

  2. Weed closets of out-of-season items, fancy evening clothes, and others that shouldn't be worn in everyday life. Why: It reduces the number of choices your loved one has to make and reduces odds of an embarrassing mistake.

  3. Shift from belts, zippers, and buttons to elastic waistbands. Why: They're easier to manipulate as coordination fails.

  4. Store all like clothes together: t-shirts with t-shirts, pants with pants. Why: It makes selections easier. Alternative: Some people find it easy to dress if an entire outfit is placed on a single hanger. You may need to experiment to see what's most effective for your loved one.

  5. Replace buttons and ties with Velcro. Why: It's easier to manipulate.


5 months ago, said...

The hard part is helping with cosmetics and ear rings the rest is much easier for me her husband even thou she is not sure who Iam


over 2 years ago, said...

I have come against all the problems mentioned, being a mere man, i never knew dressing women was so complicated.


almost 3 years ago, said...

I have to change my husband every morning. It's hard because I am still working. I have my beauty shop at home. The girl that helps me comes later in the morning. If I dont change him and he wakes up he'll come and knocks the back door all soil. I love my husband but sometimes I want to go crazy, I am 70 years old, so you can understand.


almost 4 years ago, said...

This is very helpful, as I (male) am helping to dress a female for the first time. Never realized there were so many choices!


almost 4 years ago, said...

sequencing the clothes I pick out Momma's clothes for her because she can't get to her closet without risking a fall


almost 4 years ago, said...

Also, since he wears sweats all the time and is cold, I usually try to put the clean clothes on at night and let him sleep in them. If he has an accident, the sweats are easy to change. Saves the morning hassle.


almost 4 years ago, said...

Putting things in order. I'd do socks right after underwear (or in this case, pull-ups) as he wears sweat pants all the time now and he can slide the sweat pants over the socks. Velcro shoes a must. I still have to help with undershirts and sweatshirts (he insists on both) but I make him do all he can. Thanks!


about 5 years ago, said...

this is very helpful, he is still able to dress and pick out clothes, however, I have to watch that he doesn't wear the same clothes several days in a row.


over 5 years ago, said...

My sister is still capable of dressing herself, but wears the same thing every day. I live a long distance away, and she is with a caregiver to whom I can give this information when she needs it.


over 5 years ago, said...

I also find it helpful to remove soiled clothing at night once mom is in bed...otherwise, she will wear the same thing day after day. It sometimes causes a commotion in the morning when she first wakes up but I tell her that outfit is in the wash and will be back in the next day or two and that the one I laid out is for that day. Usually, once that is said, I walk off to avoid further discussion!