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.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio