Dementia and Getting Dressed

5 Ways to Make Getting Dressed Simpler for Someone With Dementia

Wardrobe glitches sometimes happen in late mild to moderate dementia, as making choices and planning grows more challenging. Your loved one may select clothing that's not appropriate for the weather or the occasion.

To make getting dressed easier:

1. Try helping your loved one organize favorite outfits and hang them together on the same hanger: slacks, top, sweater, even scarves or jewelry.

2. Out of the person's notice, remove everything that's not in season or that's needed only for special occasions, so they don't get chosen inappropriately.

3. While you're simplifying the wardrobe, winnow down the closet so that it contains only items that fit and are easy to get on and off; eliminate everything else.

4. Also get rid of too many multiples of the same item (like 25 pairs of slacks). Choosing among them and matching them to tops can be overwhelming, and your loved one will probably be happy rotating among fewer pairs.

5. Suggest the idea of a "uniform" -- a signature outfit that your loved one can put on without thinking. Many people tend to dress this way anyway. (Think of Steve Jobs in his black turtleneck and jeans, for example.) Stress how much quicker and easier this makes getting dressed, while ensuring that the person always looks smart.

Although these steps may seem intrusive, your loved one will probably be relieved by having to make fewer choices.

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