What to Do When Your Loved One Wears the Same Clothes Over and Over

You may cringe to see your loved one in the same brown sweater or blue top day after day, but let it go -- as long as the clothes are clean, that is. Many people with moderate-stage dementia cling to the same outfit day after day because that's what's easy and secure. What's more, they can't remember having worn it only yesterday, and the day before.

How to deal?

  • Don't distress too much. Familiar outfits may boost your loved one's comfort level. Remind yourself that in the "olden days" people only had a few different outfits; huge, shifting wardrobes are a modern invention!

  • Clear out the closet of unworn items or those unlikely to be worn again, if you haven't already. Having fewer choices in the rotation can actually make it less likely that the person will choose exactly the same thing day after day.

  • Buy multiples, so there's more than one blue top available to wear -- and to wash.

  • Scoop up multiples of dirty clothes when you change sheets in the bedroom. (You can't count on your loved one to use a hamper.)

  • Be sure clean underwear is available after bathing -- whisk away the dirties as soon as they're removed for the shower or bath. Consider storing clean underwear in the bathroom, where it's handy.

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