Is there a solution to an Alzheimer's patient taking off her clothing?

Jma asked...

Is there a solution to an Alzheimer's patient taking off her clothes and her underwear? Are some garments harder to take off than others?

Expert Answer

Beth Spencer is a social worker in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with more than 25 years of experience with families who have a member with dementia. She is coauthor of Understanding Difficult Behaviors and Moving a Relative with Memory Loss: A Family Caregiver's Guide. Previously, she directed Silver Club, early-stage and adult day programs serving individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses.

The first thing to analyze is why and when she is taking off her clothes. Sometimes this is an indication of discomfort  -- uncomfortable clothing, the person is too hot, she needs to use the bathroom, and so on.  Keeping a log for a few days may give clues to when and why this behavior is occurring. There are garments that have been designed to be more difficult to take off , for example, one-piece outfits that fasten in the back.  I'm always concerned about these, however. They have the potential to make the person very upset if they have an internal need to remove clothing.  Figuring out why she has this need is a much better approach.