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Dressing Tips for Dementia

This video clip shows a caregiver using verbal, visual, and tactile cues to help a man in a middle stage of dementia get dressed (time: 3 minutes 30 seconds).

Many daily living tasks become difficult for people who are suffering from dementia, particularly as the disease progresses. Dressing oneself is one of these strenuous tasks, and this holds true for many types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy bodies dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. Assisting an individual with dementia in dressing oneself does not have to be a cumbersome task. Make note of the following dressing tips to make assisting in this endeavor go smoothly.

First of all, make sure to include the Alzheimer’s patient in the dressing process, rather than simply doing the work for him or her. For example, ask the individual to pull a shirt over his or her head after assisting with putting their arms in the proper holes or to pull off their pants after you have placed them in the proper position.

In addition, allow the individual to give input. As an example, individuals in mid-late stage dementia are highly unlikely to have the functioning to tie their own shoelaces. Since this is the case, as the caregiver, you will likely be doing this task for the individual. Therefore, ask the individual to tell you if you are tying their shoes tight enough, which allows him or her to be part of the dressing process. If you are told the shoes are not tight enough, make sure to listen to the individual’s feedback and make the shoes tighter.

Throughout the dressing process, offer verbal encouragement, such as “Good job”, “Looking good”, and “You’ve got it”. Use verbal cues, such as asking the individual to put his or her arm in the armhole or to pull the shirt down over his or her body. Tactile cues, which serve as a physical reminder, are also extremely helpful when assisting a dementia patient with dressing. For example, a gentle touch of the foot can serve as a prompt to put a shoe on. In addition, visual cues are also a key to offering assistance. As an example, you might point to the individual’s foot so that he or she is aware of what shoe goes on what foot.

If an individual is having issues with part of the dressing process, offer assistance to avoid frustration and a feeling of defeat or emotional distress. You want the Alzheimer’s patient to do a lot of the dressing him or herself, but you also want him or her to feel successful in their endeavor to do so.

This video clip shows a caregiver using verbal, visual, and tactile cues to help a man in a middle stage of dementia get dressed (time: 3 minutes 30 seconds).

Learn how a caregiver uses verbal, visual, and tactile cues to help a man in a middle stage of dementia get dressed.