Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or some other kind of dementia requires creativity, patience, and empathy, the ability to step outside of your individual reasoning and logic and realize why a certain behavior is happening, and then to learn just how to effectively manage it. That’s certainly the situation with a loved one who won’t change his or her clothing, regardless of how dirty or unkempt an outfit has become.
There are many explanations why someone with Alzheimer’s may insist upon wearing exactly the same outfit, including:
- Judgment or memory problems, for example, losing track of time or thinking the clothes were recently changed
- The comfort and familiarity of a specific bit of clothing
- A need to maintain control
- Struggles with the task of changing clothes
- Feeling stressed from the choices associated with selecting an outfit
- Fatigue and/or physical pain
- The inability to detect scent and to clearly see stains on clothes
Our care team has some suggestions for how to help someone with Alzheimer’s:
- First off, don’t ever argue or try to reason with someone with Alzheimer’s.
- Purchase additional outfits that are the same as the one your senior loved one insists on wearing.
- When the senior is bathing or sleeping, remove the dirty clothing from the room and replace with clean items.
- Make getting dressed as easy as possible, using only a few choices which are easy to put on and take off, and permitting as much time as necessary for dressing.
- Offer clothing options in solid colors rather than patterns, which could be distracting, confusing, or visually overstimulating.
- Take into account any timing issues: is the senior exceedingly tired and/or aggravated at a particular period of the day? If so, try incorporating dressing into the time of day when he or she usually feels the most calm and content.
- Evaluate if your own feelings are exacerbating the problem in any respect. As an example, is it a question of embarrassment that is driving the demand for your senior loved one to clothe themselves in a certain way?
Remember that wearing a comfy outfit for an added day may be preferred over the emotional battle involved with forcing a change of clothing. When it truly becomes a concern however, give us a call! Sometimes, an older adult feels more comfortable being helped with personal care needs such as dressing and bathing by a skilled in-home caregiver as opposed to a family member. Atlanta Home Care Partners’ care experts are experienced and skilled in helping those diagnosed with dementia maintain personal hygiene with kindness and compassion, and they are always available to help.