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Alzheimer's Patient: Changing Clothes

It's not unusual for Alzheimer's patients to need help choosing clothes and remembering to change clothes. Here are some suggestions.

The person with Alzheimer's disease may be reluctant to undress even when they go to bed, or they may refuse to change their clothes. It's important to make sure the person changes their clothes frequently without getting upset. Here are a few strategies you could use to persuade them:

  • Remove the dirty clothing and put clean clothing in its place when they're in the bath or shower.
  • Persuade them to change because someone is visiting.
  • Say how much you'd love to see them wearing something new.

Unusual clothing and Alzheimer's

As long as it does no harm, it's probably better to accept the person dressing in an unusual way, or wearing clothing that is out of place, than to have a confrontation. If they're determined to wear a hat in bed, for example, or a heavy coat in summer, try to respect their choice.

Other aspects of grooming and Alzheimer's

When the person is dressed, help them with their hair. A woman may like to wear makeup or perfume. If she likes wearing jewelry, this is another opportunity for her to have a say in her appearance. If she enjoys having her nails painted, you might like to do this for her. A man may like to have his hair dressed with Brylcreme or to wear cuff links.

Boosting confidence with Alzheimer's Patients

Helping a person to look good is an important way to maintain their confidence. Regularly compliment the person on the way they look, and encourage them to take pride in their appearance.

What to wear and Alzheimer's

Look for clothes that are easy for the person to put on and take off, particularly if they live on their own, such as clothes with larger neck openings and front fastenings or no fastenings.

If you or the person you're caring for are struggling with getting dressed or undressed, make sure they have the right clothing, or make some adaptations:

    • Use Velcro fastenings rather than buttons, or hooks and eyes.
    • Shoes with laces may be difficult for someone with Alzheimer's to manage. Try well fitting slip-on shoes or shoes with Velcro fastenings, or replace shoelaces with elastic.
    • Try to make sure the person doesn't wear slippers for more than a few hours as they may not offer enough support to the feet.
    • If you're caring for a woman, front opening bras will be easier for you both to manage. Try to avoid self-supporting stockings as they can cause circulation problems.
    • For men, boxer shorts may be easier to manage than Y-fronts.

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Sources:

  • NIH Senior Health, Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's, March 19, 2002.
  • Alzheimer's Society - UK, Information Sheet 510, June 2005.

next: Treatment Options for Alzheimer's Diseas

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 16). Alzheimer's Patient: Changing Clothes, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, November 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/alzheimers/grooming/changing-clothes

Last Updated: July 23, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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