You can’t always be there. But we can.
If your elderly loved one has dementia you’ve probably already discovered that clothing can complicate the situation quite a bit. Your loved one’s tastes may not have changed much, but her abilities and her comfort level may have.
Buy Clothes that Are Comfortable and Easy to Wear
When you buy clothes for your elderly loved one, pay particular attention to how easy they would be to help your loved one to put on and take off. Buttons and zippers can be difficult for your loved one to manage on her own, which can contribute greatly to frustration. Look for soft clothing that won’t irritate skin. If you can find stretchy materials, that’s going to help, too.
Give Your Loved One Limited Choices
Once you stock up your loved one’s closet, it’s important to continue to give her choices. When it’s time to get dressed, give her a choice between two different outfits for the day. If you offer her more choices or ask her to pick something from her closet, you might find that overwhelms her and makes her shut down. Giving her an option from limited choices allows her autonomy without too much distraction.
Buy Multiples of Favorite Outfits
People with dementia can tend to develop strong habits. This is particularly true when it comes to the clothing that they prefer to wear. If your loved one finds a favorite outfit, you might have a hard time getting her out of those clothes and into something else. This is when it’s helpful to have multiples of the same outfit. That way when one set is in the wash, she can wear the other.
Get Rid of Clothes that Are Too Frustrating to Wear
Another helpful task that you might overlook is to get rid of clothing that is uncomfortable or too frustrating for your loved one to wear. That way when she does look in her closet or dresser drawers, she’s not distracted by something that would only frustrate her. If you think it would be too upsetting for your loved one to have too large a change all at once, gradually clean out the older clothes.
Your loved one’s elderly care providers can help you to solve any specific issues your loved one has around her wardrobe and getting dressed.