Caring for a parent with dementia is a challenge in many aspects. Proper dressing and grooming is often the first challenge in the morning, and so has particular importance to set the tone for a new day.
Parents with dementia often become very confused when attempting to dress appropriately. They might pick out mismatched outfits or appear to be unable to define grooming or seems to misunderstand someone else’s grooming meaning. They may also have great difficulty with understanding context, such as dressing appropriately for the weather or for a later doctor’s appointment out of the house.
Here are 5 simple tips for caregivers to help their elderly parents and to reduce that common sense of confusion and panic many elderly dementia parents show when doing their daily grooming and dressing routines.
Declutter the closet.
Parents with dementia will often gravitate to clothing that is older, including damaged or threadbare items or outfits that no longer fit or are practical. Doing a closet declutter to remove any items that shouldn’t be worn again helps to simplify dressing.
Offer tidy clothing only.
By making sure that clean clothing is easy to access (and soiled clothing is in a hamper tucked out of sight), you can ensure that your parent will choose fresh clothes.
Consider mobility and ability.
Parents with dementia often have alternate health issues such as limited mobility. Additionally, dementia can lead parents to inappropriate disrobing or rearrangement of clothing. Ensure that the available wardrobe matches your parents current abilities and mobility, and add adaptive or easy-wear items where necessary.
Give your parent options.
Give your parent two or three outfits to choose from. The choice helps the parent feel in control and a small selection of complete outfits is easier for them to manage than an entire closet full of mismatched pieces.
Cater to personal tastes.
Your parent may be struggling with dementia, but they still have preferences. Try to find appropriate items in styles that your parent finds important or find items that are a favourite colour to express their taste.
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