The way we dress is an extension of our personality and buying clothes and choosing what to wear on a certain day is a very personal thing to many of us. It’s also one way a person with dementia can retain a bit of their independence, but as the condition progresses, they may need more help.
Too many options of clothing can be overwhelming for a person with dementia, so it might be an idea to have a sort through everything and donate anything they don’t wear often to charity. Then you can make sure the items they do wear more often are easily accessible, this way they can look at the options and make their own choice about what to wear. Labels on cupboard doors and drawer fronts can be really useful for a person with dementia so they know where everything is stored.
If they need help with what order clothes should be put on, try laying out every item of clothing in the order they’ll need it, so underwear and socks first, followed by tops/shirts, trousers/skirts and ending with a cardigan or jumper.
Make sure you give your friend/family member plenty of time to dress themselves as being rushed can cause distress and anxiety, so let them take as long as they need.
If they make an unusual clothing choice, let it go. It doesn’t matter if patterns don’t match or colours clash, as long as the choice isn’t harming them in any way, they can wear what they like. It’s more important that they get to make their own decision on what they want to wear.
If you’re out shopping together for clothing, make sure to look for items that have easy to use fastenings such as Velcro or that have elasticated waistbands as buttons and zips can be troublesome.