Care Blog

Dementia Care Tips: How to Help a Senior Who Refuses to Change Clothes

Taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia requires creativity, patience, and empathy, being able to step away from your own reasoning and logic and realize why a specific behavior is occurring, and then to determine how exactly to successfully manage it. That’s certainly the case with a senior who refuses to change his / her clothing, in spite of how dirty or unkempt an outfit might have become.
There are several reasons why a senior with Alzheimer's disease may insist on wearing the same outfit, including:

  • Judgment or memory problems, such as for instance losing track of time or thinking the clothes were recently changed
  • The comfort and familiarity of a specific little bit of clothing
  • A desire to maintain control
  • Struggles with the task of changing clothes
  • Feeling stressed by the choices associated with selecting an outfit
  • Fatigue and/or physical pain
  • The inability to identify scent or to clearly see stains on clothes

Our dementia care team has some suggestions to assist:

  1. First off, never argue or try to reason with someone with dementia.
  2. Purchase extra clothing that is identical to what the senior insists on wearing.
  3. When the senior loved one is bathing or sleeping, remove the dirty clothing from the room and replace with clean items.
  4. Make getting dressed as simple as possible, using only a few choices which are uncomplicated to put on and take off, and permitting as much time as needed for dressing.
  5. Provide clothing options in solid colors rather than patterns that could be distracting, confusing, or visually overstimulating.
  6. Consider any timing issues: is the older adult extremely tired and/or upset at a specific time of day? If that's the case, try incorporating dressing into the time of day when he or she typically feels the most calm and content.
  7. Decide if your own feelings are exacerbating the issue in the slightest. For instance, is it a question of embarrassment that’s driving the need for the senior to dress in a particular way?

Keep in mind that wearing a comfortable outfit for an extra day could be preferred as opposed to the emotional battle involved with forcing a change of clothing. If it truly becomes a concern, however, contact us! Sometimes, a loved one feels more comfortable being assisted with personal care needs such as bathing and dressing by a skilled in-home caregiver in the place of a family member. All Care’s care experts are experienced and skilled in helping those with Alzheimer's disease maintain personal hygiene with compassion and kindness, and are always available to help.

Contact us at (541) 857-9195 for additional helpful tips or to learn more about how we provide the kind of dementia care Grants Pass and other surrounding areas recommend most. For more information about all of the different areas we serve in Oregon, please view the service areas listed on our Contact Page.

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