Getting dressed and undressed everyday can be a challenge for many older adults. Age-related health conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, mobility issues, arthritis and others can make independent dressing difficult. Fortunately, there are numerous interventions to make it easier to support independent dressing and help to make the process smooth and painless.
Here are some tips to make the process of dressing and undressing easier for both seniors and caregivers:
Get started early. Be sure that your senior loved one has an ample amount of time in the mornings to get dressed—common health conditions in older adults can make it difficult to dress quickly. Allowing a sufficient amount of time for dressing will make the process feel more pleasant, and will avoid feelings of frustration. It’s important that those with cognitive impairments such as dementia be given ample amounts of time to help follow and understand cues and the sequence of steps to getting dressed. Additionally, those with dexterity and mobility issues may need to move through the process more slowly to avoid pain.
Use dressing aids. Dressing aids are helpful for both seniors and caregivers. Using shoe horns, button closers, and sock aids facilitate the process of dressing, and help seniors maintain a sense of independence.
Buy clothing that’s easy to get on and off. Consider buying pants with elastic waistbands to avoid the frustration of small buttons and difficult zippers. Open cardigans, snaps, large buttons, and Velcro closures will facilitate more manageable dressing and undressing.
Limit wardrobe options. Keeping options for clothing simple and reducing the amount of clothing in your senior’s closet will help to facilitate the decision-making process and avoid frustration. Help your loved one to go through their closet and donate anything they don’t wear. Caregivers can help this process even more so by choosing two or three outfit options for their older adult to choose from. Someone with memory loss can easily be overwhelmed by too many options.
Check for skin issues. Older adults are more prone to skin breakdown. While helping an older adult to get changed, inspect their skin for any tears, redness, or pressure sores. Pay close attention to bony prominences such as shoulder blades, buttocks, heels, and elbows. It’s important to catch any signs of skin breakdown early to avoid open wounds and infection.
Happier at Home prides itself in encouraging independent living and aiding in activities of daily life. Having seniors dress themselves helps them maintain independence and instill a sense of dignity. Our Happier at Home caregivers
can encourage your loved one to dress independently, provide cues, and offer more help for those that need it. Call us today