Helping a person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia maintain not only their independence, but also their appearance can help promote positive self-esteem. As the disease progresses, it can be frustrating with a suffer to do simple tasks such as brushing their hair or even getting dressed. These tips can really help bring a positive outlook on how a person can feel not only better about themselves, but maintain a bit of independence during this time.
When a person is suffering with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, getting dressed in the morning can be overwhelming. They may not be able to remember how to dress, or even what choices are best for the day. Simple ways you can help your loved ones are to assist with the following:
- Simple Choices & Ideas – Sometimes having a large amount of clothing can be overwhelming for the person. Try to keep closets free of an excessive amount of clothes, and try to select outfits that they favor. Sometimes offering a smaller number of outfits can make the person feel better about their choices.
- Organize – If your loved one needs help choosing an outfit, it may be easier to pick an outfit out for them. Lay the clothes out on the bed, in order of dressing. For instance, make sure they put their undergarments on first, before the rest of their clothes. Sometimes you may need to dictate the process, but reminding them to “put your arms in the sleeves,” rather than saying to put on your shirt. Simple reminders will help keep them feeling part of the process.
- Simple Clothing – Opt for shirts and blouses that open in the front, rather than a pullover top. If your loved ones have trouble with buttons or zippers, Velcro is a simple, easy substitution.
- Comfortable Shoes – Make sure the person has comfortable shoes that are non-slip. Again, opt in for shoes that fasten with Velcro rather than shoelaces, if it becomes too difficult.
- Be Flexible – Sometimes your loved one may want to wear the same outfit over and over – it’s OK to buy duplicates or similar styles available. Even if their outfit choices don’t match, it’s important to encourage proper hygiene and clean undergarments to avoid any infections or complications.
Grooming – Sometimes a person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia may forget how to comb their hair or even clip their fingernails. It’s important to maintain a clean appearance, that will make your loved ones feel better about themselves. Some ways you can assist are:
- Routines – If your loved one is used to getting their haircut every few months, it’s important to try and keep that routine as much as possible. If they are unable to travel to see their regular Barber, sometimes they may be able to come to the persons house to make the experience less stressing.
- Toiletries – Let the person continue using their favorite toiletries, such as cologne, toothpaste and makeup.
- Perform Tasks – Allow your loved one to perform tasks with you, such as combing their hair. It can be helpful to have them copy your motions, especially if the person might forget this routine.
- Safer Grooming Tools – Having an electric shaver can be more safe and easy to use, rather than a razor. Make sure you have emery boards and cardboard nail files available, rather than a nail clipper, which could pose a threat if used improperly.
It’s important to remember that even though helping a person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia maintain their appearance can be challenging, it’s important to give them as much independence as possible which will promote positive self-esteem.