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Addressing the pressing issues of appearance Jenny Wallis | Mon, Mar 07 2011 12:00 PM

Dear Jenny,

I am noticing that my father is starting to have a hard time dressing himself.  He seems to get frustrated just putting on a simple piece of clothing.

Physical appearance is important to everyone’s sense of self-esteem.  For the person with Alzheimer’s Disease/dementia, the simple act putting on clothing can be frustrating.  For the reason, you need to manage dressing difficulties one-by-one.  There are many reasons why the person with Alzheimer’s/dementia might have problems dressing, including the following:
Physical Problems:Does the person have a problem with balance or with motor skills that are needed to fasten buttons, or close zippers?

Intellectual Problems: Does the person remember how to dress?  Does she recognize her clothes?  Is she aware of the time of day or season of the year?

Environment: Is the person troubled by lack of privacy, a cold room, poor lighting, or loud noises?

Other concerns:  Are you pressuring the person to get dressed quickly?  Are you giving the person clear step-by-step instructions on how to dress or does the task seem too complicated?  Is the person embarrassed or humiliated by dressing in front of a non-family caregiver?  Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be in a better position to help the person get dressed.  Recognize the importance of clothing and self-esteem.  Making it easy for the patient to make clothing selections.

Lay out proper clothes for the person, including appropriate selections for warm and cool weather.

If appropriate, give the person an opportunity to select favorite outfits or colors.

You may want to move excess clothing from the closet.  Seeing many clothes can be overwhelming and upsetting to the person.

Choose clothing that is durable and flexible and feels soft and comfortable on the person’s skin.

If you have questions about senior care or helping an elderly loved one, contact Jenny Wallis, Community Marketing Director at Villa Bonita Senior Living at 619-739-4400 or by e-mail at villabonitamkg2@islllc.com.   Villa Bonita Senior Living is an Assisted Living Community licensed by the California Department of Social Services, located at 3434 Bonita Road, Chula Vista, CA  91910.  You can also visit Villa Bonita online at www.villabonitaseniorliving.com.


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