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What to look for?

Dressing | Common Signs

  • Will only get dressed or change when told to do so (e.g. otherwise would wear pyjamas all day)
  • Dresses in clothing that are not suited to the season, temperature or situation
  • Dresses in unusual clothing combinations (e.g. tie with sweater)
  • Relies on others to select or lay out clothing
  • Layers clothing (e.g. shirt over pyjamas, puts on two pairs of pants)
  • Does not change undergarments regularly
  • Wears same outfits day after day
  • Wears dirty or soiled clothes (e.g. will take clothes out of the dirty laundry to dress)
  • Dresses very slowly
  • Puts on clothing incorrectly (e.g. back to front, inside out, underwear over pants)
  • Has difficulty with buttons, zippers, belts or shoe laces
  • Forgets how to put clothes on (e.g. tries to wear shirt as pants)
Dressing | General Description

Difficulty with dressing is typical in moderate dementia, especially when the person you care for has not been given treatment yet. They may need to be reminded to change clothes or dress appropriately. Often they will require assistance, as they may have difficulty with buttons, zippers or shoelaces. They may resist assistance due to the lack of privacy and loss of independence, or because of feelings of vulnerability without their clothes on. Dressing requires the support of a complex web of neurological skills that the progress of Alzheimer's diseases will, over time, disrupt. For example, to dress themselves, people must understand that time has passed. They must be able to look for and find their clothing. The person you care for may not realize that their physical appearance may be inappropriate due to memory loss or confusion of time and place.

Much similar to the issue of bathing, people with Frontotemporal dementia can require help or cueing for proper dressing. Many caregivers find it useful to limit the selection of clothing in the closet by removing seasonal clothing to another closet. It can also be useful to remove clothes that have been worn frequently and unchanged while the person is sleeping. Then have them laundered and returned to the closet before the person wakes.

The first step in taking a more active role in symptom management is understanding how everyday life is affected; the next step is communicating this knowledge to the care planning team and family members. SymptomGuideTM is designed with these goals in mind.

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See Also:
Symptom Library > Everyday Activities > Bathing
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Independence
Symptom Library > Thinking & Judgment > Decision Making
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Disorientation to Time
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Inappropriate Language and Behaviour
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Self-Awareness
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Exercise Program
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Exercise
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Natural Progression and Staging
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Last updated January 13, 2019
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