Jan 2, 2017

Too Many Layers of Clothing, How Do I Get Her to Undress? Help

This is one problem I never dealt with, putting on multiple layers of clothing. However, it does happen, and it is disconcerting.

Wearing too many layers of clothes.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

I wonder, how do you change this pattern or routine? As most of you know, I advocate changing the dynamic. Replacing a pattern of behavior with a new, different, and desirable pattern of behavior.

I know this from experience, it is very difficult to "reason" or "explain" to a person living with dementia.

If the person is putting on multiple layers of clothing all they time, they must have a reason. For example, are they cold? Do they think its cold outside? Are they going somewhere?

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Our reader asks?
Showers have been a big issue. Having figured out the "carrot," i.e. going out, so let's take a shower, I still have the most trouble getting her to undress.

She often greets me at the door wearing two or even three pairs of pants, a shirt or two, and a sweater.

How to Get a Dementia Patient to Cooperate

When it's time for the shower, we often go through unzipping pants, then pulling them up and zipping them again, often several times. "I don't know what you want me to do?" "I have pants on already."

What words should I use? How do I get her to undress, to take clothes off and put clothes on?

How do I get her to undress; to change her clothes? Help.

One thing to keep in mind. This person is not living with this women. She is a dear friend, and s/he is providing help.

My first thought on this was to put all clothing away in closets and drawers in another room. Out of site out of mind.

If I left the decision up to Dotty, she would put on yesterdays cloths -  if I left them laying around. And, if I left the decision up to Dotty, more often than not she would pick really nice cloths to go out, and her lounging cloths to go out to a nice place.

The point here  - I had to assist her in making the decision about what to wear; rather than, allowing her to make the decision on her own.

A second thought would be to lay out, after the shower,  only the clothes that the woman was going to wear that day; and then, to assist her in getting dressed. Positive reinforcement might help. For example by saying after she has her clothes on - you really look nice.

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More About Bob DeMarco

Original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room