This seemingly straightforward act requires decision-making, forward thinking and awareness that may not come as naturally to your loved one as it once did. Choosing an item of clothing alone may become overwhelming, and you cannot be certain that they can put together a matching outfit or something that is appropriate for the likes of a walk, an outing, or the weather at that time. Not to mention, the clothing should be comfortable, accommodating, and clean.
Something important to note is that once your loved one is at the stage of needing to be dressed by you or another caregiver, their independence has been compromised. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure that they feel as though they are still a part of the process; whether this is a practical contribution or an impression you are giving them simply to keep them happy.
Be mindful of the privacy element of being undressed, and dressing. You can do this by allow them to take the lead and establishing where their boundaries are. Make sure not to impose beyond where they are comfortable.
Our top tips for dressing your loved one can be split into those concerning steps to take ahead of time, practical tips for the action of dressing itself, and handy gadgets to help along the way…
- Label everything
- shelf with t-shirts by words and possibly a picture
- item itself
- in context of an outfit
- Use boxes to label smalls like underwear and socks
- Boxes with labels are great for storage and organisation and can make a huge difference
- reduce options
- identify their favourite things
- keep few options in one space, can keep more elsewhere if desired
- Make sure these are provided
- Shop together
- Involve them in the discussion
- Plan a generous amount of time in which to complete the act
- Lay out the outfit
- Allows them to approve it
- In order of how to put it on
- With instructions
- Stay nearby, appearing busy but ready to advise if necessary. Giving them, even the illusion of independence can be incredibly powerful to their self-esteem and wider mood.
- Make everything accessible. From where things are stored, to how they are stored. Providing them as much chance as independence as possible.
- Carefully identify times to change over clothing
- Use the time as an opportunity to check
- The able label. Take a look at the Able Label. Their clothing has been specifically designed to help people get dressed by themselves and regain some independence. The range really is super and will have something to help.
- Look into dressing aids, such as a sock aid, zipper hook. The world has really moved on from the humble shoe horn.
- Determine the best laundry detergent etc, fabric freshener. Some could be causing itches, small rashes and other niggles that you might not realise as the caregiver.
- Rework an element of your loved one’s favourite garment from the past. This is a really beautiful way to make your loved one reminisce. As an example, you can buy ‘de-bobblers’ to remove those pesky bobbles from old jumpers and get new life into them.