Tips for Dressing Older Adults

Tips for caregivers for Dressing Older Adults

As your loved one ages, they may start having trouble manipulating buttons or zippers or may have trouble maintaining their balance. If that happens, they may need help dressing. Here are some tips to help you aid your loved one while helping them maintain a sense of independence.

Essential Tips For Dressing

  • Help your loved one retain their sense of style and taste in clothing. It may be a little bit easier for you to help them slide into a pair of sweatpants. However, if they have never owned a pair, they probably don’t want to start now. Unless there is a medically indicated reason, refrain from imposing your personal preferences or styles onto your loved one.
  • Allow your loved one to dress themselves as much as possible and only step in to assist when needed. It might take a little longer. However, it will help them retain a sense of independence and prevent the situation from becoming stressful or confrontational.
  • If your loved one suffers from arthritis in their hands or is less nimble in their fingers, they may have trouble with buttons or zippers.You can replace clothing fasteners with larger buttons, bigger zipper tabs, or Velcro. This will enable your loved one to continue dressing independently for longer. Elastic waistbands make pants easier to put on. V-neck sweaters or a cardigan also are easier to slip on than a crewneck sweater.
  • If your loved one has trouble with decision-making, rather than asking “What do you want to wear today?” give limited options, such as “Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the yellow shirt today?” (This also eliminates the option of not getting dressed at all.)
  • It’s always a little harder to put the second arm into a shirt or jacket, so be sure to start with your loved one’s weaker arm and dress this arm first. That way, you avoid putting too much stress on the weak arm. When removing the shirt or jacket, start with the stronger arm, removing this arm first.
  • If your loved one wears compression socks, there are some simple tricks to getting them on more easily. Put your hand into the sock until you touch the toe, then turn half of the sock inside out. Place the sock over your loved one’s toe and slide the sock over the heel. Gently slide the rest of the sock up the leg until it’s in position. You may find it’s easier to get a grip on the sock if you wear rubber gloves.  Put compression socks on in the morning when swelling is typically less.  Legs should be dry.  Compression stocking aids are available to help with this task.

For essential tips on bathing for your loved ones, click here.

This article is courtesy of Active Daily Living.