Caregivers need every resource available to help them provide the best care for their loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. They also need to help themselves make every activity of daily living with their loved one go as smoothly as possible. Caring for people suffering from this disease, there is one suggestion that can prevent a little less anxiety while getting your loved one dressed.
Clothes staging is a technique that will allow you to plan ahead for the next day’s dressing and grooming activities. It will also eliminate the opportunity for your loved one to layer several items of clothing on top of each other instead of dressing in one outfit for the day.
Allow your loved one to do as much for themselves as possible and encourage with positive feedback. Remember to work them, not against them. Clothes staging will set them up for success rather than failure, and allows for dressing in clean clothes daily.
A modified closet can be utilized to allow your loved one to dress themselves and minimize their anxiety by providing routine and structure as their disease advances. A simple closet or armoire is locked on one side to store extra clothing while the other side is used for staging clothes by laying them out in the order you want them to be put on by your loved one. Bars can be installed in the unlocked side for easy layering of clothing: shoes down on the bottom, pants, shirt, socks, bra and underwear on top. This staging routine will encourage your loved one to put their clothing on in the order they take them off the bars in the open-sided closet.
Each day, new clothing can be set on the staging side for the next morning’s dressing and grooming activities. Remember to keep the weather in mind by choosing clothing that is not too hot or too cold. You can set out two sets of clothing if you are offering a choice in outfits, and offer simple clothing choices like sweat pants or velcro to help the dressing activity be successful (buttons and zippers become more difficult and can cause frustration and agitation). Always allow enough time for your loved one to dress themselves, and offer simple instructions in a calm, gentle voice.
Use every resource available to improve your loved one’s quality of life. A carefully planned living space for someone living with Alzheimer’s will limit their confusion, allowing them to make choices for themselves and remain as independent as long as possible.