Combat the challenges thrown in by dementia: Dressing and grooming tips
Dementia is a disease that includes many challenges among which some are straightforward and easy-to-handle and others seem to be insurmountable. However, thankfully, there are no such challenges yet that are impossible to address. Every person’s journey through dementia is unique in his own way and while there are few who don’t experience too many hurdles along the way, there are some others who come across too many hurdles.
A wide range of complex challenges are caused due to symptoms like confusion and memory loss. From difficulty to interact socially to spatial orientation, the upshots of this disease of forgetfulness can be really broad and can surround several aspects of your daily life. Nevertheless, these are not in any way too great to overcome. There are indeed several ways in which those who are suffering from dementia can combat such problems along with the support of their friends and family members.
Biggest impediments of living with dementia – Know how to overcome
- Facing directional difficulties
One of the most common problems who live with dementia is to go through directional difficulties that cause fear and anxiety for the person involved in the disease and his caregivers. The UK Missing Persons Bureau reports that there are more than a thousand people who go missing every year. Despite the presence of home caring aid who resolves to take proper care of the patients, they still go missing. Thanks to the modern technology that GPS tracking tools can still locate people who have lost their ways.
- Combating the stereotypes linked with mental illnesses
It is not just necessary but it’s high time that we try our best to alter the way in which society views and speaks about people suffering from mental health disorders. We should start discouraging people from using the word ‘suffering’ when they actually relate to people who are surviving with this condition. People might not realise but these negative words have a bad influence on the patients. It may hurt their self-confidence.
- Visiting the bank and handling finances
As soon as there is an onset of dementia, the process of memory loss gradually sets in thereby making it difficult for the person to use the bank and look after his personal finances. He might find it hard to remember his ATM’s PIN or keep a tab on the amount that he spent in a month and the amount that came in. Though there are voice recognition technology provisions for dementia patients, yet this is much of a challenge.
- Coming to terms with the threat of loneliness
People with Alzheimer’s and dementia can even reach a stage where they’re no longer able to communicate with their family members through a language. This is when you may need to hire a pro at-home dementia care Tweed Heads so that he/she can interact with your loved one through their expert strategies. Music therapy is often seen a life-saving therapy for patients who are suffering from low self-esteem.
- Keeping up with an interactive social life
Research reveals that people who live with dementia eventually become passive and they stop interacting with their surroundings. They even stop engaging their brain to a degree that they previously used to and these boost levels of anxiety, agitation and apathy. Did you know about the new game names Tovertafel that involves light animations created by infrared sensors and projector? The game offers mental health stimulation and enhances conversation and movement.
It is not that all the above-listed challenges can’t be dealt with; you only need to follow the right techniques as advised by your caregiver and your health professional. However, one challenge that is not mentioned in the aforementioned list is the difficulty in dressing and grooming a dementia patient. Scroll down to enlighten yourself on this.
Responding to issues with dressing – Help your loved one
One of the biggest areas of challenge of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is losing your independence while dressing. There are several issues that your near and dear ones may face while dressing like:
- Not remembering how to zip the zippers or button and unbutton their shirts and garments
- Not understanding how to layer clothes on top of each other
- Being headstrong about wearing the same dress every day
- Wearing clothing in a wrong order like mistakenly wearing underwear on top of trousers
- Putting on an outfit that is not at all fit for the weather. For instance, the person might want to go out in a tee and shorts during winter
- Removing clothes in public areas
- Feeling overwhelmed about so many choices after opening the wardrobe
- Changing clothes too often on the same day
Dressing challenges are difficult to address as they have an impact on a wide array of areas life safety, hygiene and social appropriateness. Regardless of whether their clothes are dirty or smelling or full of bad odours, they often want to wear the same clothes every day.
Dementia and dressing challenges – What is the reason behind the link?
The person who is surviving with dementia constantly faces memory loss and confusion while following a definite routine. As they get used to following a routine, wearing the same outfit every day seems to be more comfortable for them as they feel as if they’re following their routine. Since dementia has an impact on the physical functioning of the individual, with the progress of the disease, it can gradually get difficult to handle the task of dressing.
Dressing is an area where we all love independence as it is an extremely private thing. However, even though the person with dementia wishes to choose his own clothing, he often finds himself incapable of doing so. When this disability starts occurring, he can cling on to his caregiver for dependence while choosing his clothes. This way, a strong feeling of dependence seeps in between the patient and the professional caregiver.
Facing dressing issues – Which stage of dementia does it start occurring?
Mild dressing issues like wearing mismatched clothes start showing off when the early stages of dementia seem to end. During the middle and later stages of dementia, there is a loss of physical and mental ability either to dress him or to choose clothes. How can you cope with such dressing issues? Here are a few ways you can do so:
- Select only those clothes which are easy to wear and easy to take off as this can still facilitate your independence for a longer time.
- Restrict the total number of clothes that you choose to wear. If you’re a caregiver reading this post, don’t ask the patient what he wishes to wear; rather you should choose his shirt, whether blue or red.
- Lay out his clothes in the same manner every day.
- In case your near and dear one tends to remove his clothes at inappropriate places, don’t immediately become upset or raise your voice. Instead, you should keep your calm and ask whether he needs help in the bathroom to button his shirt up. Once you stay calm, he will understand your request in a better way as against explaining him in an agitated manner.
- If you have to go somewhere with your patient, make sure you start dressing him way ahead of time as this will ensure that you don’t rush through the process.
- Choose non-slip and comfortable shoes so that there’s no risk of falling down and breaking bones.
- Maintain as much privacy as is possible.
- Keep aside odorous clothes as the person is bathing and instead supply him with cleaner clothes so that he stays fresh and hygienic.
- In case he is determined about wearing the same trousers and shirt over and over again, choose to buy him another pair of the same shirt and trousers so that he feels he’s wearing the same one.
Dressing and grooming tips for a dementia patient
Being a caregiver, it is your duty to help a person maintain his self-esteem and boost your self-confidence and you can do this by maintaining his appearance and promoting his personality. As these tasks can get frustrating for a dementia patient during the later stage of the disease, here are few tips to simplify the procedure.
Guide on how to dress the person
Whenever you’re planning to dress or groom a person with Alzheimer’s, make sure you have enough time for that. If you rush a person through this process of dressing up, this can make him frustrated or anxious. With the gradual progress of this disease, choosing clothes and putting them on becomes difficult for a dementia patient. Here are a few dressing tips for the caregivers:
- Give him simple choices: Closets should have minimum clothes, only the ones that he wears. If clothing choices become too overwhelming, they’ll soon start panicking. In case you give him choices, don’t give him more than two.
- Make the process systematic: Lay out his clothes in such a manner that he knows which one to wear and when. Hand over one clothe at a time and offer him direct instructions like ‘put your sleeve inside’ or ‘get dressed’.
- Stay flexible: What if your loved one wishes to wear the same outfit every day? Focus his attention on the hygiene point of view so that he can understand how unhygienic it is to wear the same things every day. If he wears the same undergarments, tell him that it can cause urinary tract infections that may require complex care.
- Choose simple clothes: Shirts, cardigans and blouses are better for a dementia patient as they have buttons in front and hence they work better than pullover tops. Rather than Velcro, use zippers, buttons or snaps as this can be too tough to handle. The clothes that he wears should be loose-fitting particularly at the hips and waist. Fabrics that you choose should be stretchable and soft.
Guide on how to groom the person
A person suffering from dementia might as well forget how to comb his hair, shave his beard or cut his fingernails. There might arise a time when he totally forgets what combs and nail cutters are used for. If you as a caregiver wish to assist, you have to do the following:
- Don’t stop your grooming activities: In case the dementia patient has always had a habit of visiting a salon or a barber, let him continue with this routine of grooming. If in the near future, you find this becoming a hassle, you can even call the hairstylist or the barber at home to do the same.
- Encourage him to copy your motions: If you both are sitting at the same room, start combing your hair and motivate the person to imitate your activities so that he can also start combing his hair in the process of copying.
- Use his preferred toiletries: Let the person continue using his favourite shaving cream, cologne, toothpaste and makeup items. This will encourage the person to go for a bath and groom himself.
- Use grooming tools that are safer: Electric shavers and cardboard nail files are much less harmful than razors and clippers.
- Speak simply, clearly and friendly: Speak to them clearly with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ wherever possible. Keep sentences short, friendly and precise while explaining things to them. Remember that it is your tone of voice which conveys more than what you speak.
- Use a few happy distractions: In any case, if the person feels irritated, you should try your best to put in a few happy distractions. It can include humming his favourite tune, or saying something humorous or using words with nice imagery or even use genuine and positive compliments.
So, now that you’re living and taking care of a person suffering from dementia, you know how to deal with his dressing and grooming challenges.
The editorial unit
The material contained in this article is of the nature of general comment only and does not give advice on any particular matter. Recipients should not act on the basis of this article’s information without taking appropriate professional advice.