Your older family member needs to get dressed every day. For younger people, dressing is something they probably don’t think about much beyond what they are going to wear. However, dressing can be a much bigger deal for a senior who has some trouble moving with ease. Dressing requires a great deal of bending and stretching. It also requires nimble fingers that can button buttons, zip zippers, and tie shoes. While those are things that most people take for granted, they may cause older adults a great deal of trouble. However, there are ways to make dressing easier for older adults, including the suggestions below.
Allow Ample Time for Dressing
When older adults who have difficulty dressing feel pressured to dress quickly, it can make the task stressful. Instead of rushing your aging relative to get dressed each day, give them plenty of time. If there’s something they need to get ready for by a certain time, like a doctor appointment, get them started early, so they have plenty of time.
ASK if They Need Help
It can be tempting to force help on an older adult when they are taking too long to do something. However, this can be upsetting to some seniors. Still, you don’t want them to struggle needlessly. Instead of just jumping in and helping, take the time to ask the older adult if they want your help. This allows them to be in control of their own decisions and accept help only if they truly want it.
Purchase Simpler Clothing Options
Find out which parts of dressing are most difficult for your aging relative. If they have arthritic figures, they might have the most trouble with buttoning shirts. If that’s the case, consider buying shirts that pull over the head and don’t need to be buttoned. If zippers are an issue, try pull on pants without a zipper. Shoes with Velcro closures are also easier for older adults than ones with shoelaces.
Lay Out Clothes in Order
Older adults with dementia may have difficulty with dressing because they find it confusing. It can be helpful to lay out their clothing in the order they need to put it on. When helping them, keep the instructions short and simple.
Use Elder Care
Although they may need help getting dressed, some older adults may resist letting family members assist because of modesty. However, they may be more receptive to receiving help from an elder care provider who is not related to them. Because elder care providers are professionals, they know how to help while maintaining the older adult’s dignity. In addition, seniors are often more comfortable with an elder care provider seeing them undressed because of their professional nature.