Caregivers are crucial helpers for the elderly, as well as for those who are unable to or have difficulty with caring for themselves, including patients with dementia. Caregivers are an essential tool for improving the quality of life for those in their care.

Not only will caregivers assist their patients with any physical disabilities, prepare meals for them, run errands for them and clean their patient's living space, but they will also likely help their patients get dressed and even bathe them.

Properly Dressing A Dementia Patient

It may not come as a surprise to you that those who need a caregiver may also need assistance with the most mundane of tasks, things healthy people may perceive as “easy," or personal abilities that most of us take for granted, such as getting dressed.

However, it may not register for many people that something as simple as dressing oneself can be extremely difficult for those who can't easily care for themselves. If you are a caregiver, or have a caregiver under your employ, having the information on the proper etiquette of dressing patients is important.

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Tips For Caregivers Who Dress Their Patients

The following bullets are some helpful tips about dressing patients for caregivers:

  • Always offer: Never assume a patient is capable of doing something without assistance. A patient may be physically capable of dressing themself, but simply can't remember how to dress themselves; this is the case with many people who suffer from various types of cognitive impairments. If you expect too much from the person you are caring for, they can become very upset with you and even grow to resent you. It is always safest to offer help and give the patient the opportunity to refuse, rather than not helping and neglecting the patient's needs.
  • Set a routine: Setting a routine is a great way to ease patients into the practice of being dressed by a caregiver. Have the caregiver dress them at a specific time, or before or after a certain event. For example, have the caregiver dress them after breakfast or as soon as they arrive. Always put articles of clothing on in the same order. Establishing some sort of daily ritual will help patients adapt to being dressed, increasing their level of comfort.
  • Make decisions: Limit clothing options to only two choices, or don't offer a choice at all. Patients can become stressed when making decisions, even when it's just choosing an outfit. By limiting their choices, they won't have to speculate for very long, making the process not only easier on them, but also easier for you.
  • Be respectful: Dressing is a personal task, and can be embarrassing for patients. To help them get over their embarrassment, refrain from staring at them directly as you dress them, and also tell them what you are doing prior to doing it. For instance, say “I'm now going to put on your shirt," before you do so. This alleviates tension because they know what's coming next, which also makes them much more comfortable.

Follow these steps and you should have a much easier time with dressing patients.