A common challenge for some people with dementia is dressing independently. Although it may seem like a simple task, there are many steps involved, and the damage dementia inflicts on the brain can lead to confusion and behavioral changes. Kelly O’Connor, certified dementia practitioner tells Eat this, not that! Health“In the early stages of cognitive changes, people begin to rely on their habits, routines, and rituals to support daily functioning. This reliance on patterning can manifest as forgetting to change clothes and wearing the same clothes day after day.” ETNT Health spoke with experts who explained the signs of dementia to look out for that affect daily routines like getting dressed. Read on and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you’ve already had COVID.
O’Connor says, “People who lose the executive functioning of the brain that controls decision-making can also dress in the wrong season. A sunny day can mean warm clothes for someone with dementia or a cloudy day can bring to mind “coat weather.”
RELATED: If you notice this on your body, get your heart checked
“Often, people with advanced dementia resist changing clothes at night for their pajamas,” says O’Connor. “Some caregivers get upset and try to demand that their loved one change, which bothers them at night. There’s no ‘wrong’ with wearing street clothes in bed, so caregivers have to choose their battles I once knew a gentleman who would get ready for bed by putting on his shoes and cap. It wasn’t until his wife realized that “getting ready” meant “getting ready to go somewhere” that she was able to use different words to prepare it for bedtime.
RELATED: The #1 cause of diabetes
Sarah Stromsdorfer, an occupational therapist specializing in the elderly and the founder of occupational therapy education My OT Spot explains, “Dementia can impair motor planning, which means the individual may have difficulty processing and forgetting the steps needed to put a garment. Like, forgetting the steps to put an arm through a jacket, or putting their clothes inside out.”
RELATED: The #1 sign that your blood sugar is “way too high”
Stromsdorfer says: “Dementia can also impair problem solving, so a person may put their pants on but forget to put on underwear or incontinence briefs and get dirty easily if unassisted. or reminded about this step.”
RELATED: Surprising Reasons Why You Could Have Cancer, Doctors Say
O’Connor suggests, “Supporting someone with dementia requires calm, slow, loving and structured support, whatever the task at hand. For example, rushing someone into a task such as getting dressed can cause all-day restlessness or confusion due to a person’s inability to self-regulate effectively. Structured support or a role model is also important to help someone learn and remember the order of tasks that sets them up for a good day. For example, every day dressing should follow the same pattern – underwear, socks, pants, shirt. This regularity of patterns provides therapeutic comfort to reduce confusion and wondering during regular daily tasks.
RELATED: This is what pancreatic cancer looks like, say oncologists
According to Stromsdorfer, “There are many ways to help someone with dementia get dressed. If she can see an occupational therapist, the occupational therapist will assess the client’s abilities to complete dressing and other self-care tasks and suggest ways to help the client increase independence and safety, as well as to train caregivers to increase carryover from these treatments. Some treatments will include having the person complete their dressing tasks step by step with repetition, adding visual memory aids like pictures of dressing and educating the caregivers to allow the person to help as much as possible. The ‘use it or lose it’ principle applies here, because people with dementia stop performing their own tasks (even if they are able to), they lose the ability even faster.” And to protect your life and that of others, do not visit any of these 35 places where you are most likely to catch COVID.