6 Tips for family and caregivers who assist someone in getting dressed

Getting dressed is something we do each day and often times, most of us don't even think about the action. A variety of health conditions can make independent dressing a challenge: Limited mobility, surgery recovery, Alzheimer's, dementia, arthritis, stroke, ALS and others. We're sharing some helpful tips to make the assisted dressing process smoother for both the caregiver and the recipient of care.

1. Clothing should be stretchable but fit snugly when worn. Baggy oversize clothing may be easier to get on, but it can increase the risk of falls and injury.

2. Assistive devices are available to help fasten buttons, pull up socks and pants, and help with putting on shoes. These affordable solutions not only make dressing easier, they help the wearer feel more independent.

3. If you’re helping someone dress, manipulate the clothing not the person. Pre-stretch clothing before putting it on your loved one. Scrunch socks so the end of the sock with the toes goes on first with the rest of the sock stretching up the foot and leg.

4. If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, consider that for many with the disease skin sensitivity increases. Clothing with soft, non-abrasive fabrics should be used

5. When speaking with your loved ones about their needs, include questions about dressing. For instance:

  • "How often are you changing your clothes?
  • "What is the hardest part about getting dressed and undressed every day?"
  • "On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable are you in your clothes on an average day?"
  • "Are there any articles of clothing you are no longer wearing due to dressing difficulties?"

And – for Wilton – the following tip is essential for everyone:

6. "Let them know how good they look! For so many of us clothes express who we are and we can lose that if our clothing choices are limited because of our physical condition. That’s why I started Authored Apparel, because everyone should have choices that allow them to look good and feel good no matter our age or ability.”