Getting dressed in the morning is one of those automatic chores we all do. Some people set out clothes the night before, others check the heap on the chair for the least smelly shirt, and some spend some time matching, ironing, etc. to look just right when stepping out for the day.
But there are many reasons why that daily activity can become a problem. Anyone who’s had an injury or surgery has probably dealt with this: a broken wrist, a cast on a leg, or a frozen shoulder means that what was an ordinary movement becomes painful or impossible.
Other long-term chronic issues, like arthritis or Parkinson’s Disease, means that certain movements or stretches are difficult. And because those diseases progress, changes are on the horizon all the time.
Dementia adds another wrinkle. Especially in later stages, some people have difficulty deciding what to wear, or they wear the same items for days at a time. Some no longer recognize how to actually put on a particular item, or they forget they already have underwear on so they put on another layer. Or they dress inappropriately for weather conditions, and wear winter clothes in the summer or vice versa.
Whatever the issue relating to dressing, though, there are a number of solutions. Make sure that the clothing you or your loved one wear is easy to put on and take off. There are a number of companies that sell adaptive clothing, such as shirts with velcro instead of button closures, or pants that have zippers down the side. People who use wheelchairs can find clothing that easily slips on the front with a back closure.
Occupational and physical therapists are great sources for help on this. If you are a caregiver, this is an issue that needs empathy, respect, and continual monitoring. In some cases, a home health aide may be needed to deal with this. If your loved one is bigger than you or has physical limitations that make dressing a major operation, this is when you need some help. Don’t put your own well-being on the line to make this happen every day.
The article below from AgingCare describes many helpful dressing techniques for anyone, not just those with PD. Buck & Buck is one company of many that has a very helpful online catalog you can search by specific clothing items or by health issues, such as for those with incontinence or who’ve had a stroke. And don’t forget to check with health care providers for recommendations in your situation.