Dresses designed by Julien MacDonald and showcased at a private event at Loveday in 2023.
Navigating dressing when living with dementia can be a daunting and challenging task for individuals, but it shouldn't compromise self-expression or daily comfort, and for our Members it certainly doesn't. Last year we welcomed renowned fashion designer, Julien MacDonald OBE, to speak with our Members, this prompted our own team to consider what's important when dressing with Dementia and keeping Members as fabulous as always.
Loveday expert Helene Cross, our Clinical Lead provides her top tips and valuable insights for individuals with mobility issues or neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia or Parkinson’s, empowering them to embrace fashion without sacrificing comfort or functionality.
Several mobility issues can impact a person's ability to dress independently and these challenges can arise from various conditions and disabilities. This can be caused from a variety of factors including muscle weakness, a limited range of motion, balance and coordination issues, pain or discomfort, cognitive impairment and fatigue. At Loveday, we support our Members to be as independent as possible, for as long as possible. We have a wealth of experience and tips and tricks to help our Members dress with dignity and ease the daily challenges.
Individuals with dementia often experience cognitive difficulties, making the dressing process complex and sometimes distressing. Forgetfulness, confusion and difficulty in making choices are common issues. To address these challenges, consider implementing the following strategies:
Adaptive clothing is a game-changer for those with mobility challenges. Look for garments featuring easy-to-use closures such as magnets, velcro or snap buttons, as they provide hassle-free dressing and undressing.
Selecting fabrics that are soft, breathable and stretchy can significantly enhance comfort and ease of movement. Fabrics like cotton, jersey and spandex are excellent choices. Avoid restrictive materials that may impede mobility and opt for clothing that accommodates your unique needs. Of course, it’s also really important to dress for the season – layering is a great solution.
Seams can be a source of discomfort and irritation, especially for individuals with mobility issues. Choose clothing with seamless designs to minimise friction and enhance overall comfort. Seamless options are readily available in various styles including shirts, trousers and underwear.
Accessories play a crucial role in personalising any outfit and this is hugely important for those who have always taken pride in their wardrobe choices. Explore adaptive accessories like easy-grip jewellery, magnetic closures on belts and functional handbags with accessible compartments. These additions not only complement the style but also contribute to increased independence in your daily routine. Comfortable and supportive footwear is paramount. Look for shoes with easy fastenings, adjustable straps and non-slip soles to minimise the risk of trips and slips.
A cluttered wardrobe can be overwhelming. Simplify clothing options by organising and minimising choices. Solid colours or patterns with minimal contrast are recommended for reducing confusion.
Soft, comfortable fabrics can enhance the dressing experience. Avoid scratchy materials or tight-fitting clothes that may cause discomfort. Elastic waistbands can simplify the dressing process.
Label drawers or use pictures on closets to help individuals identify and locate specific clothing items independently.
Choose specific times of the day for dressing and maintain a consistent order in the dressing routine. It’s important to use verbal cues to guide the process.
Encourage independence by allowing individuals to participate in the dressing process to the best of their abilities. Simple tasks like choosing accessories or pulling on a garment can instil a sense of accomplishment and autonomy.
Individuals with dementia may have heightened sensitivity to certain stimuli. Pay attention to sensory details such as the texture of fabrics and the weight of clothing and remove any tags which may cause irritation.
And remember the most important element, making sure that whatever adaptations you use match their personal style, feeling fabulous is a pre-requisite and feeling like themselves crucial.
Published: 30th of January 2024 by Loveday & Co
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