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5 Tips for Helping an Elderly Parent Get Dressed

When an elderly parent can no longer do tasks or themselves, they rely on others to provide help. Family members or elder care assistants are the ones that step in and give the elderly adult the support they require to do things like clean the house or cook meals. One of the more difficult tasks they face is getting themselves dressed.

Many aging parents are impaired by physical problems caused by illness, disease or injuries. This makes it hard for them to bend, stretch, balance and manipulate some clothing items. Looking nice and clean provides seniors with a big boost to their self-esteem. Clean underwear and clothes contribute to good hygiene as well. Family caregivers are a key part of helping their elderly parent with this important daily task.

Here are 5 tips for helping an elderly parent get dressed each day:

Keep the Wardrobe Simple

Family caregivers should take some time to go through all the clothes with the elderly person. They should get rid of things that are too small, torn, stained or otherwise not appropriate to wear. Fabric should be soft and easy to wash. Button up shirts and blouses are often easier for seniors to dress in than pullover clothes. Zippers are also convenient for those that want to do as much as the can themselves. When the closet is full of clothes that are easy to put on and comfortable, seniors will have fewer frustrations.

Communicate Frequently

Caregivers should always communicate with their elderly loved one about getting dressed. They should allow the senior to make as many of the choices as possible and do what they can for themselves. For example, the elderly person may be able to put their shirt on, but need help with pants, shoes and socks.

Follow a Routine

It will be easier for both the elderly person and the family caregiver or elder care assistant to establish a routine for getting dressed. Setting a specific time is a good start, such as right after breakfast. They can put on articles of clothing in the same order each day and take their time so that the elderly person doesn’t feel anxiety about being rushed.

Use Dressing Aides

There are numerous simple dressing aides that family caregivers and elder care assistants can implement. Many of these devices can be used by the aging adult, such as a shoe horn, button closer and sock aid. Often, caregivers and seniors don’t know what kind of helpful devices and tools are out there that will make getting dressed easier for both.

Preserve Privacy

Many seniors are sensitive about keeping their bodies private and may not feel comfortable with help in getting dressed. Caregivers can close the door and draw the blinds whenever they are going to begin helping them to dress. Family members should not unnecessarily undress their relative, but choose one area at a time to assist. Caregivers should avoid doing anything that might embarrass their aging relative and allow them to do as much as they can to promote their own independence while getting dressed.


If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Mesa, AZ, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today: 480-377-6770.