Dressing & Undressing Tips for Seniors

September 20, 2020
by TammyS | Health + Beauty

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Dressing and Undressing Tips for Seniors

As we age, dressing and undressing can become more challenging.  Arthritis, illness, surgery, or other health conditions can make it difficult for many seniors to get dressed and undressed.  Getting dressed should not be a constant struggle or the reason that a senior loses independence.  Just following a few simple guidelines can help reduce the daily stress of dressing and undressing. 

  1. If you are assisting in the process, allow plenty of time.  Let them do as much as they can by themselves and assist only where needed, such as with buttons, shoelaces, etc.
  2. Provide as much privacy as possible to minimize feelings of embarrassment and make sure the room is warm enough for them.
  3. Consider loose-fitting, comfortable clothing and layers, such as a sweater that can be removed or put on later as the temperature changes. 
  4. Accessories can help add a bit of flair to their wardrobes.  Adding a brightly colored scarf for a woman may help her to feel stylish and can also help to keep her warm.
  5. If buttons or snaps are difficult, consider elastic waist pants and sewing Velcro to their garments for easy in-and-out dressing that they can accomplish by themselves.  This will encourage a sense of autonomy and independence.
  6. If wearing a bra, nylons, etc. is not important, them let them make that decision.  Sometimes it is easier to go with the flow than to force them to conform to society’s norms.
  7. We all like to make our own choices, but this can be hard if a senior has difficulty making decisions.  Lay out a couple of outfits and let them pick the one they want to wear.  It might be a good idea to have both choices be mix & match in case they pick a top from one outfit and the bottom from another.
  8. Comfortable, well-fitting, non-slip shoes that are slip-on or fasten with a Velcro strap are much easier to get in and out of than shoes that lace, tie, or buckle. 
  9. To minimize stress on a weak side, put the painful or weak arm or leg into the article of clothing first.  When undressing, take the weak or painful side out last.
  10. There are multiple dressing aids for seniors who still want to remain as independent as possible.  Long-handled shoehorns, sock aids, dressing sticks, leg lifters, button hook aids, elastic shoes laces, foot-funnel shoe assists, etc. are all available to purchase.

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