Health & Fitness
Limit wardrobe choices to curb frustration
GARY JOSEPH LeBLANCI have always said that keeping your loved one in a simple routine is No. 1 in caring for people with Alzheimer's.
Published: May 5, 2012
Published: May 5, 2012
This applies to wardrobe, too. Keep it simple, as in loose-fitting and easy to put on and take off. Also be sure to limit choices, otherwise the patient will become overwhelmed and confused.
There will be times when you wonder why your loved one wants to wear the same shirt every day. Well, there might not be a yesterday in his memory.
Let's start from the bottom and move up.
I had my dad wearing Velcro-strap shoes. There was no reason to have him struggling to remember how to tie his shoes first thing in the morning, starting off his day in a frustrated state.
The one thing I couldn't get him to wear was socks. I believe the cause of this was that he didn't want to wear anything tight anywhere. I replaced his shoes fairly often. I accomplished this identical shoe exchange in the middle of the night. He never knew the difference.
He liked to lay his pants across the foot of his bed at night. I'd switch them out while he slept; replacing the belt and wallet, and making sure everything else went back into the proper pockets.
With shirts, a loose fit and comfort come first. You might want to try bigger buttons or pullovers. Dad had a favorite flannel jacket that he wore through all four seasons. It had been washed so often, it became velvety soft and was almost a security blanket for him. For a man that wore suit coats and ties all his life, it was surprising to see him settle into lumberjack attire.
Go with the flow. Pay attention to what the patient seems to prefer. It's vital to have a smooth start every morning. It could determine his level of confusion for the rest of the day or days to come.
Once again, the simple routine mindset can start with the closet and wardrobe.
Gary Joseph LeBlanc was the primary caregiver of his father for a decade after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He can be reached at email@example.com. His book, "Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness," can be found at stayingafloatbook.com, amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.