Coping with disrobing a senior with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
Anti Strip Advice For Senior With Alzheimer’s Or Dementia
A common symptom for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia is the tendency to try to remove their clothes. As with many Alzheimer’s symptoms, it can be difficult to explain the phenomenon, especially as the brain deteriorates more and more over time. Oftentimes, there is no way to rationalize why an elderly person inappropriately disrobes; their logic is simply ceasing to exist.
However, it is undoubtedly useful for family members and caregivers to understand a senior loved one’s actions, in order to offer support as best they can. If you are struggling with a parent, grandparent, or patient who frequently attempts to undress, here are our tips to cope with the situation:
Analyze Their Behavior
Every time your senior loved one begins to fuss with their clothing or get out of them, examine the senior’s behavior objectively before any action. Take note of the situation (time, environment, circumstance) and their body language as this takes place. Hopefully, you will notice a pattern. Perhaps they’re trying to communicate something. Ask yourself: Are their needs being met? Did a certain time, place, or person trigger this?
After having learned a senior’s definitive behaviors and triggers, theorizing why they’re stripping is an insight that can be used as a tool to help the problem. Some reasons your loved one or patient may disrobe are:
- Discomfort: Their clothes may be too tight or itchy. They may feel as though they are too hot or cannot breathe or move. They may have the urge to use a bathroom, and think they are in one.
- Hallucination: Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not actually there happens often in later stages of dementia. An elderly person may think they must undress, due to hallucinations as simple as believing it’s bedtime or as bizarre as bugs crawling on their skin.
- Sexual Reasons: Sometimes, a senior with Alzheimer’s or dementia may take off their clothing to fondle themselves. If they are in public, they are likely unaware or unbothered that it is an unfit time to do so.
Validation and Offering Solutions
It is important with any dementia behavior to avoid outwardly correcting or intervening a parent, grandparent, or patient. Overreacting and demonstrating you are upset or embarrassed about their actions implies that you are putting them in the wrong and may escalate the situation. Instead, validate their feelings and gently offer them a solution, bringing them to privacy or covering them up. Language like “I know it’s hot right now, but it’s not appropriate to remove your clothes here. I will take you somewhere private. Would you like to change into lighter clothing?” or “I see that you’re uncomfortable being dressed, but we are in public right now, which is why I am placing a blanket on your body” is firm but not demeaning.
Specially Designed Clothing
Silvert’s carries the most vast array of adaptive products designed specifically for an elderly needs. The section of clothing for Alzheimer’s sufferers has anti-strip jumpsuits for men and women that resemble a 2-piece outfit or can be worn as onesie’s underneath regular styles. They are designed with closures along the back of the garment, so that it is difficult for your parent, grandparent, or patient to undo them on their own.
Let Silvert’s and the Giving Care team help you make the best clothing decisions for you and your elderly loved one.
Call us at 1-800-387-7088 to speak with an experienced customer service representative.