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Mom Won’t Change Her Clothes

Today’s insight discusses what to do when mom won’t change her clothes. Be aware of your expression and your tone when addressing changing clothes.

Transcription of Video:

Hi, I’m Deb Nygard with Arthur’s Residential Care with today’s Insights from Arthur’s.

I’m here with Kate Jabe. Kate is the Residential Supervisor here at Arthur’s and she’s volunteered to help me give a little demonstration today about how to get your loved one with dementia to change their clothing.

One of the things that you want to make sure you do is, when you go to greet your loved one (let’s say this is my mom today) express to her, “you’re looking very good”. If I notice that she’s got junk all over her shirt and it doesn’t look like she’s changed it in several days, I want to keep that reaction off of my face. Because if I see her and my immediate reaction looks like this: (makes disapproving face) she’s going to know that she did something wrong and she’s either going to be angry with me, the same way I’m angry with her, or she’s going to be upset. I don’t want her to be either.

So, I’m going to keep my expression positive and recognize that the goal is to get her shirt changed. If she’s a person who is fine with changing her shirt, then you can just say, “Oh, you have a little spot on there, shall we go get a clean one?”

If she’s a person who does not want to change her clothes and she doesn’t think that there’s anything wrong with what she’s wearing, then I might suggest something like this: You approach and say, “Hi mom! How you doing? I’m so glad to see you today. You look nice.” And we’re going to talk about something that isn’t the shirt. “You know what? I thought we would go out for lunch today. Would you do me a favor? Would you wear that light blue blouse? The one with the ruffles up here (points to shoulders) it brings out the color of your eyes and you look so beautiful in that.”

If she’s amenable to this idea then what I’m going to do is give her some prompts and in another video I showed you how to help a person with dementia get out of a chair. You can use a pointer finger, use a little pressure and say, “Let’s go get that blouse,” and help her to stand and go down to her bedroom and get the blouse.

I’m Deb Nygaard with Arthur’s Residential Care.

Contact Deb Nygaard
Director of Development
Arthur’s Residential Care: 651-429-4798