Dressing Tips for Lewy Body Dementia

Several symptoms of Lewy body dementia (LBD) are related to visual processing and interpretation. This can make it difficult to find specific items that are mixed in with lots of other objects. Poor vision processing can also make something as seemingly simple as getting dressed a long, drawn-out challenge. Follow these dressing tips for Lewy body dementia to help start the day off right.

Organize the Closet & Dresser

The first step is to make clothing easier to find. One way to organize the closet is to separate shirts and other tops from pants and other bottoms. It may also be useful to hang an entire outfit on one hanger after doing laundry to avoid the need to search for individual items scattered throughout the closet.

Organize the dresser with similar care and attention to detail. Assign each drawer specific contents—one drawer for shirts, another for pants, and another for socks and undergarments. It may also be helpful to post a simple high-contrast image or label on each drawer as a reminder of what is inside.

Next, permanently remove unused clothes and put out-of-season clothing in storage to prevent the closet and dresser from getting overcrowded. Cutting down on the clutter can make it easier for someone with Lewy body dementia to find specific clothing items.

Simplify the Task of Dressing

The next place where vision processing breaks down is trying to orient the clothing properly before putting it on. People with visual processing issues may struggle with discerning the front of a shirt from the back or the left pant leg from the right.

Because of this, it is not reasonable to expect someone with Lewy body dementia to relearn how to dress themselves the way they used to. Instead, it is best to adapt new approaches to simplify issues that occur when getting dressed. Be prepared to adjust your approach as symptoms change through trial and error. Ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist (OT) who can teach you personalized strategies to overcome any challenges that you may be experiencing in daily tasks.

Here are some suggestions for overcoming visual challenges when getting dressed with LBD:

  • Attach a safety pin to the top back of shirts where the tag is located and at the bottom of one sleeve. This makes it easier to orient the shirt correctly before putting it on.
  • Set out clothing in a specific way to avoid guessing the orientation. One example is to place the clothing face-down on the bed the night before.
  • Pin socks together before laundering or wash sock pairs in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to prevent pairs from separating.
  • Consider the benefits and drawbacks of buttons and zippers. For some, these features make it easier to orient their clothes while getting dressed.
    • But for others, the dexterity required to button a button or zip a zipper is too much. Try various kinds of clothing to see what works best for you.

Learning a new way to get dressed is just one small part of managing LBD. Feel free to browse the Lewy Body Dementia Association website for more helpful resources. Then, for more information, please contact us through our website, sign up for our email newsletter, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.