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Dressing tips for people with special requirements

How to make dressing easier when you’re caring for someone, with dressing tips for partially sighted people and those living with dementia.
2 min read
In this article
For people who are partially sighted For people with dementia

For people who are partially sighted

If the person you are caring for is partially sighted, good organisation is key to making the dressing routine as simple as possible. 


It’s crucial that your loved one organises their own clothes – perhaps with your help – as the best organisation in the world won’t help if they aren’t familiar with the system. It might also be helpful for them to go through their wardrobe with you to check that their clothes don’t have holes or stains as they might be worrying about this.


If you make adjustments to the wardrobe or clothes, such as labelling drawers and cupboards, make sure you do this with their full involvement and agreement.


If the person you’re caring for has problems with their eyesight, discuss ways to help them identify different clothes, such as: 

  • audio labellers
  • tactile markers
  • special buttons. 

This could allow them to continue to choose their own clothing rather than rely on someone else to make these decisions for them.



The RNIB shop has many products to support partially sighted and blind people


RNIB Helpline

If you need further help, call the RNIB helpline:

0303 123 9999

or email helpline.mailbox@rnib.org.uk

For people with dementia

If your loved one has dementia, the help they will need with dressing depends on how advanced their dementia is.


They may be physically able to take their clothes on and off, but are unable to remember the correct order in which to put clothes on, for example. Or, they may not know what time of day it is, so could be confused about whether to put on their pyjamas or day clothes.


Clearly labelled clothing storage can be very helpful for someone with dementia, particularly drawers and cupboards.


It’s also a good idea to check that the clothes are stored neatly and within easy reach, as all of this will help the person you're caring for get dressed.

The early stages of dementia

If your family member has just been diagnosed with dementia, it’s important to encourage a morning and evening routine of washing and dressing. This will ensure they understand and can relate to the time of day. It’s particularly important to encourage independence and choice as much as possible.


Perhaps they only need simple prompts at this stage, or they may appreciate you laying out the clothes that they need to wear and then they can get dressed themselves.


The later stages of dementia

If your loved one’s condition changes, it may be necessary to change the amount of help you, or a care worker, provides for them. At the later stage of dementia, you may need to hand your loved one each item of clothing in order for them to manage to get dressed.


Although it takes longer and may feel frustrating, it’s important for your family member to feel that they are still involved and making choices at this point. Routines that are well established, such as washing and dressing, can often be kept up for longer if they are given the time and encouragement to do as much as possible for themselves.


Further reading

Bedroom safety

Find out about useful equipment to help you get into and out of bed, plus tips on checking a bed is the right height.

Safety around the home

Use our checklists to review the basic safety aspects of your home – such as lighting, heating, power and furniture.

Bathroom safety

If you’re finding the bathroom hard to navigate, there are many products and adaptations that make it easier to use.

Last updated: 18 Sep 2018