Clothing and Person-Centered Dementia Care

By Erin Harris | Posted on 06.14.2013 | 0 comments
Can specially designed clothes help a person with dementia feel less anxiety and confusion?

If you’re a family care partner or a professional care provider, you know that when people with dementia are engaged in activities like dressing, grooming, and eating, a sense of occupation helps them feel less agitation and more meaning, pleasure, and purpose.

With this in mind, Britta Schulte, a fashion student at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Art & Design, has created a line of clothes designed to help people who have dementia retain independence and feel contentment. With magnetic fasteners and other tactile—as well as visual—features, the garments are intended to engage procedural memory and ease the process of getting dressed for people with dementia.

Research suggests that even if a person with dementia can no longer dress independently, feeling the tactual aspects of clothes can help them orient to time and place. Casual wear might remind a person that he’s not at work, for example, or the feel of pajamas might remind him that it’s nighttime.
Tactile stimuli can also spark reminiscence. The sensation of a silk scarf might remind a woman with dementia of a favorite dress from her youth, for example.

Check out Dementia and Dress for information about studies that examine how clothing is key to a person’s identity.

Learn more and see pictures of Britta’s designs in “New Clothing Offers Help for Dementia Sufferers.”

Therapists, for more about engaging people with dementia in activities they enjoy, read “Activity Intervention for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias.”

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