People with Parkinson’s disease face a handful of challenges, especially as the disease progresses. It affects their ability to carry out their everyday tasks and chores thus making things complex and frustrating. Getting dressed especially becomes such a tussle that often ends in frustration and a wreck of emotions. You see, the disease causes problems with balance, hand and finger movement, and tremors become common resulting in an inability to stand still. All these make dressing increasingly difficult if not impossible to carry out.
This is why there is a need to change their clothing and their dressing routine to make the process manageable. This will ease frustration on the person and their caregiver. If you or your loved one struggle every day with dressing, this is the type of article you would want to bookmark. We share tips and tricks on how to dress someone with Parkinson’s disease. Let’s first start with what clothes are most ideal for a person with Parkinson’s as it all starts here.
Buying clothes for persons with Parkinson’s disease
When purchasing clothes for persons with Parkinson’s disease, it is important to select clothes that would make them feel good as this will improve their self-confidence. Some of the considerations to make include:
- Ensure to choose stretch fabrics that are comfortable to wear and thus easier to put on as well as take off.
- For nightwear, select clothes made of nylon or satin. These have smooth surfaces which makes it easier getting into the bed.
- Choose clothes that can be closed at the front to make it much easier to dress and undress.
- Get clothes that are a size larger than normal wear. This will help ease the process of dressing.
- Go for underwear made from nylon instead of cotton to be able to put on and off your trousers much faster and with ease.
- Pants with elastic waistbands are easier to dress.
- Shoes with velcro closures can also make dressing easier.
- Tube socks are easier to put on than dress socks.
Staying safe while dressing
Persons with Parkinson’s disease can save much time and energy every day by learning easy techniques that will help them get dressed and undressed faster. While doing so, some of the safety precautions that they may take include:
- Having the person sit down while dressing to reduce the risk of falls due to loss of balance which is common with persons suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
- Try as much as possible to reduce back strain on the person by ensuring that you position them in the best position possible while getting dressed. For instance, while the person is still lying down, you can put on his socks and shoes.
- Ensure that the person does not sit close to the edge of the bed to prevent them from falling forwards.
Tips for dressing Parkinson’s patient
Dressing requires gross motor skills. These may be difficult for those persons living with Parkinson’s disease. However, some tricks can go a long way in helping them find this task to be easier. These include:
- Giving them plenty of time to get dressed, at least 30 to 45 minutes as rushing may aggravate stress and anxiety which worsens Parkinson’s disease.
- Create a special dressing area for them in the room, preferably in a corner. Place a chair with a cabinet on each side of the chair, to help them get up or sit down.
- Select more than one choice of clothing for the person to select from. This encourages involvement which helps in boosting their self-confidence.
- Gather all clothes needed to be worn and set them out on the bed before you start, and ensure they are within easy reach. Avoid making several trips to go collect clothes, this creates anxiety.
- Sit down while getting dressed. Or lay down on the bed. Either of the position that seems most comfortable to them. This will put them at ease as well as reduce the risks of falling due to frequent loss of balance associated with Parkinson’s disease.
- Encourage them to do a few stretches to help loosen and warm-up their muscles. This makes dressing a little easier.
- Allow some time for medications to kick in before you start them on their dressing routine
- Where the person has one leg or arm stiffer than the other one, help them start dressing by putting the stiff one into their clothing first.
- Use a footstool to help the person put on socks and shoes.
- To get pants over their hips, roll from side to side while they are sitting down in a chair or lying down on the bed.
- Choose clothing with large, flat buttons or zippers. They are easier to hold and manipulate
- Use a button hook to button clothing.
- If you have shoulder weakness, try using a dressing stick to get your shirt or coat on or off.
- Wear slip-on shoes that allow you to slip on and off without untying the laces or bending
- To aid in zipping pants or jackets, attach a leather loop on the end of the zipper.
- Choose underwear that is oversize and easy fitting.
- For persons who wear ties, simply consider purchasing clips or neckties.
- If possible, get dressed in front of a mirror. This will help you see where a possible snarl-up is situated. It will also assist you in straightening up all items of clothing.
Things to avoid
- Avoid tight socks which make navigation of feet difficult.
- Avoid tight clothing
- Avoid getting agitated by their slowness, they can sense the tension and it worsens their condition.
- Avoid heeled shoes and shoes with laces
- Avoid velour and similar fabrics. These create friction with other surfaces making it difficult to dress or move during the day.
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, unfortunately dressing for patients becomes increasingly difficult, whether independently or with assistance. However, to try and maintain independence for as long as possible, it is vital for patients to wear clothes that are easy for them to get in and out of. People with Parkinson’s disease have an unusually high sensitivity to their immediate environment and thus hyper-sensitized by anything touching them. Whether the disease is new to your loved one or they have been living with it for a long time, caregiving should be productive with the least amount of stress.
While the right diet and medications are key to living well with Parkinson’s disease, intentional caregiving also goes a long way. A person with the disease often feels a flood of emotions brought about by the increasing difficulties faced while doing their daily routine tasks, including dressing. However, with acceptance and finding tactful ways of successfully navigating through the challenges of Parkinson’s disease, a person can better cope and lead a happy, healthy, and self-caring life.